6 Tips for Talking to the Bank When You Are in Trouble

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In this post, I told you all the woeful tale of dropping the budgeting ball and getting interest, late fees, and overdraft charges, all in the same month. (Oh yeah, read her financial advice. She’s obviously an expert! 😉 ) I told you how it happened, and what I learned but I didn’t really go into much detail about how I got help reversing these fees when I talked to the bank. I’d like to explain that process a little more clearly now because I’m sure many of you have found yourself in a similar situation or may one day. So read on for my tips for talking to the bank.

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The Time I Dropped the Budgeting Ball

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So I’ve written before about the budget I set up and how much it’s helped us save money. I love it. Honestly. I never thought I would love having a budget AT ALL when I was younger but I love it ridiculous amounts. And I just got a reminder why. today, I want to tell you about the time I dropped the budgeting ball and all consequences that followed.

The Time I Dropped the Budgeting Ball

It was actually quite recently. I want to write about it while it’s still fresh.

See, we recently bought our first home, moved twice, spent a whole month traveling, had a baby, went through the Holidays…pretty much, had life happen in a big way. Well, during all of this, I was unable to get the printer to work to print off my budget sheet for the month. Ok, it was actually two months…

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Save Money with 1 Simple Question

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So I am a little bit of an obsessive saver. You can read all about my budget here. I love to watch those categories fill up! But before I had my budget in place, I used to ask myself one simple question when I wanted to spend money. And most usually, this question kept me from buying things I didn’t really want or need. It also helped me get an idea of “buy prices” for things I did need. Asking this question undoubtedly helped me save money:

“How much time does ____ cost?” 
You might have read that and gone, “Huh?” Allow me to explain.

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We Bought Our First Home Debt and Loan Free

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So in the midst of all of the holiday hubbub, I never found a chance to tell you that we bought our first home!! Between having a baby, moving, and the Holiday season, I’ve also had a bit of a lag in my blogging. I apologize for being so sporadic! Whew, what a lot of life changes!

I’ve never lived in a home that wasn’t rented or “loaned” as part of the job description. (Often, housing is provided as a perk of ranch jobs.) Having grown up ranching and then ranching over the past several years, I’ve always lived in someone else’s house. While I would never dream of complaining about free housing! I have always wanted to be able to paint a wall when I felt like it without having to ask someone.

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Money in a Marriage: 4 Ways to Avoid the Argument

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A friend of mine once asked me the question, “How does your relationship work? Does Austin work and you two split the pay check while you stay at home working with the kids?” I gave a fairly short answer about the budget I set up but I’ve been thinking about the way people handle money in a marriage since.  There are a lot of different ways that money can be handled. I’m sure it would vary greatly depending on the partnership. For instance, we have a very different arrangement now than we did before having children when I also worked. But it is important to be on the same page as your spouse as far as money is concerned. According to this CNBC article, money is one of the top argument causers in a marriage. That’s the reason it’s listed in this post I wrote about things to discuss before marrying someone. So what are different arrangements that work for handling money in a marriage? Here are a few I thought of:

One Income

  • This is the method we use. In our home, we use my husband’s paycheck to pay for everything. It covers all of our needs and wants. In exchange, it is my job to use the money well (no splurges on $500 shoes for instance) and to take care of the children and home. Now for us, this doesn’t equal no household help from him. But it does mean that I carry the bulk of the load by cleaning and cooking and caring for children while he is at work. Once he comes home, we start sharing jobs. I also put a section in our budget to allot him a little “fun money” to spend on anything he wants. If he wants to go use it all on Mt. Dew, fine by me. If he wants to save it up for horse tack, whatever. It’s his. This keeps him from feeling like he is working all the time without getting to have any fun or freedom or anything for himself. Eventually, I added in a section for my to get a little “fun money” also but it’s a smaller amount…mostly because I HATE spending money.
  • Variations of this idea could include:
    • Splitting up household or childcare chores. Or perhaps one or the other. If keeping house equals having a full time job, then childcare would be even divided between you both. Or visa versa.
    • Finding small ways to either earn or save money that could then become your “fun money.” The more money you save at the grocery store or earn through online survey sites, the more you have to play with.

