Let me tell you, the struggle is real. Sticking to a budget is not the easiest thing to do. We’ve never been big spenders in regards to clothing or other material items. However, we do love entertainment. We love going to the movies, going out to dinner, going to shows/concerts. Summertime in NH does not last very long, and we like to take advantage of it as much as we can. In all honesty, we have gone to quite a few concerts this summer, and we just went out to dinner with friends a few nights ago. We got vegan Pad Thai, mmmm. We really want to stick to the budget so we can hit our goals; but we are finding it really difficult to commit to that. When we create the budget every month, we try to be realistic with ourselves. If we know someone’s birthday is coming up, or we have something to go to, we budget that in. Where we struggle is saying no to all of the extras. Amanda and I really enjoy going out to dinner and trying new foods. We like to go get a cup of coffee, as we are not big drinkers. Not going out regularly can sometimes put me in a funk.
So, how do we stick with it? We don’t know the answers just yet, but we are working on it. We started our budget the first month we moved back to my mom’s house. We created it in excel with a budget template and we update it every month. We first created an emergency fund of $1,000 and put that to the side. Next was the nitty gritty. Since we are saving money on rent, we are able to take that money and delegate it to our debt. We are using the snowball effect, which means that every time we pay something off, we add that amount to the next loan in line. This month, we will finish paying off my car. The only time that we deviate from this strategy is if something comes up that we need to pay immediately. For example, Amanda needed a lot of work done to her car in June, so we needed to pay a good chunk of money to that. Given that Amanda has already paid off her car, it was worthwhile to put the money back into her car. The tricky part is that
Amanda had been eyeing new cars for a while. She was constantly showing me the new cars she had looked at online, and why they could work for her. Lucky for us, she realized quickly that a new car was not the best choice. She more than deserved a new car, but having no car payment was much more worth it. This was also a good choice because we plan to sell a lot of our belongings in the future; but we will get to more of that in another post.
At the end of each month, we go through our budget and see how we did. We have unfortunately been a bit over each month, but we are improving. The more excited we get about the future and our lifestyle; the easier it is to say no to things we don’t really need. Would I love a new pair of sheets for our bed? Yes, but we don’t need it, so no new sheets for Mandy.
I almost forgot; we also did one other important thing when we moved here. We cashed in one of our IRA’s for about $6,000 and paid off the remainder of one of our smaller loans. Both Amanda and I had IRA’s, so we cashed in the one with the lower amount and kept the other one. When we first read about this in Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover, we were pretty skeptical. From what we had learned all of our lives, we must save, save, save, then retire. This is not the plan that we are following, but that is not the future we want. Why are we putting money in for “retirement” when we still owe so much now? Don’t even get me started with the idea of retirement. We want to put our money where it matters, and for now, that means we need to get our debt paid off.
*This template may be helpful as we used the same kind and found it pretty easy to use.
Key take aways:
-Grab Dave’s book if you haven’t already! Total Money Makeover
-You should be in control of your money, your money should not be in control of you.
-Create a budget, stick to it as best as you can…but always make sure you throw in a little bit of fun. Life is to short to not have fun.
-Don’t be disappointed in yourself if your budget does not go perfectly. We are constantly changing our mindsets and how we do this, to better both our future and our daily lives.
-Remember that the point of the budget is to help you get out of debt, not to be miserable. Use it to your advantage and be proud of yourself.
All you need is a suitcase and a playlist.
A & M