Dino Bites

Dino Bites

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I Love YNAB!

The other really big news is that Ben has stopped working for New Horizons and has gone into business for himself as a consultant.  He has been spending lots of long hours crunching data for various clients, and we feel so blessed.  I have also been working with 3 clients on real estate deals, which I have never tried to balance before.

Some of these blessings must be because we have been trying so hard to get a handle on our finances.  When we sold our first house several years ago, we used the proceeds to pay off all our debt.  Unfortunately, Ben lost his job shortly thereafter, and we spiraled back into debt again.  We have been struggling ever since.

While I was laid up with my bad leg, I spent lots and lots of time in front of the computer researching different budget and finance programs.  I finally settled on a program called YNAB, which stands for You Need A Budget.  It was developed as a spreadsheet by a student at BYU several years ago, and at one point, he decided it was so helpful that he should develop it more and spread it farther.

It is so fabulous!!!  One of our friends had told us about Dave Ramsey, and I learned a lot from his book.   The physical envelopes just didn't work for me.  YNAB creates virtual envelopes, and it even has a great app for my phone so I can enter transactions as we go.

I was pretty sure it has been saving us money, but today was a very noticeable milestone.  We have made the budget for the month (pretty stretched with all the medical expenses since we don't have insurance), and I feel like I can spend what I need but that I can't just throw money around.  I logged into our bank account, and I was astonished to see over $1,000 in our account!  I double-checked, and almost all of the bills are paid for this month.  The coolest thing though, is that I still feel checked by the budget.  I'm not going to just go on a spending spree just because it's in my checking account.  It must be spoken for somewhere because my budget says so!

I LOVE YNAB!!! 

It cost $70 to put on my computer, my phone, and Ben's tablet, but it has definitely saved us that and more by just raising my awareness and accountability of what happens with our money.

If you need a budgeting helper, this might be the answer for you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Spring and Summer So Far

I haven't done too well at blogging this spring and summer so far.  I have a few reasons or excuses, but they're not worth putting down! 

This season will go down in our history as the year of injured left lower appendages.  I broke or severely strained several ligaments or tendons in my left foot, Sunny broke the growth plate on her left leg, and Kandy broke her left big toe (we think).

I did mine by running with the dog in the dark and tripping in a big hole.  I'm so grateful for cell phones and that Kandy was old enough to stay up alone while Ben came to get me.  I don't know how I ever would have made it home otherwise.  I was on crutches for a week until I went to the doctor.  He prescribed a walking boot that I wore for 3 or 4 more weeks.

Sunny was just running through the house and tripped.  The crazy thing is that her injury is the kid version of mine.  Kids break the growth plate; adults, whose growth plate has sealed, just strain tendons and ligaments.  She is still wearing her walking boot.  It has hardly slowed her down at all, and she is very glad she can take it off to swim.  She is anxiously awaiting her appointment next week when she gets clearance to take it off for good!

Kandy was just doing the can-can and kicked the wall really hard.  We didn't actually get x-rays because last year when she broke her right toe, they basically said, "Yes, she broke her toe."  They did nothing.  We found a cast shoe in her size and she wore that for a week or two until it didn't hurt so bad.

In spite of all this, we have had a lot of fun.  We have gone to the zoo, to the Liberty Park fountains with cousins, had Sunny's 7th birthday party, swimming in Bountiful with other cousins, and lots of fun times at home as a family.

My injuries have helped develop independence in the kids because I just couldn't do as much for them.  (I also burned my hand on the 4th of July grabbing a sparkler from Abel before he could burn himself.)  It's almost healed.  I can't do dishes, but I have managed to make six batches of apricot jam.  The kids have picked and sold about 20-25 lbs. of apricots on the street corner near our house.