Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Quest to be Debt Free - Step 1 of the Plan

The first step in my plan to be debt free is probably one of the most difficult. I need to save $1000 for an emergency fund. It is difficult for me to imagine saving $1000 with an already tight budget. Not only do I need to find the money to save, I need to resist the urge to pay a bill with it.

Of course, the reasoning behind saving $1000 for an emergency fund makes perfect sense to me. Currently, in the event of a minor emergency we would have no choice but to pull out a credit card. However, the idea of being debt free means that you owe no one and this cannot happen if credit card use continues.

The first thing I need to do for step 1 is to find the money to save. If you remember, I mentioned that in our current situation we only have about $180 after paying our monthly obligations. This does not allow much for saving money or for step 2 - putting additional money towards our debt. That means that the first thing I need to do is find more money.

In attempt to make this a reality, I am trying to work more hours. I am allowed to work 30 hours a week, but in the past have only worked an average of 10 per week. Somehow, I am managing to work more hours and keep up with housework without depriving my son of my attention. It has been challenging, as I more frequently than not have my son tugging at me, wanting me to pick him up or tapping his sippy cup on my leg trying to tell me it is empty. But I have managed.

I have calculated that if I work 30 hours each week, I will be bringing in about as much take home pay as I was working full time before my son was born. There are two main factors that make this so; 1) I am not paying for medical insurance since my husband has us covered, and 2) since I work from home I do not have commuting costs, which are pretty hefty at the moment. In addition, if I went back to working outside of the home I would now have to pay for child care, a cost that I did not have previously.

It will be a couple of weeks to a month before I will be able to start saving. I think it is important to have all of our bills current first. We have fallen behind on some of our bills since we typically spend more than $180 even though that is all our budget allows. My husband can easily spend $150 in gasoline alone, just to go to work. Within the next couple of weeks, I will also set up a strict budget.

I will see where we are at in a couple of weeks, and then if necessary… start selling things.


dmoms said...

great start! I recently had to increase my work hours for the extra $$$. It was hard but a necessary thing to do.

alicia said...

I don't know how it is possible to start an emergency fund when you (WE)owe on credit cards already... how do you NOT pay that off first to avoid more apr charges... as in would it not be smarter to get rid of that debt first???

Amy said...

That's a good question, Alica. I will address that in my next blog post. I am leaving town for a family wedding, so I will not be able to post until next week... OH, the anticipation!