Tag Archives: financial peace

Five Reasons a Car Maintenance Line Should be a Part of Your Budget

1 Feb

car maintenanceOver the next few posts, I plan on discussing important parts of a budget that I’ve neglected in the past. I believe that a detailed budget improves my chances of winning with money.

Today’s post covers a line that may seem insignificant or unnecessary, but I’ve realized over the last few weeks that I need a more detailed car maintenance line. I’ve budgeted for oil changes and chalked that up as the car maintenance line. It’s not enough, though! So here are your reasons why you should have a detailed car maintenance line in your budget.

1. Oil changes
I’ve actually done a decent job of saving for this and using this line in my budget. Buying a different car is never fun, unless the car you’re currently driving is a beater and you’re stepping it up. I want to take great care of my engine so it lasts a long time. So, I try to get oil changes within the 4,000 mile mark.
2. Tires
I’m about to purchase some new tires for my car. It’s needed and I know it! Instead of saving $30 a month for two years, I’m having to use my income tax. I want to buy tires with a good tread life, and I need to estimate how much new tires will cost me based on how much I drive. I currently drive around 25,000 miles a year. I plan on moving soon, and I will drive considerably less than that. I still need to estimate how long my tires will last, and save that much each month to go toward my tires. That way I don’t have to wait on an extra check or a refund to come in to purchase them.
3. Brakes
This is a weakness of mine. I don’t really know how long brakes should last. But they should be replaced. I would find a mechanic you trust and ask them how often the brakes should be changed, as it will be different with each car.
4. Other maintenance
There are other areas in your car that require maintenance. Filters need to be changed, tune ups will be needed every 100,000 miles or so, batteries might need to be replaced, and so on and so forth. The best way to handle a proper car maintenance budget line is to plan for these. If they never happen, then count yourself lucky. Because…
5. Something will happen
A transmission will go out. A motor might blow. An axle could bust. A radiator could crack. There are a myriad of ways that a vehicle could fail. The best way to fight the “something will” is to plan for it. You don’t have to have a separate line for the what if. It’s my belief that by planning for each of these, the what if will be taken care of by the budget line.

Now, if you’re already debt free and have an emergency fund, your maintenance line might not need to be as detailed. I’m not sure because I’m not there yet. If any of you debt free folks have advice, please share in the comments section below. But if you’re trying to get out of debt, I would plan for the worst with your car. The way I see it, if I plan for the worst, and it doesn’t happen, I can apply that amount to my next car!

Ladies, one other note, I would recommend understanding your car and the expenses behind it. It will only help manage our money better and to become informed consumers!

car maintenance 2

How do you plan for unknown expenses with your car?

Some people may look at this sort of planning as an emergency fund before the emergency fund. My previous FAP did, and I understand that stance. I’m not saying to set aside an additional emergency fund for your vehicle. I just think that if you save money for your car and one of the above referenced is needed, then it won’t blindside you. If your spouse or FAP suggests otherwise, please listen to their advice. I’m learning about this as I go!

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A Positively Wonderful 2014

1 Jan

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For some reason, as I start this post, I feel like I’ve already written something similar to this once.  I write my blogs mostly for me because I need to remind myself what I’m trying to do.  I’m trying to find financial peace. 

For me to do this, I must remain positive. I have to keep my finances positive.  I have to have more income than I do bills, and I have to increase the debt-to-income ratio as quickly as possible.  I’ve made remarkable strides in how I manage my finances.  I still have a long way to go, but I am improving.  I continuously ask the Lord to help me change the way I think about spending and saving.  I want Him to help me understand that it’s His money – not mine.

Last year, I posted 13 goals for 2013.  This year, I won’t do that.  I have only one goal this year.  I want to be more positive.  I want to be positive in my finances, and I want to be positive in how I think about myself and others.  One of the greatest barriers for me in relationships is my attitude. I still have plenty of growth to experience in my emotions.  I am not great at taking my thoughts captive (2 Cor 10:5).  That is yet another prayer of mine.  Many times, I allow a thought to run amok until it frustrates me.  This is not healthy and will not allow me to succeed in life.

