Organizing: The Money Edition Part I

I really believe that when we are organized in matters of money, we are going to let that spill over into the other areas of our life.  My money life has long been disorganized. My parents were not the best teachers in the arena of finance. We lived in an area of town when I young where my friends had a lot more than we could afford. I think keeping up with the Jones’ kept my folks down. Scott’s folks were broke when he was young and so all he ever knew was that there wasn’t enough to go around. So when  Scott and I started our lives living together we came from two different backgrounds but with the same outcome: we were better spenders than we were savers. Scott wanted to have the things that make life comfortable, things he didn’t have as a kid. I expected that I should have things even though we didn’t have much money when we started out. I knew that my parents had four kids and one income and didn’t much tell me or my sisters “no” so I wasn’t used to hearing no from myself or anyone else. So, while Scott was reining me in sometimes, we both weren’t great.

Flash forward to 2008….we had just bought a house that we could afford…..just barely. A few years on the other side of this, I have no idea what we were thinking. Our mortgage payment was almost $2000.00/month. Our payment on the house before that was $1200.00 We also had a $400.00/mo car payment, a student loan of mine and credit cards. Our house was older, it was going to need repairs in the few years coming up and we didn’t have a single cent left over each month. So, we certainly didn’t have savings for an emergency or to fix our house if something broke. And then it happened. Scott got laid off. For 5 months. Then, he took a job that wasn’t in the same field and he had to take a $10.00/hour pay cut. I was charging things on credit cards, we were hardly making the house payment and things were bad. Then we thought we were getting good news. Scott was offered an electrician job and we could finally get back to where we had been. He started that job and things seemed like they were going back to our old way of life. A month later he got laid off. He didn’t go back to work for 2 years. We lost our house. We somehow didn’t file for bankruptcy.

So, we are here in 2014. We are in a rent to own agreement to buy our house from our landlord. Our rent is only $1400.00/mo with an extra $200.00 toward our down payment. We are debt free except our cars and we have a few months worth of expenses saved. Our lives were rocked but it was just what I needed to get myself organized and as Dave Ramsey says “live like no one else, so I can later I can live like no one else”. In three years, I plan to be completely debt free except the house. In fifteen years, we are planning to be debt free. Period. And what do I do to keep myself organized on the money front? I use tools online to keep me super on track and organized.

Here are our tools and by tracking where my money goes, it can work for me.

1.) Mint.com I use this for budgeting, keeping track of my credit score and my debts, setting goals and seeing my net worth
2.) Creditkarma.com I use this for seeing all of my credit in one spot and tracking my credit score
3.) I bank at a local credit union and they have budgeting tools that I use on top of the Mint.com (what can I say, I got a little budget happy)
4.) Daveramsey.com I use this to work on the baby steps, get advice and to listen to the radio program and podcasts

And that’s it!

Tomorrow I will check in on the day to day things I do keep my budget organized.

Mary

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