Tag Archives: Focus On Finances

February’s Focus on Finances {2018}

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Around this time each year, I like to declare February our Focus on Finances month.  Basically, I like to bring back a simple focus to our family’s finances.  It can be hard with the holidays and all of the overages to get back on track.

Motivation is hard when it comes to budgeting money and paying down debt.  It’s really hard.  But no one said this type of freedom was going to be easy.  So now that Christmas has come and gone, and our bank accounts have had time to recover it’s time to focus on building our savings while paying down debt.

I love to call February our Focus on Finances month.  I started this tradition (can I call it that?) back in 2016 with a simple desire to be more prepared for when the baby came.  It really helped J and I think ahead and create a budget a few months before Dent arrived. We were so grateful we had financially prepared for our son’s arrival because he ended up coming three months early! 

The next year our goal this time around was building our emergency fund.  With the high costs of insurance deductibles and medical bills our emergency fund was drained. My goal was to have enough in our emergency fund to cover each of our insurance deductibles for those just-in-case moments.  Boy were we glad we did that! We ended up fighting with our insurance companies (mine and J’s) until October 2017 over our son’s NICU stay back in April 2016. It was a mess and brought a lot of stress, but knowing we had some cushion made it a lot less painful (just very annoying!). 

You might be wondering what our goal is this year? Well after given it a lot of thought…

We are going to work on rebuilding our emergency fund. 

J went back to school last Fall and it’s a full time program.  He’s unable to work because of the time commitment and commute time he has to put into his program, which is fine!  I love the fact he was able to follow a passion of his, but that means our income is down to one.  We’ve been able to keep our emergency fund at a decent level, but it would be nice to have a bit more in the bank for those rainy days (or the days he needs new brakes).  

Here’s the breakdown of what we plan to do for this month:

We would like to put back an extra $500 into our savings during February.  It’s going to be tough.  February is a shorter month and since we’re down to one income it’s going to be hard to do.  We plan on sticking to our grocery budget of $100 per person and stick to our eating out budget of $60 for the month.  We’re also going to take a look around our home to see if there are any items we could potentially sell on Facebook Swap Shops or Craigslist to make a little extra money.  

What are you going to do this month to focus on finances?

If you want to focus on building your emergency fund this time around, take a look at this savings challenge we started back in January. You might be getting a late start, but it’s totally doable and could make a huge impact by the end of this year.

If you want to set your sights on preparing for your first child (or second or fourth) then take a look at an updated version of our financially preparing for a baby. We learned a lot over the first year of our son’s life and would do things a bit differently this time around.

If you’re hoping to start paying down more debt then check out 4 secrets to help jump start your family. 

You could also spend this time saving for a fun vacation and putting money aside for some summer trips you want to plan.  You could create a sinking fund to help you get enough money saved for your next vacation.

Check in on our Focus on Finances Month

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Alright, we’re about half-way through February and I thought it was time to check in. At the beginning of the month I declared it to be February’s Focus on Finances.

I still love that alliteration!

How are we doing? It’s hard isn’t it? I’m not going to lie I set a pretty hefty goal of bumping our emergency fund to $3,000. Luckily we had paid off some debt before 2016 ended, but we still have money needs that keep coming up. Last year I wanted to save $300 by the end of the month. And it was hard, but I achieved it. This year I increased that goal quite a bit by wanting to save $2000 in 28 days (we already had our emergency fund at $1,000 so I only needed $2,000 more to hit our goal). I shared some really great ideas on how to cut spending to hit that $300 mark.
This year I added one to that list… selling our old stuff.

I went through our closets and garage to find items we no longer needed. Now I’m selling them. There are a variety of places you can sell stuff – Ebay, Craigslist, and Facebook Swap Shops. My top choice is Facebook. It’s easier for me and for some reason I feel safer doing it. I can check out someone’s profile before meeting them. I also meet at my work during the day. I don’t meet in the evenings and I never let anyone come to our house.

I’ve shared my love of Facebook Swap Shops before when I scored some great buys for our little guy. I plan on utilizing this more when I need more clothes for him. I don’t think it’s necessary to buy brand-new clothes for a growing boy that isn’t going to stay in them for very long.

Anyway, back to my focus on finances. I plan on selling what I can for a good price. That way I can increase our savings while getting rid of junk that’s taking up space. If something won’t sell then I plan on donating it. That way the junk does not reappear in the garage.

I also plan on shopping at flea markets and thrift shops if anything comes up that we need.  I put together a handy cheat sheet to make sure you get a good deal when out shopping.  You can even put some of these tactics to use if purchasing something through a FB Swap Shop.

2017 February’s Focus on Finances

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Last year my Focus on Finances was a huge hit in February so I decided to bring it back.

I love alliteration – February’s Focus on Finances. It’s hard not to bring something back that just sounds good. So here we are. New year, same focus on a much needed area.  During last year’s focus my sights were a lot less than last year, but since I achieved my goal I figured I needed to make it harder.

Last year I was pregnant and had no idea our little guy would only be staying in 11 more weeks. I was so happy that I took time to really focus on our money to help prepare for the baby. I actually share how we were financially preparing for baby awhile back. But all of the focus really helped us with his early arrival.

I know, I know this picture doesn’t really have anything to do with focusing on your finances.  But you just have to love a boy on his brand new trike.  Look at that face!  I want to give our kid so much more than I ever had.. and I had it pretty darn good!  So by buckling down and working on our money situation now then J and I will be able to do so much for our son.  So maybe this picture does have something to do about getting your money right… maybe it was my secret plan to tie a seemingly unrelated photo back to the topic… or maybe I just wanted to include a picture of our son and somehow managed to connect it all.  Who knows…

This year there is no baby coming, but we do have a quite a bit of fun we’re planning for. My biggest is our little guy’s first birthday in April, a trip across the state to visit one of my best friends, a work-trip to Vegas (bummer I know!) and so much more.

One of my main goals for this year was to not stress over money. I know it’s easier said than done… but I am making a sincere effort. The main goal of February’s Focus on Finances is to pick a few money areas that need work.

This year it’s about our emergency fund. I want to build it up a bit more. It’s nice to start with $1,000 as a minimum, but once you hit that and have some debt paid off it’s time to build it more. So now my goal is to have enough for each of our medical insurance deductibles, which would be $3,000.

I started the 52 week savings challenge in January and it has been a big help on keeping me from impulse shopping. A dollar here and a few dollars there can really add up. This month I’m going to be adding an additional savings challenge so we can build our emergency fund. I don’t know if I’ll hit my goal of $3,000 but I’m sure going to try!

What part of focus on finances are you going to work on? There are some many money areas to pick from. And honestly you can pick more than one. Just don’t spread yourself too thin and get overwhelmed. Remember you control your money, it doesn’t control you!

You can set a debt pay off goal
You can reach towards that $1,000 in your emergency fund
Start saving for next year’s real and personal property taxes
Begin retirement planning

Whatever you choose, stick with it. February is a short month and it will be over before you know it!

Want more money tips? Check them out!