February Money Notes

I’m still trying to digest our expenses for the month of February, because it honestly doesn’t feel like we spent that much money. Once I looked closer at the expenses, there’s actually nothing we purchased the will last longer than what’s in our fridge/cupboard. In fact, w e spent a total of $438.83 on groceries, and another $278.77 eating out. We also spent $170 on charities. But we were frugal in other ways, my $20 haircut and we only filled the gas tank up once (still have a half tank too).

Now I can better see how Hubby’s common saying is that “we are hemorrhaging money!” It does make it seem more real to type it all up and share it with you …here it goes:

Feb 1st

  • $60 – boot camp classes – cash
  • $60 – paid remainder of birthday party expense – cash
  • $4.50 (+ .50ct tip) – Fuego burrito cart – cash
  • $41.17 – Spud –  AmEx Costco card

Feb 2nd

  • $1,954 – Childcare tuition – automatic debit

Feb 3rd

  • $66.90 – Turbotax – debit card
  • $9.45 Hubby’s lunch – debit card
  • $65.49 Electric utility – automatic debit
Feb 4th
  • $47.21 at Whole Foods – debit card
  • $47.91 at Trader Joe’s – debit card
Feb 7th
  • $14.70 Philadephia’s – debit card
  • $12.50 Southpark Wine – debit card
  • $15.00 The Nines Urban Farm – debit card
  • $17.85 Paradise Bakery – debit card
  • $45.81 gasoline – debit card
  • $50.00 Water for People charity donation – debit card
  • $1,624.98 Continental Chase card payment in full – debit card 

Feb 8th

  • $3.75 Hubby’s coffee – debit card
  • $3.99 my lunch – debit card
  • $10.00 OPB member donation – Continental card
Feb 9th
  • $4.38 my lunch – debit card
  • $26.28 Rite Aid – no recollectiondebit card
Feb 10th
  • $2.75 Hubby’s coffee – debit card
  • $9.99 Netflix – automatic debit
  • $146.24 – NW Natural Gas – automatic debit
  • $37.58 – Spud –  AmEx Costco card
Feb 12th
  • $21.99 Sparky’s pizza – debit card
  • $103.10 Freddy’s – debit card
  • $34.99 Clear wi-fi –  AmEx Costco card
Feb 13th
  • $18.90 breakfast out – debit card
  • $7.55 overdue library book fines – debit card
  • $15.47 IKEA (meatballs, etc.) – debit card
  • +$48.87 IKEA returns – (wine glasses and shoe rack)
  • +$15.00 Target return (sweater dress for Girly)
Feb 15th
  • $87.83 Allstate Insurance – automatic debit
  • $36.00 Hubby paid for lunch with co-workers – debit card
  • $401.00 Subaru car payment – automatic debit
  • $15.00 2 tickets to Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Flycheck
  • $125.00 EcoMaids cleaning service – Continental card
Feb 16th 
  • $7.75 lunch out with friend –  AmEx Costco card
  • $10.37 date with kiddos – AmEx Costco card
Feb 17th
  • $47.74 – Spud – AmEx Costco card
  • $11.68 Burgerville – Hubby – debit card
  • $110.00 Church tithe – Continental card
Feb 18th

  • +32.98 Costco return of wine glasses
  • $156.04 Costco purchase – AmEx Costco card
  • $91.91 doctor’s bill – Continental card
  • $136.37 doctor’s bill – Continental card
  • $18.00 Milagro’s – 3 cloth diaper liner rolls – Continental card

Feb 20th

  • $28.75 Cup and Saucer breakfast – debit card
  • $14.00 Oregonian Fri/Sat/Sun home delivery – Continental card
Feb 22nd
  • $0.40 Parking tab – debit card
  • $7.50 Hubby matinĂ©e – debit card 
  • $10.75 Kettleman’s bagels – debit card
  • $46.91 Safeway – debit card ($40 cash for Hubby)
  • $800.00 Costco American Express (early payment) – debit card
Feb 23rd
  • $5.47 snacks for co-workers at mtg – debit card
Feb 24th
  • $48.35 Spud – AmEx Costco card
Feb 25th
  • $17.90 Lunch date for Hubby, Big Guy and I – debit card
  • $28.50 Mississippi Pizza night out – debit card
February 26th
  • $5.99 ice cream ($40 cash back) – debit card
  • $20 haircut – cash

February 28th

  • $13.97 – healthy work snacks – debit card
  • $288.00 – student loanautomatic debit

February total = $6782.76 (credit cards paid off from previous month = $2,424.98)

Cash = $145
Check = $15
Automatic debit = $2,952.55
Debit card = $2,345.79
AmEx credit card = $383.99
Continental credit card = $505.28

Have you written out your expenses lately…or ever?!

Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Energy of Money Review

I shared earlier about reading the Energy of Money I’m still wrapping up my “homework,” but I can say that it’s already been eye opening to type up each and every expense for a month…even after a year of blogging about our finances, I hadn’t written out our expenses that consciously.

But it’s not the homework challenge that makes me highly recommend the Energy of Money, it’s the depth of personal reflection that it asks of you. Rather than simply asking you to dream up your financial goals in isolation, she presents questions to find your personal and professional path to match your values. I happened to read this part around the new year as we were developing our family goals, and it certainly helped to make them meaningful and well-rounded. It’s all about taking Authentic Action with your energy – monetary and otherwise.

Nemeth isn’t all warm and fuzzy though, and she asks tough questions about past money mistakes and where your finances may have felt unbalanced with your personal values and life goals. She demands that you own up to even the smallest indiscretions, as they can haunt the psyche and unconsciously drain your bank account. She talks a lot about the inherent nature of monkey mind, and how our internal chatter really guides our money decisions.

I also really appreciate her tips for creating a practice of gratitude in your life, and how your perspective influences your net worth. Speaking of net worth, Nemeth recommends that everyone calculate their net worth. Honestly I’ve resisted calculating our net worth, and I realized that it’s probably because my college loans total more than our collective savings and house equity. Nonetheless, once I’m done with my initial homework, I am going determine our net worth so that we’ll have an objective baseline to compare material progress. Like Nemeth reminded me, it’s not meant to compare anyone’s personal worth or value in the world…so my reluctance on moral grounds needs to end.

As mentioned before, Nemeth led thousands through a Money and You course before writing the Energy of Money. I really appreciated how she wove her personal life story with the anecdotal quotes of her many course participants. They were very insightful, and help her messages feel genuine not hypothetical, or heaven forbid, hypocritical. 

Lastly, the book may have been written in 1999, but it is very contemporary and readers can probably relate to some of the messages even deeper in the wake of the economic crisis. 

Have you read the Energy of Money?

Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Snow day…well sort of!

Snow is pretty rare in the valleys of Oregon, and we only really get a snow event every few years at best. In great anticipation of the “big” snow day that we are expecting, I’m frankly not focused on our finances at the moment.  Instead I’m reminiscing about childhood snow days, which are priceless.

I recall the bunny hill that seemed so treacherous, and the numb feeling of thawing out after finally retreating to the warmth of home. Hot chocolate was a must, along with soup and grilled sandwiches. I must have been an early feminist, because we always insisted on making a snow woman đŸ™‚ 

Snow days also have a funny way of changing our priorities, and suddenly nothing seems as important as savoring the snow and playing as hard as possible. I’m looking forward these kinds of traditions and memories for my kids.

Last year I wrote about cheap ways to enjoy a Winter Wonderland.

I also found a couple some fun snow day ideas on ParentDish, Snow Day Fun, and 5 snow day favorites.

As it turns out there really wasn’t much snow to celebrate, but it has been fun fantasizing…

How do you celebrate the snow?

Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Who’s Managing Your Family Finances?

Do you have a head penny counter in your household? 

After writing about our early family finance habits, I was curious to see if I could find any videos on the topic. I found an interesting video from CNNmoney.com on  Who’s managing your family finances? 

He discusses a recent study that shows how couples thrive better if the person who is the best at numbers takes the lead on finances – not just the person who takes charge or gets stuck with the finances. It only really makes sense, but relationships, especially with money, aren’t always rational.

They give a quick quiz, and I was relieved to pass. Hubby has always thought that I was more numerate that him, although I think we’re about equal and somewhere in geometry he became less confident. But I can’t claim that we made an intentional decision for me to lead the management because of math skills, and it probably had more to do with us not wanting a traditional arrangement where the person who earns more makes the decisions.

Do you think the most “numerate” spouse handles your finances?

Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.