Mar 31 2008

No, we’re not debt-free


Paula has a question for me, but before I get to that, I want to emphasize that this is about our personal finance. Our situation is based on the decisions we’ve made and the blessings we’ve received. What works (or doesn’t work) for us might be entirely different from you.

I am curious. In all my reading of your blog, I have never read of you being in debt. Are you debt free? If not, I am curious why you would put so much into savings. I am also curious if you put anything towards you or hubby’s Roth IRA. I know Dave [Ramsey] says to accumulate [an emergency] fund before investing, but I also know on one of the blogs you read, he mentioned how they build up ER fund AND invest at the same time (which is what we are doing as soon as we pay off the rest of this debt).

Our debt situation

We are not debt-free. We have a $277/month car payment. If we don’t pay extra on it, then we’ll be making payments on it until the end of 2011, as we took out a four-year loan on the car.

Other than that, we don’t have credit card debt, student loans, personal loans, or a mortgage.

However, we have had credit card debt in the past. I’ve mentioned some of the dumber things we’ve done (including charging our honeymoon on credit cards!). Because of the decisions we made, we didn’t have much money in savings right after our wedding, when we moved to Pittsburgh and started new jobs last June.

My husband gets paid monthly, so for that month before his first check, we were living off our credit cards–charging groceries and gas and more.

My husband’s employer reimbursed us for relocation expenses and our apartment-finding trip, but, the key word was “reimbursement.” We had no choice but to charge those expenses at first, since we didn’t have money in savings. Now, Shane has a company credit card that he uses on business trips, so we don’t have to worry about reimbursement checks anymore.

Last summer, we were looking at a few thousand worth of credit card debt. It was ridiculous. Read more »

Mar 31 2008

Plan ahead for out-of-town weddings


M has two wedding-related questions for me. I’ll answer the first now, and the second one about wedding gifts in an upcoming post:

Do any of you budget for future weddings (friends’ weddings, not your own)? I’m specifically thinking about ones that will require air travel, hotel, etc. Any tips are appreciated.

Thanks for your questions! I’ll do my best to answer them, and I hope readers will add their own ideas in the comments section.

Not many of my friends or family members are getting married in the near future. The last wedding I attended (that wasn’t my own) was in December 2006. The next one for us is in May (in Florida!), and as of now, that’s the last one we’ll be attending for some time, as far as I can tell.

I’ve written about my Florida trip plans (see links below), and while it’s looking to be cheaper than I first thought, it’s still going to be quite expensive for us. In fact, it’s probably going to be around 1/3 of the cost of our own wedding!

I think in a few years, more of my friends will be getting married, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead for those happy times so they won’t have a negative effect on our budget. Once our emergency fund is completed, we’ll start a separate savings sub-account, where we can earmark money for gifts in general, and also wedding travel.

I don’t know how much we’ll put in the general gifts/wedding travel fund just yet, but I’m guessing it’ll be somewhere around $25-50 per month or so until we’re up to about $1,000. Since we don’t have single/engaged friends in Pittsburgh, we’ll have to travel to the next wedding we attend–whenever that is. Dunno for sure on that, though.

If you sense that you’ll be attending some weddings in the future, it’s a good idea to start saving. How much should you sock away? Consider some costs of standard items I’ve listed below. There’s lots of room to be frugal here, of course.

And, if you know you’ll need to travel to attend someone’s wedding, the sooner you can start planning, the better it will be on your budget.

Costs many wedding guests can expect Read more »

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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