Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cash Money

Finances.  Budget. These probably aren't your favorite words.  Not really mine either.  It takes work to make your budget.  It takes discipline to stick with your budget.  Discipline I thought I had mastered.

Isn't it funny, just when you think you've mastered something you discover there's more to learn?  Honestly, I don't know if I'll ever master this finance stuff, but I like the new track we're on right now.

Last August Steven and I made a decision that will greatly increase our outflow of money.  Mind you, we already live on very little.  Since making that decision, we have been making changes to the way we handle our money in attempts to save more money now.  Even though our next big step in life won't occur until later this year, we needed to start stashing cash away to prepare.  

I'm so thankful that we are not at this alone.  When we made our decision, we asked God to reveal to us how to accomplish this goal.  Little by little He has shown us ways to maximize our income and decrease our outflow.  One way was refinancing our house.  Yes, refinancing the house we have only lived in for 2 years!  The savings there alone was $260/month.  Crazy, right???  What's even crazier is how we came about making the decision to refinance our house.  Seriously crazy.  Like chasing a rabbit crazy, because this girl did not want to do it.  In the end, the process was so easy.  Neither Steven nor I ever had to go to the mortgage office until the day of closing.  Closing lasted all of 10 minutes.  It was awesome!  If you need a mortgage guy, I have one for you!  We've used him twice and both times we were blown away with his staff's efficiency and customer service.

I digress.

What I really wanted to share was the next step of what we needed to do.  Use strictly cash for non bill items.  Let me just say I have yet to watch the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Videos, but I am excited to do just that in the next few weeks.  However, I didn't want to hold up our finances waiting for videos.  I wanted to start January 1.  So I looked at our budget for this month, left enough money in checking to cover drafts and pulled cash out that I budgeted for groceries, vacation (we are going to FL in March), car care (we have  older vehicles), clothing/haircuts, home improvements, entertainment/fun, and groceries.  I stashed the allotted amount in each envelope.  No more debit card swipes.  Ever.

I can already tell how much I love this method.  Before, Steven and I had just one envelope to cover 'entertainment and miscellaneous' expenses.  What really bit me in the butt there was I would see how much cash I had and would tell myself, Do it, Amanda.  You can totally spend $30 on going out to eat.  You cook all the time.  Reward yourself.  Do it, do it, do it.  Then I would kick myself in the butt later on down the line because what I really needed to use the money for was to get an oil change.  UGH!  

Having the money designated for specifics has helped me stay focused on what I can and cannot do.  Does it totally suck to see a really good deal on workout clothes (like $5 for an Under Armor top instead of $50), and not have enough cash in the haircut/clothing envelope to do it?  Yes.  Yes, it does.  However, it has me focused on what's really important.  I have plenty of workout gear.  I didn't need a new top.  I wanted a new top.  Yes, $5 is an awesome deal, but saving for our lofty financial goal is more important than fulfilling a short term want.

What kind of things do you do to save your family money?  I want all the good tips!


Lynne said...

I try to break down the 'want' part a little further by also asking myself if I really want the item or if I just 'like' it...I feel it's easier for me to leave something behind when I've realized that I like it, but I don't really want it.

Ashley said...

Man you and your teasing! You keep talking about this "next big step" and yet give no hints about it! Guess I will wait and see if you a year!