Dave Ramsey talks consistently about how we need to tell our money what to do.  That is so true.  We also need to tell our thought life what to do.  We shouldn’t be ruled by our thoughts; we should rule our thought life.  Now, I am not quite sure how to manage this, but I’m on a quest to learn this year!  I know that we can ask the Lord to help us.  We can declare our thoughts based on His Word.  That is where I will start.  Please feel free to share your thoughts on how I can remain positive in this world where it’s far too easy to focus on the negative!

So, my goal for 2014 – to be positive.  And I’m positively sure I can do it because the Joy of the Lord is my strength (Neh 8:10), and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13).   

How do you remain positive?

Eight Ways to Clean Up a Hot Mess (Like Me)

18 Dec

ImageI have to admit, I have really been slacking on handling my money properly.  I’m also struggling in other areas of my life, too.  As Tony Stark says, I’m a piping hot mess. 

Several months ago (it feels like ages), I told a friend that my life felt too neat.  That’s certainly not the case now.  My schedule has been different; my workout schedule has been out of order; I’ve gained weight; I have lost a friend; I’ve tripped over my own self at work; my apartment just can’t seem to get clean; my thought life feels messy; and yes, my finances are a mess.  So, what might be going on to cause all this messiness?  I think there are a few things in my life that are out of order, and if I can put everything back in its rightful place, maybe I will find some neatness again.

1. Prayer

The first thing I need to do to get my life back in order is to spend time with my Papa.  I talk to the Lord. I turn to Him when I need something and when I don’t.  Yet, sometimes I still try to do things on my own.  I just spent nine months completing a Celebrate Recovery step study, where we learn that we can’t do it on our own and that we should turn to Him to help us in all of our steps.  I still try to take the wheel on my own.  God wants to be involved in our lives. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in His way” (Psalm 37:23). He not only wants to be involved in my steps – He wants to celebrate them with me.  It makes Him smile when I turn my steps over to Him.

2. Record Activities

I need to start recording my spending again.  I really have not done well lately.  I started out strong, but by May or June I started slipping back into my old spending habits.  And they’ve reared their ugly, ugly heads.  I spent (no pun intended) a long time forming these bad habits, and I should give myself some grace on changing my habits.  But I also must be deliberate about my actions. I have to set my mind on the things above and not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). If I remind myself that it’s His money for me to spend how He asks me to, my desire to spend may change.  “Lord, help me to continue to improve my spending habits. I can’t do it without you!”

3. Make to Do Lists

I can’t even believe I have to put this on my list! I used to be a list person.  I would write everything down.  Sometimes, if I did something that was not on my list, I would write it on my list just so I could scratch it out.  I’m a J on Myers-Briggs.  Somehow I’ve slipped away from that.  I can feel it, too!  I need to start making lists again for sure! In Proverbs 31, the Message version says “She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day.”  I’m going to start organizing my day.  A simple list in the morning will keep me on track!

4. Turn off the TV

This is hard for me right now because it’s football season.  I have watched waaaayyyy too much TV lately.  It doesn’t have to be sports, but it usually is.  I find myself watching episode after episode of whatever TV show I have DVR’d.  What a pity and a waste of time.  Tonight, I decided that nothing on TV really appealed to me, so I turned the TV off.  It feels great.  I must do this more often.

I also need to shut off my phone or my computer at night.  I did that earlier this year, and it was REFRESHING! It’s not that difficult to do, but I really feel awkward when I don’t look at my phone.  I might, just might, be addicted!

5. READ

I need to read more. Turning off the TV will help me to do that. I decided earlier this year that I would put down the self-help books. Well, I think I’m ready to start reading them again.  I want to find a book series that will challenge me and keep me busy.  Any suggestions?

6. Eat better

I really, really, really need to improve my eating habits. I mentioned my weight gain at the beginning of this post. I’m so disappointed in the way I’ve handled my diet and my exercise. I have some legitimate excuses for my exercise (maybe?), but the food – no way. I need to eat better.  I need to find a balanced diet again. I don’t really cut any specific food out. Instead I try to eat proper portions.  I’ve not done a great job of that lately, and I’m paying for it now!

7. Think positively

I am my own worst enemy when it comes to my thought life.  I guess most of us are.  I want to be better though. I want to take every thought captive (2 Cor 10:5).  I don’t want to be ruled by my thoughts anymore. I want to rule my thoughts. I lost a friendship earlier this year, and I honestly believe we would still be friends if I would have just realized the truth about myself.  I am my worst critic, and it’s a struggle for me to think positively.  I need to try, and I bet that the more I do it, the easier it will be.  Lord, help me to take every thought captive. I turn my thought life over to you and ask you to change the way I think about myself and others.

