The Pomeroy Background and Budget

Devra and I debated for quite a while for how specific we wanted to get with our finances on the world wide web.  It’s a tricky question because the way that people spend/allocate their money tells a lot about a person… you know, “Wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).  However, by sharing our finances, it allows us to have greater accountability… something that we need in our lives.  Accountability helps us reach our goals!

budget background

Our Income information

Devra has a degree in Cross-Cultural Studies from Manhattan Christian College, and is currently working for an engineering firm here in Lexington.  She works 8-5 Monday through Friday, and makes $12.00 per hour.  She also gets a company 401k match and 2 weeks of vacation.

I finished my B.S. degree in Biosystems Engineering in May of 2011.  From there I started working part time for a small engineering firm in Northern Kentucky, and it was a great job for that season of life.  The job was very flexible and allowed me to invest heavily in pursuing Devra (the best investment I’ll ever make!).

Devra and I are both very blessed in the fact that neither of us carry any debt.  I owe a deep thank you to my parents/grandparents and Devra’s parents for enabling us to step into the workforce without tens of thousands of dollars in student loans hanging above our heads.  This is something that Devra and I want to be able to do for our own children someday.

Eventually, an opportunity came for me to step into graduate school at the University of Kentucky.  I studied within the same major as I did in undergrad, Biosystems Engineering, and my thesis project dealt with developing a low cost automatic guidance system for agricultural vehicles (with a focus on small to medium scale vegetable production).  The project was funded by a research grant, so I was very blessed to do grad school at no cost.

While I finish up writing my thesis, I have taken a full time job at The Home Depot.  I started in February of 2014 as a part time garden sales associate, and have recently been moved to a full time sales specialist position in flooring department.  In this position, I earn $11 per hour and do not have vacation or 401k match until I have been with the company for a year.  I also earn a little bit of side money from the engineering firm up in northern Ky every once in a while, but I do not count it in our normal income because of how irregular it is.

Our typical monthly income looks like this:

Gross Income

So, as you can see, we do not earn a ton of money.  Around $45,000 a year before Uncle Sam takes his portion.   After Uncle Sam gets his share and all of our benefits are taken out, our total take home pay is between $2,500 and $2,600, unless I get paid from my part time job in Northern Kentucky.  That leaves us with around $30,000 in take home pay for the year.

budget

Our Bills

Our expenses look a little like this:

Expenses Cost % of Gross
Housing  $     535.00 15%
Grocery  $     200.00 5%
Misc  $     100.00 3%
Car Insurance  $        90.00 2%
Tithe  $     310.00 8%
Cell phone  $     140.00 4%
Gas (Furnace)  $        57.00 2%
Internet  $        54.00 1%
Gifts  $        50.00 1%
Car Fund  $     100.00 3%
Electricity  $     118.00 3%
Sewer/Water  $        45.00 1%
Gas (Fuel)  $     350.00 10%
Entertainment/Dates  $     100.00 3%
Hobbies  $     100.00 3%
Savings  $        20.00 1%
TOTAL EXPENSES  $  2,427.00 66%

Now, if we are only taking home $2600 per month and we are spending $2400 per month, it only leaves $200 for wiggle room.  That’s why we have a budget!!  In my next post, I will break down our budget and how we got to the numbers…

How about you?  Do you have any creative ways to save money?  Any side jobs that can help bring up your income?  And most importantly… do you have a budget?

Time is the Most Precious Asset

Someday I want to be free.  Free to spend my time as I wish.  Currently, I suppose I get to “control” everything except for my 40 hour work week, but by the time you take out sleep (6-7 hours a day), various errands and other commitments (a pesky thesis for example…), I’m only left with a couple of hours of “free time” a week.

workingfortheman

Wouldn’t life be so much richer if we could spend our time with family and friends we love or traveling around the world rather than using it to re-coop from our excessively busy lifestyles?  Thus, this corner of the blog is born.  Here I will be documenting thePomeroyLife’s pursuit of freedom.

We are after the freedom that affords us the ability to spend our time doing the most good with the resources we have been blessed with. This could be our time, money, or our talent.

Something that Devra and I have learned in our first couple of years of marriage is how important it is to have goals.  Goals, if shared, promote accountability and when you make goals public, the more accountability that you have.

goalsetting

Our goal is to reclaim our 8 hours a day back from “the man”, and somehow maximize the value of that time… we want it to look a little like this:

  • Invest time into our personal relationships with God
  • Invest time into our relationship with each other (date nights)
  • Invest time into our relationships with family and friends
  • Become financially free by generating as much passive income as possible
  • Live generously (with our time, money, and talents)

How do we get there?

First… work hard.  It doesn’t matter if you work for the man, for yourself, or are doing full time ministry.  We are to do all things as if it were to the Lord (Col 3:23).  As such, you should work hard.  If your work is not fulfilling, make it fulfilling.  More than likely you spend your 8 hours a day with co-workers, invest in their lives; lift their spirits.  Be a difference maker.

Second, save.  If you have debt, get rid of that cancer as soon as possible.  Wage war on debt and get rid of it.  If you can pay off your high interest debt, save as much as you can.  Discipline is important if you want to reach any goal.  Discipline is hard, by definition it means forcing something to happen.  Devra and I do not make a ton of money, but we are disciplined in how we use it.  Making a budget is only half the battle, and honestly it’s the easy part.

