Friday, September 7, 2012

Playing Catch-up

I've paid more attention to our checking account in the last 7 days than I have in the past 7 years. 

I have a confession to make . . . I've never kept a checkbook register.  Never ever.  My mother would be so disappointed in me!  I never understood why I needed to keep track of my money so closely, especially because of online banking!  That was until 2 checks were cashed last month that I had completely forgotten I had written.  One for purchases made at a garage sale, and one for a babysitter.  Both people held the checks for weeks.  I had completely forgotten about them, and had to pay $55.00 in penalties to my bank as a result.  Never again, my friends!  At the beginning of September, I started keeping track of our money through a budget template and a checkbook register, both made in Microsoft Excel.  Something so easy will potentially save our family hundreds in penalty fees from our bank.  That's money we're just throwing away, people!

You can find budget templates everywhere, or if you're particularly handy with Excel, you can make one yourself.  I found one that allows me to enter my "projected cost" and my "actual cost" so I can truly set up a budget for our family in the future.  Because we had eaten out on such a regular basis in the past, I truly have no idea how much it costs to feed a family of four.  Because we take trips on a regular basis (both near and far), I truly have no idea how much it costs to fuel our cars to get to and from work.  So, I'm tracking how much we're spending on each so I can be more informed in the future.

Another item we're working on is playing catch-up with our bills.  While I'm ashamed to say what I'm about to say, it must be said!  In the interest of full disclosure, our Internet service was shut off two days ago.  Shameful!  I do have a iPhone, so I am able to still be connected, and for now I'm writing my blog posts in Word and e-mailing them to myself at work so I can update the blog.  Our monthly Internet bill is only around $40.  When you don't pay that bill for a while, it really adds up!  Before I made the first of two payments to get our service turned on, we owed over $200.  I've paid $172 in the past three weeks which will hopefully turn our service back on today.  The same can be said for our gas bill, my husband's student loan payments, and on and on and on.

On a side note, I made marinara sauce last night for the first time.  We're making homemade pizza tonight, and I wanted to try out a marinara sauce recipe I had seen last night on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.  I had everything I needed in the house to make it, and it's delicious, if I do say so myself.  I left it on the stove for a little too long while jabbering away with Pen last night, but I'll just add some water to it tonight to get it back to the right consistency.  I have a recipe for homemade pizza crust, and we already had shredded mozzarella cheese and pepperoni at the house.  I also have leftover hot dog buns from last weekend, and I'm going to make my own cheesy garlic bread with them.  I'll let you know later how it all turns out!

Also, Piglet 1's school pictures are today.  Yet another unexpected expense - $33.00. 

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