A few months ago I had started a series about Budget & Accountability. I created an awesome FREE download to track your spending and see where your money is going. We made tremendous strides and it was quite helpful, especially when I went on maternity leave and our income went down a bit. We already had so many months under our belt to know where our money went to.
But, now we’re in need of another challenge. During the Financial portion of our Marriage Oneness class through church, we had a worksheet that was identical except for the titles. First you filled out Where does our money go and listed the past month’s information, detailed out based on Giving, Saving, Living, and Owing (credit card payments & student loans). You also entered your income for the month to see if you’re in the positive or in the negative. The second was titled Where do we want our money to go and this time you re-adjusted how to spend your money. For this, we first entered all of our constants – rent, car insurance, car payments, utilities, etc. Then we subtracted that from our income and from that point, decided on where our money should go.
This is a very scary thing, but also a great learning opportunity. By telling your money what to do, instead of it telling you what to do, you can feel more in control. We started by increasing our savings for the house, our giving at church, and setting up monies for the kids. It’s not tremendous amounts, but we know if we start small, it will build. If we get used to living in this manner, when it comes time for our mortgage (which will be a tremendous jump from rent), we’ll be prepared.
Another change we’re making is super scary. Have you heard of Dave Ramsey? He’s a financial guru with books such as Total Money Makeover (which we read) and Financial Peace University (which we have not). One of his suggestions is using cash for EVERYTHING. You have major categories divided with a set budget for each. If you run low or run out of money in a category, you either hold off on the purchase or you have to decide which area you’ll take from instead. Jon and I decided to try this approach and see if it helps us physically hand over our hard earned cash. Our checking account/debit card will still be used for bills & gas (Sam’s club is where we buy and you can’t use cash to pay) but everything else will be done this way. This includes Target. My dear-beloved Target. No longer will fun items jump into my cart and come home with me. I’ll have to be strict about what I want to purchase. And work to save, not settle.
This goes for Jon too. Since I do most of the shopping, i’ll be keeping our money holder. But whenever Jon runs to Sams Club or to grab his dry cleaning, we’ll have to consult the holder to see how much we/he has to spend. It’ll be a bit of work to figure out the logistics initially. But hoping, in the long run, we can be the boss of our money and have a great down-payment for a house, some savings built up for Aubrey & Luke, and get rid of more of my student loans.
** I wrote this post over a month ago but never got around to posting it. It was all written, just sitting in my draft folder. Since posting this, we have been using cash and it’s crazy how different life is. We actually bought Jon some new work clothes and while it was technically thrown on the credit card, the cash was taken out of the billfold to deposit the next day. I’ve also been utilizing that concept with my Target runs to save the extra 5% off my purchase. Luckily there’s a BofA near both of my Targets to stop by after. It’s really working well for us! Also I find out about new project Imbrex. They create a great real estate data marketplace that going to change ways in buying home! As we are interesting in getting a new property, I probably will write about my experience with Imbrex and how it help me to save money.
this post contains affiliate links.