Third, make your money work for you.  Cultivate passive income through investments.  Investments do not always have to be stocks or mutual funds.  Sometimes it is an investment in something that saves you time, money, or enriches your life.  An example would be a car that gets better gas mileage or perhaps a grill that enables you to have cookouts with friends and family.

My dad taught me that money is only good for the memories it can buy.  I want to buy a lot of memories, some of them are memories others will enjoy and some are for us.

Please join us on this journey of becoming free!  I will do my best do keep you up to date with how we reclaim our time.

The “B” word…

Hey Everyone,

Thanks for your feedback from the last post, it was great to get some comments/questions!

This week, I think that I want to focus on something that is essential to financial stability – building a budget.

As most of you know, I am an engineer.  As such, I have been trained to be detail oriented and to pinch pennies.  I can’t help it!  I can’t even walk into a fast food restaurant anymore without the urge of pointing out where the inefficiencies lie.  Fortunately, this critical thinking has a fiscally positive impact.

One of the first things Devra and I worked on once she moved to Kentucky was developing a budget we could stick to.  I would argue that this is one of the most important conversations you can have with your significant other.

Budgeting allows you to plan for the future; it takes the focus off of there here and now and reveals a more complete picture.  I have a friend who has been trying to dig his way out of debt for a couple years now, when he discovered how useful of a tool budgeting was, he stopped living paycheck to paycheck and was able to establish and track financial goals and responsibilities.

One of the best tools I’ve found is called Mint (https://www.mint.com/).  Mint allows you to import and track all of your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, investments… you name it, all in place.  Better than that, it’s free!  They have a budgeting tool that really helps you figure out where your money is (or will be going) and allows you to see where you stand at any point during the month.  Once you set up the budget, all you have to do is keep an eye on it and make sure mint is putting the transactions you make into the correct category.  For example, if you buy something off of Amazon as a gift for someone, mint will count that in the shopping category while you may want it categorized as a gift.  Overall, Mint is a great tool and is really good for making your first steps toward developing a budget.

For those of you who want to have a more hands on approach to budgeting, let me suggest a website to you.

http://www.spreadsheetshoppe.com/personal-budget.html

My own family makes fun of me for how much I use excel, but I don’t care.  It’s an amazingly helpful program that I use on a daily basis (not kidding!).  This website has a ton of great spreadsheet templates that you can use.  The personal budget template offers you more control over the categories you want to monitor.  I found it especially helpful for tracking multiple incomes and savings accounts.

Well, I hope that these tools help some of you keep track of all those cash monies!  In the next post, I will probably be talking about setting financial goals, make sure you check back!  And as always, you can ask questions or leave comments!

Here is a little deal for snapfish that I came across – Devra and I are decorating our house with wedding pics and such:  http://www.livingsocial.com/cities/149-lexington/deals/458220-30-to-spend-on-photo-gifts

Being Disciplined Pays Dividends

As usual, the semester picked up last week.  You’d think that after 14 semesters of college I would have figured out that the eventual (and relentless) wave of homework comes crashing ashore very quickly.

Anyway, here is a little update on how the deal hunting goes.

We got our first “big fat check” from Ebates for a whopping $10.22!  It’s not much, but every little bit helps.  Devra and I have decided to set up a separate savings account for any sort of rebate or cash back we get. Over the course of a year, the little savings add up.  For example, so far this year I’ve earned $246.00 cash back using my Discover credit card, if you combine that with my Amazon card cash back you it jumps to about $300.00.

If you simply let these cashback bonuses collect you can use them for some pretty awesome things like a vacation, Christmas gifts, spontaneous road trips, a new iphone 5, or helping a friend in financial need!  Our cashback will likely be going towards getting friends and family Christmas presents this year, which means less financial stress during the holidays.  Something that my mom did is let these rebates go into an investment account for my brother and I.  By the time we each turned 21, those accounts were each worth over $1000, I’ve got a pretty smart Mom!

Since I mentioned something about credit cards, I suppose I will go on my little rant about them.  A lot of people think credit cards are evil and say that you should cut up any you have and never think about getting a new one.  Dave Ramsey, a very popular Christian financial guru is of this opinion.  I disagree with him, but ONLY because I know that some people are financially disciplined enough to not live beyond their means.  For those of you that lack the discipline to pay your bills on-time or that tend to spend more than your make, STAY AWAY FROM CREDIT CARDS.  On the other side of the coin (pun intended), credit card companies can help you build your credit score and literally pay you in the process. If you would like a referral to a credit card (and get a $50 cashback bonus) email/facebook me.

The last thing I want to mention in this post is for those of you looking for cheap dates!  Devra and I keep an eye on Groupon/Living Social daily for good date ideas.  We like to try new restaurants and often times local restaurants have 50% off vouchers online.  Last week we went to a place called Jasmine Rice and we got an appetizer and 2 dinners (and we each had leftovers for lunch the next day).  Total, we spent about $20 and it got us out of the house, we tried a new restaurant and had 4 meals… you can’t beat that!

Here is a little deal I found today: 50% off backyard burgers ($5 for $10 worth of food).

http://www.sweetjack.com/deal/lexington/backyard-burger?raf_c=z9anWLHVkk