I've been rereading a favorite book:
And I still can't make things work right. Don't get me wrong; I think the plan is stupendous. I wish the sense he writes was followed by everyone. I even got a few people this book for Christmas, I like it so much.
I'm not reading it for the 'get out of debt' stuff, though that's great. We were pretty much out of most debt (not the house) before I first read it, and by the grace of God we all remain healthy, but I still think we have much to learn about budgeting and stuff.
My major problems are:
- How do you budget for seasonal stuff? And I don't mean 'clothes' that you buy occasionally, I'm thinking here of... baby chicks. Chicken feed. And are these expenses part of our food budget? Do you know how varied the critter feed prices are, year to year? I'm a little afraid to add this stuff up anyways, so maybe I'm just undisciplined in it? Too, we buy beef less than once a year, but I'll be darned if I can look at that chest freezer and know when we're going to run out. And I certainly can't know what the prices for a decent beef will be at that point!
- I am completely, utterly, and tremendously overwhelmed by the legal/financial stuff. We still have (very little, now!) money in a 401(k) (I think that's what it is, anyway...) in the company that USED TO own Hubby's workplace. Like, 4 years ago. We certainly don't save 15% of our income for retirement (yikes! That's a lot!), and need to have a better system for that. Which I say every year. I tried doing a will a few years ago, and ran into a glitch when I couldn't come up with primary and secondary preferences for guardianship of our kids. The website wouldn't complete it without all blanks filled in, so I gave up. I did go onto Dave Ramsey's website and submitted a form for a financial guru who is an "Endorsed Local Provider." And then discovered that anywhere within 700 miles is "local" and that scares me. Moreso when their website features BIG, TALL, SHINY buildings that are very... big. Wow I'm a country hick, huh? Sheesh. They called the next day, but I was elbow-deep in cinnamon rolls and didn't recognize the caller id. They emailed too, so maybe I'll call them back. Maybe. I just feel so... small, short, and rustic. *sigh*
- I have a hard time with the food budget (aside from buying live animals). Dave loves to quote "beans and rice" and intellectually I agree, but in practice it is something else. Not that I can't handle beans and rice, but Hubby's diet must be rotational (and let's not discuss the price of his supplements. Are those food?). Beans and rice will work one day out of four. Well, perhaps I could switch from pintos to black beans to garbanzos (but not kidney or navy!), and that would work (well, except he'd divorce me before the week was out. :) the man just loves meat.), but I'm just NOT at the place where I would buy every msg-laden, genetically modified box of macaroni and cheese (tasty though it may be) for money's sake. What's a reasonable food budget for frugal-but-not-junk household of 5-going-on-6 people?
- What is meant by 'cash,' anyway? Like, "Man, if you're walking in there to buy that [whatever] with cash, they'll listen to you." Does he mean actual, green bills? I ask because we're looking for a van (duh), and plan to buy with cash. We *might* have to drive out of town or out of state to find the one we want, however, and if we do, how does that work? I doubt I can write an out-of-state check, right? But the thought of emptying my bank account and walking around with $12-15,000 in my wallet seems insane. We'd haggle, and then do the deal, and then what? They call the cops thinking they just found the local bank robber? I could use my debit card, I suppose, but how many car dealerships can run a visa card? Too, is it better to deal in 'cash' upfront, or would you get a worse deal, because they're counting on getting the financing charges out of you? Maybe I should call Dave Ramsey's show and ask...?
What do you think? Is there any budgeting wizard reading this who can show me the way, the truth (and the light?)? :) I promise, if I figure it out on my own, I'll post all my garnered wisdom here.