Now let me give you some more background. My parents split when I was 6 or so. (not that big of a deal by any means so I am not looking for aww’s & the occasional bless your hearts) When it came time to apply for colleges I asked with all the excitement and visions of college grandeur swimming in my head, “where can I go?”
The ever awkward pause and then the dreaded words of, “ You can go where ever you want dear, YOU ARE PAYING FOR IT.”
WWAAIITT just a flippin second here? I will be paying for this? DANG IT. After the initial shock, and complete and total jealousy of everyone of my friends who was blessed with the blank check I start realizing the magnitude of the situation (no not this situation)
I totally should have paid more attention in class I should have tried for scholarships, I should have saved the money I blew on Abercrombie and Fitch logo tees that at the time seemed like an absolute life or death matter.
So I figure I will stay around here, live at home and save some $$. Well God had a different plan and after the first semester of Kelly coming to see me every other weekend I had enough. So I packed up my trusty Ford Probe-that I paid for I might add- and headed to Searcy, Arkansas to attend Harding University. More infomation here.
Now although this school has given me a crapton of debt.. It was 100% worth going there and I would not take it back.
I also won’t lie, that when I pay that student loan bill every month I have to remind myself of the times like these to make letting go of that $$ easier!
I have always been very conscious of money & I never got a credit card or went on elaborate spending sprees. I knew in the back of my mind I was about 3 years behind everyone financially and was going to have to make up some ground. Then to make matters worse I got a part time job and started working at the Limited and got a big discount on, The Limited, Express, Victoria’s Secret, & Bath and Body works! So any extra money didn’t go to loans it went to the necessities!
This is the amount we had to start paying on when we got married, not the beginning amount of all the debt.
Harding University 40k
Chevy Malibu 9k
Volkswagen Jetta 9k
Kelly’s college credit card 3k
Total debt 61k
That is a lot of flipping money to owe when you get married! Which is why we were blessed with jeff and amy giving us this book
You can learn more about Dave Ramsey & the total money make over here.
We started out by making a budget.. I know that people think that this is a bad word, but I swear to you, Kelly & I in our 4 years of marriage have NEVER had a fight about $$.
Don’t get me wrong when the first of the month comes along and we have a lot going on and I am working my creative financial magic I get a little snippy and Kelly knows to not ask me to “budget that in” during this time & to walk away if he hears my loud sigh.
We started off with everything that we had to pay:
Rent, (at the time, now it is our house) car, electric, student loans, food, gas, ect..
Then the simplest thing is to add that all up and see what you have left over. Well we realized that after we added all that up we had an ok amount left over and started paying that extra amount to the credit card. Once we got on that we started looking for other ways to save. We cut our grocery bill down by a ton just but buying in bulk at Sam’s and be eating simpler meals :Breakfast-oatmeal, lunch-sandwich and veggies, dinner-chicken and veggies. This I feel also contributed to kelly’s big weight loss.
Then it became like a game. Where could we save more? We even took it to the extreme and cut off out cable for a year.
Well after about 2 years of marriage we had paid off:
2,500 student loan
9,000 car note
3,000 credit card
9,000 car note
23,500 in 2 years ain't bad!!
Currently, we have bought 2 new cars that we paid in cash for, put a down payment on a house, and have 30k left on my loans. Which to me is a pretty big stride in just 4 years of marriage.
It is a struggle all the time. It was (still is)hard when I first started at work because I brought my lunch everyday and when people wanted to go out to lunch on a random Wednesday I would have to decline since it wasn’t in the budget. Now, most people know and some actually get it, but most of the time when I tell them no thanks, I get a scoff & a, “what cort??? Not in the budget..HEHEHH.”
So, yes it still pains me to walk past the window of Banana Republic & even more when I look at the emails that I get from Masons, (get behind me satan) but when I think about how much closer we are to the goal it makes it much eaiser to keep on walkin...
But if i had a moment of weakness this is what I would buy right now.
**words of advice**
If you are trying to budget.. Determine you needs vs your wants
Do you really NEED new shoes or do you just love the new strappy sandals at Banana Republic?
If you really need them then budget them in.. for example:
If they are $60 and you are putting 300 bucks on your "Student Loan" then maybe put 275 in one month, put the excess towards your shoes? This is how we do it..
Also, Groceries..GO WITH A LIST. do not deviate from this list. Think of it as a way of life. Stay away from the temptations. If you pre-plan you meals then you won't need to stray from you list. Usually when you start straying from the list it will add an addition 25 bucks to the total..
3 pay period months:
Once you get on a budget of a 2 check per month.. the times when you have a month that give you 3 checks it is like a little bonus! We use this check to pay for our summer vaction & the other check knocks out christmas shopping..
Hope you all learned something..PLEASE let me know if you have any questions!!