I began tracking every penny that went in and every penny that came out. And although I didn’t feel like I could control my finances yet—because I was making so very little money that I didn’t have many choices about what to do with it—it gave me the sense of possibility someday. You know, if I kept this up and figured out how to earn a little more than what I was making as a telemarketer. Someday this would pay off and I would be in control of my money.
The reason our last budget didn’t work is because it was too much work to track & manage. The problem was that we didn’t have a system in place that would work for us.
So I recently set out to come up with a system that would fit our needs.
Because at the end of the day, the most effective budget is the one that you’ll stick to.
We love Disney movies. We’ve been to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida several times. We play Disney themed board games at our house on family fun nights. I’m typing this article while wearing pink Mickey Mouse pajama pants.
Big. Disney. Nerds.
So, when my son and daughter asked about taking a trip to Walt Disney World, inspiration struck. I knew this could be a great opportunity to teach my kids a hands-on lesson about budgeting and saving money to reach a bigger goal.
Allison Baggerly and her husband partnered together to pay off $111,000 of debt in 4 ½ years. They completed this difficult feat on two teacher’s salaries with two little kids at home.
I swear there is a something in your DNA that determines whether you’re frugal or spendy. I definitely have the spendy gene. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing though. As they say, the first step is acceptance. Understanding yourself as a spender will let you build up an arsenal of tools to counteract that. And budgeting is a big part of that.
If you’re ruling your own kingdom and try to apply another king’s methods to your kingdom, it’s not going to work because your kingdom is different. Your kingdom is your finances.
The first thing we had to do, once I added up all the debt, once I had my UGH-Sick-and-Tired Moment, we had to get real with our spending. So, I needed to see where exactly all this money had gone. We don’t live in the lap of luxury. Yeah, we have a flat screen television. The couch behind me? Bought that secondhand. Fancy car in the driveway? Nah, at the time we were driving an ’07 Honda Odyssey minivan. We really didn’t have anything to show for the almost-$60,000 in debt that we in fact had.
For many people, the end of the year is a time to reflect back on the last twelve months and make resolutions for the …
We didn’t see the signs of the coming crisis. No one did. We were just a young family, busy living our lives.
Those were the kind of decisions that I then started to make as I realized that this debt is gonna be gone: what now, where do I go with my life after debt, what does that look like for me? And for me, it was really figuring out what success looks like for me, what things that I value, and why am I doing all of this? Now that the debt is paid off, what now?
A lay off, contract gap or sabbatical all have you paying expenses with no income coming in. I’ve been faced with all of these situations and the main difference, assuming you have emergency funds set aside, is more psychological and what you do next.
Urban Ministries of Durham serves over 6,000 people every year. But you’d never need help, right? Prove it.
Having cash helps us sleep at night. It allowed us to survive my husband’s job loss, sick pets, and car troubles. Saving money doesn’t come naturally to us, but memories of having $100 dollars in the bank with a mountain of debt kept us motivated.
I don’t feel good unless I’m growing and being challenged and learning new things.
I was set on learning everything so I could beat these banks at their own game.