Planning: Debt Free

We’re back with some more money talk. Let’s be debt free, friends!

I talk quite a bit about how unorganized I am. How I struggle with the piles of paper and staying on top of menu planning and list making. It’s not a strong point of mine. It’s a weakness I’m very aware of.

Menu Planning

But I also know and understand the power of planning. Having a small note pad with me at all times to keep on task, remember important information or to tell me what’s next … it’s like a brain.

I’m also a very visual person. Reading patterns is for the birds in my opinion. Sticking to a recipe is like following all the rules. I prefer to pretend there are areas in my life where rules just need not apply.

Thinking on paper - Quilt for Jessica

However … money is one of those things I’ve learned over and over and over and over and over and OVER again that not planning it will always result in losing it.

Always.

There’s not a family friendly leash to put on your money to make it stay where you want it. There’s a budget and that is what works.

It’s a good thing I married someone who knows how to handle details.

Aaron working on his presentation

Only – the details of our household? Are left to me. (He pops in for a hello every once in a while and more often lately after starting the FPU class)

So, for the tips:

Obviously here – let’s get on a budget shall we?

It’s not set in stone and both parties involved (if there is more than one party TO involve) should have a say. The best thing about a budget is that you’re in charge. You get to change it if needed. You get to say where extra’s go, where less than extra needs to come from. You’re on top of it.

It takes a couple months to really figure it out and make sure that you’re allotting enough money in your needed categories. We’re learning that we just need to add a little more into our food budget. I’m actually embarrassed about that because I want so badly to be able to live on less where food comes into play – but trying to wear a size 3 shoe on a size 8 foot is just painful. So this month, we’re adjusting and we’ll see how we come out on the other side.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Patience? Who me? Just because you don’t have hundreds of dollars to set aside each month for saving doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be saving SOMETHING. $10 a month grows slowly … but all of a sudden you look and there’s $2,000 there that wasn’t before. It’s powerful.

Maybe I’m just in the the middle of learning this lesson and it’s just starting to take hold … but there’s something to be said about the way my grandparents lived. Literally picking up pennies from the sidewalk to take into the bank to pay down their mortgage. That’s powerful.

Every penny, literally, counts.

Closet

Cure what ails you.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m not a shopper. I love to bargain hunt and I’m a deal finder – yes. That’s a hobby. But shopping for clothes? Shoes? Not interested.

That didn’t happen over night and I wasn’t always like this – but here’s how it happened for me. When I was 18 I had a breast reduction, before that clothes weren’t appealing to me. They didn’t fit my body well, my body didn’t fit me well – so I stayed away. After the reduction? All of a sudden I could buy tshirts in the junior section of the stores and I was ALIVE! I owned cute underclothing for the first time in my entire life. No more “minimizers”. I was working full time so I could afford to buy myself clothes when I wanted – but back then?

I was making small amounts of money and then very large amounts of money – it wasn’t consistent. I was on a budget at 16 and I really liked the percentage break down. I saved 30% of everything I brought in. I didn’t touch it. The rest? I gathered and divided so I could pay for gas, car insurance and my phone and tithe. Then there were left overs. I could spend that if I wanted but it was really hard to part with it because I knew how hard I worked to get it.

So I didn’t buy too often. The feet and shoes? I have freakishly small feet and it’s just not fun to shop for shoes. They rarely fit my foot. So I don’t even look.

From there it just turned into the way I lived. Now I have kids to shop for and it’s so much easier to buy them an outfit than spend money on myself. I rarely have child free shopping experiences so I just don’t have time to fit items on and preview a look or style.

I think this is hard for a lot of women – the shopping. After I became a stay-at-home mom I had a REALLY hard time not spending money every single day. I lived at Target for a few months. I had a very good baby who slept wonderfully and I was bored out of my mind. So I shopped. Alot.

We froze my debit card in a block of ice in the freezer. True Story.

You just have to do what’s right for you in this situation and you need to be honest about it with an accountable party.

That’s what I’m thinking about today. Next up? How to hunt for bargains, how to score great deals.

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