I am one tired Mama today. I have had a long day at work and am ready to be DONE. That being said, I promised one last installment of my money organization series and I am happy to be here to share this with you today. I believe this is a testimony to share with people what I have been through and hope that it helps at least one person. I have made some large changes in my life in order to gain order in my financial life. Of course keeping organized and on top of things is one of those things but the way that I view money and what it’s intended to do in my life might be the biggest change of all. I have been blessed to have a second chance to do things differently than I had and I am not wasting it!
1.) I accept and acknowledge that my money is not my own, it belongs to God.
2.) Delayed gratification makes the things I get more sweet. When I can’t just swipe the plastic to get what I want right away, it makes it better when I do get it.
3.) I am being a role model for my children on how to handle the riches that you are given in this life.
4.) Life is 100% less stressful when you don’t owe people money, you have a backup plan and you don’t have so much stuff weighing you down.
5.) My life moving forward is going to be about experiences and people that I love not things that I want and don’t have.
I know that each day I am very blessed and I wish I could have learned the lesson without the heartache but apparently, I couldn’t. I know it now though. I love my little life and I am glad that my financial house is all in order and if we are ever faced with that type of challenge again, we will be ready for it.
I promised that I would check in yesterday to talk about what I do each day to save money and live like no one else. My day got away from me as it tends to do. So, here I am! Back with some more ideas and tips from someone who admits she is not a financial planner but has had good times and bad in her life and has lived to tell about it.
Once I set a budget up in Mint and with my credit union, it was really easy to see where my money was going. Mint even texts me when I am going over budget! Once I really saw where my money went I could see the excess in my spending. So, on a day-to-day basis I was over spending in two categories mainly. Those two categories are food and clothing. I think that once you figure out where you are overspending you really need to think about what is driving that spending. The motivators for me were laziness and anxiety. Let me tell you what I mean by that. The overspending on food was simply me being lazy. I didn’t prepare ahead for having something to eat at work, which led to me eating out most days and then it led to me gaining weight. Now, I plan ahead and having something planned to eat so that I don’t overspend OR overeat. Win, win!
Then, the clothes. I used to like to guy clothes when I was feeling anxious. I know that sounds crazy but I think a lot of people let shopping be a panacea for depression or anxiety. I know for some people there won’t be an easy solution to this but I can tell you what worked for me. I told my self I was just going on a clothing diet. I wouldn’t buy anything new for 90 days. That way I knew it wasn’t forever, only a little while until I could buy something again. It was a little difficult the first 90 days. I really wanted to keep up my spending habits when I had a bad day but I did it. I didn’t buy anything. And then I was proud of myself. I had done it! So then I challenged myself to another 90 days and another. Soon, not buying things was the norm instead of rushing out and buying stuff to make myself feel good. I even started to get rid of things and sell the nicer items online through Craigslist or Facebook. I was making just a little extra money and getting my life less complicated by getting rid of things.
Lastly, I will do the final installment of my money organization series and will tell you the major life choices that changed my financial life and got me on the right path that I am today.
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.