Welcome to Thrifty Thursdays! Finance is my favorite area of life. Wanna know why? Because I’m good at it. At least budgeting anyways. This is the one section of my life that I feel like I have control. I try to not be a control freak. But when Comcast double bills us in the same month and screws up our account, I get really upset. I’m sure they have a note somewhere in their system that says “Walk on eggshells with this lady, she’s a bomb ready to go off!”
My husband and I have paid off $31,000 since January 2012.
I’d like to say that we can take all the credit for that. But I can’t. Dave Ramsey is to praise for our success. Now, don’t misunderstand. Dave Ramsey did not give us anything except for the tools and knowledge to succeed. Financial Peace University and The total Money Makeover was our biggest success. (by the way on the Financial Peace University home page, this is us.)
My husband and I have done that all by ourselves making about $45,000 a year. We started two years ago making $30,000 It requires lots of intensity and focus. It also took FOREVER to get organized. But we did it! And now we can rock the socks off of any budget we have to put together! Dave has helped us get everything together and put our lives in order! We are almost out of debt and we look forward to the day that we can mellow out and have a social life again. 🙂 No eating out, no movie theaters, no expensive vacations. We chose to make those decisions because we were sick of being sick and tired. Being debt free and having control of your life is much more fulfilling and satisfying than a juicy $50 steak.
You want to know how we did it? It all starts with a budget. A budget is a plan for your money. Here is the basic steps to a simple budget. Don’t stress. I’m here to help! If you’d like to modify your own custom form, here is a link to the download for the word doc that I made. This breaks down the 4 paychecks we get each month. You might have to change yours so it only has 2 columns if you get paid bi-weekly. Or maybe you get paid once a month. In that case, you will probably need one that has everything listed out for one pay period. Dave has resources for different budgeting forms here. But I felt overwhelmed with his forms because there were so many budget items that didn’t apply to us. but look at his forms. There might be something that applies to you but not to us.
*note, my husband and I both get paid bi-weekly. Our paychecks leapfrog each other. Dave Ramsey recommends a monthly budget, but we tried that and we lost focus because it wasn’t constantly being put in front of us. Since as a household, we get paid weekly, we do a weekly budget. This helps us stay on target and we can foresee events coming up within a weeks notice rather than planning one month out. I don’t care how you do your budget, just find something that works for you and your family.
Step 1. Start by listing out your main budget items. This first step is just things that you are planning. For example, our car registration is due this month. So this week we had to accommodate that. Next week we will have to accommodate our eye exams. We list those things in the “Other Category” because an eye exam can be rescheduled, but we kind of have to eat. Notice that I made this form in order of importance. The budget items on top are the first priority. If we get to the bottom of the page and we don’t have any money left, that dang ol’ debt is gonna have to wait. We won’t pay Sallie Mae before we eat or have hot water. That’s for sure.
Step 2. Do the math. This is where you are going to see how much money you have to work with to put in savings or towards debt. This form works by taking the number in red, subtract the number in blue and you get the number in Green. 780.07-78=702.07
Just keep working down the page. Your goal is to get the very last number to be zero.
Step 3. Adjust and stick to it. It will work. It takes LOTS of dedication and organization (up front). Try it for at least 9 months before you give up. Email me with questions! I’m very happy to help! Remember, it took us 6 months to master this. This is not an easy feat. But I promise it will bring peace to your life and blessings to your wallet. Our income went up $15,000 during the last two years!
Just stick to it!
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Questions to think about:
- How often do we get paid? What kind of budget form will suit that?
- What budget items can we cut back on? Are we spending too much in one area?
- Do we really want to get out of debt? If so, what are we willing to give up to get there?
Set a goal:
Start small here. If you try to organize ALL of your finances in one day, you will lose your mind. Maybe you can start with wrangling up all of your usernames and passwords to different sites. This will help make things much smoother with paying bills.