8. BREATHE

Sometimes I just need to slow down and breathe! Breathe before I respond. Breathe before I spend. Breathe before I start each day. Breathe and give the Lord time to speak to me.  Every breath should be dedicated to you. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6).

I’m breathing now as I look at the length of this post. This may be one of my longer posts.  I do believe that if I can apply these tips to my life, order may be restored.  How do you restore order in your life?

An Update with Very Little “Up” in It

14 Oct

Hello, everyone!  It seems like it’s been a while since my last post.  I haven’t really been “busy,” maybe just distracted.  I’m here for my next report/update.

The government shutdown affects many people, and I am one of them.  It adds a layer of uncertainty that many government employees with time in the workforce have not felt before.  There appears to be no end in sight, although my guess is the shutdown will end on 17 October.  While many of the work force has been called back to work,

Continue reading

Another Update

26 Aug

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Another Update

I almost hate to write this. I keep telling all six of my readers how I’ve messed up and spent when I shouldn’t have. I keep talking about my envelopes being out of sync.

I haven’t improved since my last update. I feel like I’ve almost regressed. Continue reading

Handling Failure

6 Jul

20130706-214835.jpgThis journey that I’m on is filled with stumbles and failures, successes and victories. Most days I experience all of these. How I respond to the failure is what really matters.

Failure is defined as the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective. Failure, or maybe I should say “falling” is a part of life. We all make mistakes, and it’s important for us to pick ourselves off the mat and try again. My pastor’s wife told me once “we cannot fail if we don’t quit.”

I’m trying to learn that still. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve quit trying because I didn’t believe I’d ever get it right or I just didn’t have the energy or courage to do it again.

Now, I’ve got a drive to be better. I still make mistakes. And I still struggle with how I handle my mistakes. They’re no fun! Especially when the mistakes involve other people. When people are hurt by our mistakes, it’s not just about getting over our own mistakes. We have to forgive ourselves for the harm we’ve done to others. We have to make it right if it’s possible. Then, we move on.

I’ve made many financial mistakes. I still am! But I refuse to give up. I refuse to quit! I’m going to keep on keeping on until it becomes a little easier. I believe that the Lord wants to help me conquer this struggle. As long as I lean on Him and continue to put people in my life who believe in me and want to help me, I won’t fail. I may stumble and fall, but I will not fail. I’m just going to get back up, over and over again. Because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

I will close with this thought: Our failures are just moments. They do NOT define us.

How do you handle failure? Do you have a support group to help you during fallen moments?

Jealous of Wealth

16 Jan

I listened to a Dave Ramsey podcast from January 10, 2013 about wealth and the perception of wealth. It got me thinking about how I used to feel about wealthy people or people who had a better understanding of how to manage their money than I did or ever felt like I would.

I remember a time when I was so consumed with my failures in my finances that I couldn’t stand to be around people who had financial success. I was so ashamed of my failures and so unsure of my ability to overcome my struggles with money that I seethed with envy around people that knew how to handle their money. I spewed anger towards these people and took everything they said to me as judgment.

My reaction to these people was not only unfair to them but unfair to myself. I failed in many relationships because I was bound in the shame of my failures. Many times these people probably didn’t even think about me and my money. But I felt like they were judging me. And it consumed my thoughts. I was so unhappy with myself, and I didn’t think I would ever be able to overcome my financial struggles.

I have gone to a couple of people whom I treated unfairly and apologized to them. When I realized what had happened, I felt that I needed to repent to these people. I did, and I am glad that I did! Here I sit today, hungry for a change in the way I think about money.

This was a difficult post for me to write. I now admit that my failures with my finances have led to failures in my friendships and relationships. But I shared this part of my heart because I am now more open for change. Now, I have friendships with people who have financial success, and I’ve even invited one friend to challenge me financially. I know now that I need the help! And I’m ready to accept it.

Now, I believe that I can overcome my financial struggles. God is so patient and graceful, and He has never overwhelmed me. I’m ready to go wherever He wants to take me, and I’m convinced He’s ready to take me to Financial Peace!

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