I’m cheap frugal. That’s always been my way. I’ve never owned a brand new car. Both of my girls’ cribs were hand-me-downs from our friends. I bought a rolling pin (my first, last weekend) that cost me $2.11 after patiently waiting and getting a $10 off coupon for any purchase at a store. Now that I’m a mom, I’m even more terrible about buying myself new things.
However, in September, I told the world (okay, those of you reading) that we were starting a budget using the Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey as our guide. We started the budgeting process then, and October was the first month on the budget.
It’s been tough. Not tough like poverty level tough, but tough like life changing tough. When there isn’t any cash left in the dining out envelope, we can’t go out. When there isn’t any cash left in the grocery envelope, we eat what we have. When your kid throws a toothbrush in your toilet and you have buy a new one? You figure out which envelopes to take the money from and you make it through the month.
Guess what? It works.
It is definitely something you must commit to wholeheartedly, faithfully, and together.
We have now completed SEVEN months of the budget. It’s amazing how much money we’ve found by not spending on frivolous things (like trips to Target) or unnecessary meals out. We’ve gone from spending all of our monthly income to saving a huge amount at the end of the month. And, that’s with me getting furlough days and a pay cut!
I updated the major successes in mid-October. The following months were just working towards our debt snowball and paying it down.
In the middle of March, just 16 months after purchasing our minivan, we paid it off! We don’t have a car payment at all (I hope I’m not jinxing us). I was hoping the computer threw some confetti at me or something. Sadly, it was quite anti-climatic sending the payment off. I think I can settle on knowing that my girls are riding with me safely in a paid-off vehicle.
We now only have our student loans and our house! It’s quite refreshing that we’ve made such progress in less than a year. At the same time, we look back and think of how much money we wasted and where we would be now if we hadn’t. We are glad we are doing this now, and we are looking forward to what is in store for us while we continue to use our money wisely and make good choices.
Do you have a budget? Are you on a cash only system? Is it working for you?