Finances have been a big topic in our house lately. As it true of most people, we have debt and our goal is to not have this debt.
For months we have been tweaking our budget and trying new plans of attacking said debt. Our plan is constantly evolving. I would love nothing more than to not be concerned with money. To not have these evolving conversations. Unfortunately, it seems that in order for money to not be an issue, it has to be a priority.
For example, a friend of mine recently made a comment regarding my large-ish income. Well, that is true. I do okay. But I also don’t have dependents to worry about. If I had children, I would need a higher salary to live the lifestyle I do. In conjunction with this comment, it was inferred that I can afford travel and entertainment at my leisure. Also, not totally inaccurate. However, I then considered that the only reason this is true is because I do the exact opposite with my money. Sure, I have a decent salary (as I should after spending thousands of dollars in student loans). I COULD spend it willy-nilly. But IF I did, that amount of my salary would mean nothing. I have some money because I DON’T jump at every chance I have to spend it.
Just some food for thought.
So my boyfriend and I have been discussing the future and our plans for it. Ideally, I would like to be debt-free when my children decide to come into this world. That means, we have a lot of work to do now. So, after probably a 2-hour long discussion about our financial plan, we decided to take some not-so drastic, but workable measures.
We set a time-frame of 6 months. Why? Because 6-months is a terminal amount of time. It is temporary. I can do anything for 6 months.
I first suggested the drastic measure of cancelling our internet access and going down to a basic phone plan. This would have saved $150/month. (Thats $900 in 6 months). For now, we have decided we don’t want to be that harsh on ourselves. Although truly, I think we would survive.
Instead, we are doing the following:
- $50/month date night budget. (We’ve been spending close to $300 currently)
- Decrease our grocery budge by $100/ month. (So we will probably eat less meat)
- I am not allowed to take an on-call shift at work versus actually working. We have been loving this option on weekends because we don’t get to see each other super often. However, when I did the math of doing this just 1x/month, it amounted to an entire paycheck. No Thanks!
- Lance is going to pick-up a little overtime each week at work.
- NO household/fun purchases
- We will be looking for a cheaper/smaller place to live.
- We hung up our credit card. We were using it for point accrual with Southwest Airlines and paid it off every month, but it is just one more temptation to spend money we don’t have.
It seems like a lot, but I know we can do it. We figured over the course of 6 months, this will save us somewhere around $2000. That is an addition $2000 we can use to pay off my car or put on a student loan. Every little bit helps. Perhaps we will adjust to this budget and make some more adjustments after 6 months; or continue on for another 6 months.
Some other areas to increase our income would be:
- Pick up a part-time job.
- I’m still gonna consider the cell-phone/internet thing…
It’s a work in progress.
I recommend Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover for your reading to inspire you to pay off your own debt. I have a copy on my shelf and have referred to it often.
Everything can be temporary. If we go hard-core attacking debt for a few years, it will have such an impact on our futures.