    Two Incomes

    There are three main ways that couples can work two incomes: Everything is combined and divided, regardless of inequal sizes of paychecks. It all gets thrown into the household budget and used to cover all expenses, fun money, whatever. There is no smaller fund for you or your husband based on bringing home more or less. Everything is mutual. You kind of live off your own income. This is basically works like it does before you got married but now you would likely split housing costs or divide them up and then use the rest of your paycheck however you want. Or, this is the method we used when I also worked, you live off of one paycheck and save the entirety of the other. We used my husband’s paycheck exactly as we do now and mine got divided between a savings account and our investments. This ended up being a huge blessing to use when we decided to start ranching and were very poor and had a baby on the way. We used that saved up money to pay doctors and the hospital. Of course, this was before I knew how to budget and we weren’t nearly as good with our money. Looking back, we realize we could have lived off of my paycheck and saved his. Eh, you live, you learn!

When both spouses work however, it is VERY important to discuss your roles in home care and child care. The situation will vary based on hours and days you work compared to your spouse but both of you need to agree on chores you will be responsible for. It isn’t fair for both spouses to work 40 hours per week for instance and the wife has to still be in charge of all cleaning, cooking, and child raising. This could easily lead to a cranky, burnt out wife. But in our case, I worked 40 hours a week or less while he usually worked well over 60. It often fell to whoever was the least tired to pick up some slack but I typically cooked dinner because I was home 2 hours earlier and could have it ready when he got home.

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Zaycon! The best meat you can buy.

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Zaycon Fresh

So for anyone who doesn’t know about Zaycon – my condolences. For those of you who do, awesome right?

Zaycon is this awesome company who sells awesome products. They only sell in bulk quantities but their prices and their quality is unbeatable. Obviously, I haven’t tried their beef because I live on a cattle ranch and we have beef provided with the job, but the boneless skinless chicken breasts, which I have tried, are unbelievable! You know how most of the chicken breasts you buy at stores are small and then shrink a lot once you cook them? Not Zaycons. No way. They are huge and REAL. Not injected with lots of liquid that evaporates when you cook them. Tender and juicy and wonderful. Now, because they come in a 40 lb box, I can most of mine, which is a post of awesomeness in and of itself. Perhaps I’ll write it once I get my chicken this time… Thanks to my sister-in-law for teaching me that chicken even could be canned! But if you don’t can, dividing them into smaller bags and freezing them works just as well. I just used up the last of mine from the freezer from over a year ago and they were as delicious as when I first got them.

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The Not-So-Simple Thing I Did to Help My Kids Eat Better (Plus an Unforeseen Benefit)

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I briefly mentioned this in my post about our meal plan but didn’t go into any detail about it. So now I will. As a family, we recently decided to make a change to our meals. Because our kids didn’t eat well. At all. And we wanted to help our kids eat better, not just in quantity (cause they ate practically NOTHING!) but in quality also.

Here is how we used to do things:

Breakfast

I don’t like mornings or waking up so it was cereal for breakfast almost every day. If Austin wanted something else before going to work, he had to fend for himself.

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Meal Planning

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We’ve all heard how meal planning can help save you money on groceries. I actually started meal planning to save me panic at 5:00 when I still didn’t know what we were going to eat for dinner. We lived an hour away from any stores or restaurants or fast food so it was up to me to cook and to make sure I had the ingredients I needed for several weeks. So, as much as I didn’t want to, I sat down one day to write up a meal plan. And I had no idea how. People write posts explaining it and I read those. I still had no idea what I was doing. Most of their meal plans were centered around the weekly sales ad at their favorite stores. I didn’t go shopping once a week. I sometimes only went once a month! Besides, this wasn’t an easy job; did I really want to have to do it every week?? No. I didn’t. So I decided to make it up. Much like I did when I set up our budget. That had worked out well for me. Maybe I’d luck out again. And I did.

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4 Steps to Setting up a Perfect Budget

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I mentioned earlier that I was fabulous at budgeting. I don’t think it’s very fair to say that and then not share how I actually budget. This is something that has literally changed our lives and only for the better. I spent a lot of time thinking about budgeting and trying to understand it before I ever launched into it myself. And I hated the idea.

“So confining,” I would say.

“I couldn’t handle that kind of restriction.”

“I don’t want to have to limit myself.”

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