One of my concerns for our budget is miscellaneous items such as gifts (birthdays, showers, Christmas, etc.), home improvements, car & pet expenses, going to a movie, co-pays or just miscellaneous extras that pop up. I have tentatively set aside $100 per month for that but it almost doesn't seem like enough. I do realize that you can't cover everything at once and this is making the most of our situation without relying on credit cards (on paper anyway).
We still have home improvement projects to complete but thankfully they are diminished after the big master bedroom expense of June. We still plan to sell our condo and buy a house within the next two years (if we didn't absolutely need another bedroom we would stay put). The current housing market and mortgage crisis freak me out but hopefully by the time we are ready to put our hat in the ring again things will have calmed down.
There is still the rest of July to go and we could have done better finance wise. My birthday is at the end of the month and I am hoping to go to Anthony's Beach Cafe and sit out on the patio for dinner. Next month I have a baby shower and my mom's birthday. I save money on cards by making them myself.
I know there is an end in sight and the cool thing is once our debt is paid off we can live on my income alone (with the exception of child support) which means we can save almost all of hubby's income. We are hoping eventually any home business we start will not only fast track our payoff but support us as well.
Hubby and I are trying to find as many ways as possible to make extra money every month. Some of our ideas include online surveys (I started that through Vindale Research), yard sale, free and decluttered items that can be Criagslisted. Snowflaking budgeted money not spent and setting up a home business. Google addsense (which I have signed up for but still need to figure out).
We also would like to find a credit card with air miles and 0% interest on roll over balances. When we are debt free the goal would be to pay ALL of our monthly expenses with a credit card (for the air miles) and pay it off every month with our paychecks.
So, what is a good percentage to earmark for gifts/home improvements? How do you bring in extra money? Have any of you had success transferring your credit card balances to 0% cards to help with the interest expense? Do any of those cards offer air miles? What do you all out there in blogville do?
I'm going to go knit. Have a great day! :)