Please excuse the meandering of the following post.......thank you.
I've created a one-year budget for us after we move. We will finally have some money to do some things, but first up is paying off debt. Thanks to my mom, we have NO school loans, but we do have other bills. We owe my mom a fair amount, but that will be the last chunk of debt paid off, as she would prefer we pay off interest debt first.
My Uncle Chris lent us another fair amount (though less) to move with, and that repayment will be started in May 2008 and paid off sometime the following year, 2009. The first bills we will pay off will be from Ben's birth, about $2000 total (after insurance paid 80%!). Then the MasterCard will be sent serious payments ($200-$400 per month) until paid off, probably by the first few months of 2009. Then we will start paying my mom back.
Rounding up, (possibly by a few thousand, not totally sure) we have a total of about 16 grand to pay off, and how awesome is it that ALL of it will be done by the end of 2009?
Plans for right after we move include making wills and getting life insurance for both of us. We will be immediately contributing to Mike's 401-k so we don't get used to that money, so our retirement plans can get back on track. The kids' college funds will have to wait until after debt is paid off, but then we can start putting several hundred a year into each of those.
We may, I'm not sure, have the Toyota paid off by the end of 2009 too, but at some point during that year I'm hoping to get a different car (Mike might keep the Toyota, he's not sure). Not a new one, but hopefully one that only 1-3 years old.
For the next year, we will each have a small monthly allowance so we can have some fun :-)! I will be taking that out in cash at the beginning of each month, and not carrying my debit card or checkbook around with me, to curb spending. I will be paying for groceries with cash too, and sticking to a set amount each month. Right now that amount is $400, but that may have to change.
One thing we are considering to reward ourselves for the hard work we've done these past three years, is getting iPods with one of his first checks. Not the most expensive ones by a long shot, but just something that says "We DID IT!!!" Then the budget can be followed from then on.
I'm trying to think of something I can do, that doesn't cost money obviously, for following the budget each month. I know it's going to be hard for me, but I really want to reach that zero debt mark. Mike really wants to be out of renting in a couple years, and I don't want to buy until we are in a really good place, financially, for that. Any extra money at the end of each month is going to be rolled over into a savings account, and I need something to motivate me not to touch it! ANY IDEAS?!?!
To keep from getting bored, I am already putting plans into place for activities the kids and I can do while Mike is at work. Kaia will be getting out of school at 12:30 each day. I have found some moms' groups I am going to try out.
On Saturdays, there is a Zen meditation group I am hoping will be really cool. I asked Mike about it and he is happy to give me those mornings if it turns out to be something I enjoy.
Wednesdays I am going to take the kids to the library, and Mondays will will go grocery shopping.
Mike will have every other Friday off, and we have already decided to see if we like the zoo and the aquarium enough to get year long memberships to them. (with each of those, 3 visits per year will make a membership worth the cost)
During the summer, I am going to sign Kaia up for swimming lessons, and since Ben will be over six months old, he and I can do a babies and mom's swimming time.
I am going to ask Mike's step mom to show me the ropes for ebay-ing. She and Mike's father were really good at it, and made quite a bit of money. She stopped after Bill's death, but she is getting back into it now, and Mike and I think that would be something fun I could start doing, to make money (hopefully!) and to occupy my time. So during the summer we'll be going to a lot of yard sales!
I'm excited to show Kaia the space needle, and I know I'll find lots of other fun stuff (like Pike Place Market!) in Seattle, as well as the town we'll live in, to do. My aunt and uncle live only 30 minutes away from us, so we'll be spending lots of time with them too!
wow. okay, that's enough babbling for now.