Let’s talk Budgets

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(To the tune of “Let’s talk about Sex” by Salt-n-pepa) 

Let’s talk about budgets baby. 

Let’s talk about them and me. 

Let’s talk about all the good things and 

the bad thing that can be. 

Let’s talk about bud-gets. 


 

If you are anything like my husband, budgets are like a Dementor’s Kiss (Yeah, I’m talking Harry Potter.) They suck out your soul and leave you feeling empty and depressed. 

I on the other hand quite like budgets, much to the dismay of Mr. Penny Pincher. But, I get it, it’s not fun for everyone. 

The thing is, having a budget gives you clear goals and guidelines for where your money should be going. By creating a budget you are telling your money where to go, instead of just spending and seeing what you have left. 

Before we started using a budget, I would just keep an eye on our account balances and the bills that needed to be paid. But, I would inevitably miss things and that would create havoc. On top of it we were spending a TON of money on little things. Heck, debit cards make it easy to swipe and go and you don’t really even think about how much you are spending.  Until, you check the account again and are shocked by the balance (you know what I am talking about right?) 

I get it, creating a budget is probably the hardest part. And for those of you who don’t love numbers (gasp, Really? Come on. They are FUN. I promise!) It can be down-right painful. 

  • Where do you start?
  • How much should you allot to each category? 
  • How much do you actually need for food, clothing, and fun? 

In this series I am going to be walking you through how to start and hopefully stick to a budget step by step! 

So make sure you tune in! 

How has having a budget or lack of a budget helped or hindered your finances? Leave a comment below. Let’s chat about it! 

The Game of Life: Our Debt Story

 

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$75,874.15

That’s our number. I have to admit It’s rough seeing it laid out on paper!

So, how exactly did we get to this place? Thankfully, ours is not a tale of shopping sprees and extravagant living (but man, that would have been more fun!!) No, our number is from playing the game of life (and not well, I might add!)

 

Like I mentioned before Mr. Penny Pincher and I married young and had kids young. We dated for 5 years, got married and moved into our first house. Life was good. And then, life just sort of took us for a ride. We found out we were pregnant with our first little guy 8 months later and after our third son was born we decided that I needed to stay home. Mr. Penny Pincher was making a good income with great benefits. I would be working just to pay daycare and that just didn’t make sense. We welcomed our fourth (and last) child in 2009. That’s when things got a bit interesting. He was born with health issues and needed a ton of attention, lots of doctor’s appointments not to mention, we also had 2 toddlers and a preschooler. It was utter chaos!

 

 

If I’d played the game right, we’d have planned for EVERYTHING better. But, it’s life and I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, when it’s supposed to happen. We have become stronger through everything we have gone through, even though our finances haven’t. When things got crazy, we survived. But, that’s pretty much it. Survival was all we could handle. We lived paycheck to paycheck, eating out WAY too often and spending money on things that made day to day life easier (like a housekeeper).  I started my business during this time and while it was a great escape for me, it also took a toll on our finance in the beginning (and also saved our butts several times in the following years!)

 

Looking back, I am sure that there are a million ways that I could have saved more money, so that we would be further ahead today. I hadn’t fully let go of my pride. A Coach handbag still held value in my eyes and retail therapy was often a crutch. Thankfully, we never really embraced the idea of credit cards and have never had more than two. While, I see their value (when used responsibly) today, It would have been easy to get in over our heads then.

 

So with all of that said, where exactly does our debt lie?

 

$18,000 of our debt came from Student loans and of that $15,000 still remains (due to deferments and low payment minimums) and is included in the number above.

$475 is credit card debt and is #1 on the pay off list!

A whopping $59,686 is auto loans (more on why this is so hight to come!)

***Mortgage is not included at this time ***

 

 

There you have it! It doesn’t seem all that out of the ordinary. Maybe that’s why it’s so scary. It’s all a game. The game of life and the credit card companies and banks are winning! The thing I have learned is that it’s a revolving door. Soon, those cars will need to be replaced and before we know it our oldest boys will be headed off to college.

 

It’s time to get rid of the debt and then save to pay for what’s coming in the future! Our goal is to pay it all of in the next few years (a exact date to come!)

 

I hope you’ll stay with us on the journey! Are you ready to quit the game?

 

Join me! (it’ll be fun!)

LET GO OF BEING COOL, I DARE YOU!

Photo Credit: MA Confrence for Women

Photo Credit: MA Confrence for Women

 

 

I’ll be honest, I don’t really remember the day. But, somewhere in the last 9 years I let go of the need to be “Cool”, the need to be defined by things, or other people. Looking back, it happened slowly. It was a sheding of sorts. Like peeling an onion. With each layer, I discovered who I was and what was important to ME.

Last year I attended a company conference and had the chance to listen to Brene Brown speak (check her out, I promie you won’t regret it.) It was there that I realized how I had been holding myself back. Fear of what people thought of me, my life, my decisions was holding me back. Fear of failing was stopping me. And, because of that I was just surviving life. Just getting through! I am sure that some of you can relate? Right?

The last year has been an interesting journey in our household. I have done a lot of soul searching since hearing Brene (and reading her books.) As a family we have made a lot of changes. We are trying to be more intentional with our time, money and words . Long story short, that’s how the idea for this blog was born.

We are tired of just surviving. Tired of moving from one day to the next, only to look back and think, What if we had done more with our time, money and family? Where would we be if we had been intentional?

Mr. Penny Pincher and I married young and had kids young. Four amazingly cute and precocious boys in a span of 5 and 1/2 years to be exact. That’s where survival mode kicked in. 3 kids in diapers at one time, is enough to test any persons sanity! 

Looking back, there are so many things I like to think I would have done differently, but at the end of the day, It’s what makes our story unique. Each joy, each hurdle, shapes us!

So, It’s time for me to Dare Greatly! I am ready for the arena and so, The Penny Pinching Project was born!

Basically, this blog (and ultimately, it’s readers, Yes, YOU… You are out there right?) will serve as our accountability partners. And, hopefully, vice versa. The Penny Pinching Project is our family’s quest to spend less, so that we can have MORE!. It’s our quest to be intentional with our money (and ultimately our time as well.)

Debt has become normal. Auto Loans, Credit Cards, Student Loans, Second Mortgages. It’s how most Americans finance the American Dream (the one that keeps slipping further and further out of middle Americas reach.) Keeping up with the Jones’ has really become a game of smoke and mirrors. Sure, some people are doing it the “right” way, but if we’re honest, most of us bought in to financing the “dream”.

Here at The Penny Pinching Project, we are striving to be WIERD & UnCool! To eliminate our debt (and not aquire anymore!) It’s going to require frugality, discipline and courage.

Will you join us? I dare you!