Why I decided to get serious about budgeting

Budget clipartBudgeting

Budgeting was a nasty 9 letter word for me and my wife for about the first 20 years of our marriage.  Did we budget early in our married life, sure, but not very well.  Let me tell you how I came to realize that we really needed to get serious about budgeting.  This happened over a period of time, but there were three specific situations that ultimately led to my realization. Continue reading Why I decided to get serious about budgeting

Budgeting Update 1/25/2016 – Using YNAB

For me, budgeting was hard, but budgeting with YNAB is not as hard.  Since we have been using YNAB for about 2 years now, it is really easy!  My wife and I really don’t have many “heated” discussions when it comes to money as of late.  Here are a few key reasons:

  1. We set up a zero based budget in YNAB and learned to prioritize.  This helped us look towards the future instead of the past.  We did an excellent job at tracking our spending for years without any real forward progress in controlling our money.  We were just able to see where it went, but did not have a plan until we created a comprehensive Zero Based Budget.
  2. Diligence in entering all spending into YNAB in a timely fashion.
    1. Reconcile YNAB with bank account each month to make sure we did not forget to enter something.
  3. Don’t overspend the category.
  4. Spend based of YNAB category balances, not check book balance.
  5. If an expense comes up unexpectedly, deal with it.
    1. If it is going to be recurring expense, make a new category and figure out how to fund it.  This may take some creativity, but is doable even if you have to cut another category or categories.
    2. If it is a one time expense, maybe it has to come out of the buffer and then rebuild your buffer over the next few months.
  6. Review, revise and relax.

Continue reading Budgeting Update 1/25/2016 – Using YNAB

Ethanol Free Gasoline

   It might save you money in the long run!

I enjoy DIY projects.  Especially when they require power tools.  On this occasion, my wife and I were cleaning up the remainder of a tree that we had cut down.  We got a friend to help with getting the tree on the ground and cutting up the majority of the tree, but we had a little bit more to do when my chainsaws ran out of gas.  I drove to the closest gas station and bought a couple of gallons of gas and came back home and mixed it with oil for the chainsaws.  I filled one up and had been cutting for about 5 minutes when it started running poorly and then quit. Continue reading Ethanol Free Gasoline

Roadside Safety – Budget Friendly Gear

First on the scene – Think Safety!

Make sure oncoming traffic can see you!               Image result for roadside safety tips

I was on my way to work one foggy morning when something didn’t look normal.  I was driving about 40 mph due to the fog when my peripheral vision on my right side was blocked by something.  I started slowing down and then I noticed debris all over the road and then a drive shaft and part if a rear axle and suspension.  It took a second for all of this to register, but the parts were from a truck that was flipped on its side and sitting on the shoulder of the road. Continue reading Roadside Safety – Budget Friendly Gear

Braided fishing line, can it actually save you money?

Low Cost Braided Fishing Line Alternative

If you like fishing or are looking for a gift for the fisherman in your life, this braided fishing line might be what you are looking for, it is a lower cost alternative that has performed very well for me and has actually saved me money.  I like to fish for Reds and Speckled Sea Trout inshore near Cumberland Island Ga.  With this type of fishing, getting hung up on shell beds is not uncommon.  Before I started using braided fishing line, it was a 60/40 chance if I got my sinker and slip cork back.  The sinker is not too expensive, but the slip cork can range from a a couple of dollars to around $8 or so.  I like to use a good quality 6″ or 8″ slip cork since they are easier to thread, cast better and have less drag in the water.  Each time I lose my sinker and slip cork, it costs me around $5 plus the time rigging everything back up which is usually when the fish are biting. Continue reading Braided fishing line, can it actually save you money?

Automatic Transmission Repair – Saving money by going DIY

Dodge Diesel 47RE and 48RE transmission repair

BOTH FIXED!!!  $750 saved for each truck!!!

1999 Dodge Diesel 47RE – stuck in first
2003 Dodge Diesel 48RE – stutter shifts from 1st to 2nd gear

Automatic transmission repairs can be very expensive if performed by a transmission shop of dealer.  Here is how a friend and I saved at least $750 each by doing the work ourselves.  $750 per vehicle saved is very conservative, I think it would be closer to $1000 per vehicle at most retail shops and dealers. Continue reading Automatic Transmission Repair – Saving money by going DIY

$300 saved by changing my truck water pump myself

Dodge Cummins Turbo Diesel Water Pump Replacement

Dang, another truck repair.  Had to replace the water pump.  Pretty simple job on my truck, but it takes a lot of anti freeze.  The water pump had been leaking intermittently for a few months, but it got progressively worse and had to be changed.  I bought the water pump off Amazon.  Great part at great price.  I did buy the antifreeze locally.  It took a couple of hours start to finish, but it was not difficult and I only needed a second pair of hands for about 15-20 minutes.  I’m sure this job could be done in an hour or less if in a hurry.  It really was the easiest water pump I have ever replaced on a vehicle.

My Dodge 5.9 Cummins turbo diesel is back on the road and leak free and it only cost me $75 in total.  I got an estimate from a reputable shop at $400, so that is a savings of $325 or $162.50 per hour.

How to replace the water pump (video here).  I did not use the spill-free funnel, but it really would have been nice and probably saved some time.  As a side note, my water pump was not stuck, it popped right out.

Hopefully this post shows you that a couple of hours of DIY can save you some cash.  Invest it and let it multiply!

How much could this $325 saving be worth in 20 years

$325 savings one time @ 6% for 20 years = $1,042

$325 savings each year @ 6% for 20 years = $13,670

If you do a project around the house each year that you would have otherwise had to pay someone for and put that in an investment, it can make a big difference long term.  Just imagine if you did this 6 times a year it would grow to $75,900.


Got Bugs? How to save on pest control

DIY pest control

We live in South Georgia where there are lots of bugs.  Sometimes roaches come into the house.  We are not all that fond of them, so we try to keep them under control by various DIY pest control methods.  By doing your own pest control, you can save at least 50% off your annual bug control bill. Many of the professional products are available for retail purchase, so good products are easy to obtain and easy to apply. Continue reading Got Bugs? How to save on pest control

Summer Scalloping Fun in the Gulf of Mexico

P1000599Scalloping, fun for all ages

Whether you are 6 or 66, scalloping is fun and relaxing.  Yes it takes a bit of physical exertion, but nothing too strenuous.  Our first time scalloping was in the summer of 2013.  We vacationed for a few days in Steinhatchee Florida with some close friends who showed us the finer points of scalloping.  We had some serious fun!  Kinda like a treasure hunt, just tastier.  If you would like to try scalloping, let me explain when, where and how to scallop. Continue reading Summer Scalloping Fun in the Gulf of Mexico