Thriving Thursday

Thriving Thursday Saving Money

 

Welcome to the inaugural Thriving Thursday! This idea came about when I started thinking about resolutions for 2019 and how I wanted to talk about some things that have worked for me in the past, mistakes I’ve learned from, and maybe offer some help/direction for anyone else looking to make positive changes this year! Each Thursday in January, I will be discussing some of my resolutions as well as tips and tricks to help you (if you’ve made similar ones) and also check in throughout the year to keep up with progress!

Among the goals I have set for myself for the next twelve months was to consistently save money and cut down needless spending. Last year, I gave it a try and I feel like I did A LOT better than in years past, but there’s always room for improvement.

In December 2017, I found a year-long savings plan that would help me save money throughout the year without making the BIG deposits during the most expensive months of the year (November and December).

I actually did pretty well with this! That is, until the summer.

I decided not to work during the summer months at the Mother’s Day Out program where I teach during the school year because I wanted to be able to have the freedom to go and do things with my kiddos/visit with family as much as possible. It was a fun summer, but I felt the pinch of my purse strings quite a bit.

This year, however, I’m determined to complete this challenge!

Here is my savings plan:

Thriving Thursday Savings Chart

I know it doesn’t seem like much, considering what most households are able to save with two, full-time incomes, however for a stay-at-home-mom like myself, this is will come in very handy!

Do you have a money saving plan? What are some resources you use? Share in the comments below!

Try It Tuesday

Try It Money

As you all know, I’m all about saving money. Huff the Hubs and I went through Financial Peace University, so we utilize “the envelope system”. This means we pay for everything in cash and separate our budget into literal envelopes. Last month, I decided to do a little challenge. I told myself that every time a $1 bill came into my possession, I would stick in a shoe box in my pajama drawer. The rules were I was not allowed to spend the money until April was finished. I also tried to not count the cash–even though the box filled up quick!

After 30 days of doing this I ended up saving–drum roll, please–$84!

money

That’s right, people! By simply not spending my ones, I saved almost $100 in a month! If I were to continue this, I could save a little bit more than a thousand dollars in a year! That’s a plane ticket to London, mate!

At first, I thought this challenge would be difficult. After all, that’s money I could put toward stuff we actually need, like groceries or gas. But, honestly, I didn’t really miss it from my wallet. It made me more conscious of what I was spending my money on and taught me to do without.

I think this would be a GREAT way to save money for a trip you have coming up, a birthday, or Christmas! I think I’m going to keep the momentum going and do the challenge through May!

Who’s with me?

 

Have you done the “$1 Bill Challenge” before? What were your results?

 

 

 

Make it Rain!

Good news, Okies! According to Apartment Guide, Oklahoma Cityand Tulsa are two of the top 10 budget-friendly cities in America! Woot, woot! This bodes well for my Okla-homies that have made resolutions to save more money/be more budget-minded.

money gif

But just how do you become more budget-friendly?

Let me tell you what works for me. Personally, I really like the teachings from Dave Ramsey.

I took Financial Peace University twice: once when I was single and then after Huff the Hubs and I got married. (I think EVERY engaged couple should take this class together. It really helps you to get in the mindset of “I need to make sure I communicate with my partner about finances!”).

Shortly after we got married, we followed Dave’s debt snowball plan. We got our $20K student loan debt paid off in a year and a half! (Actually, it may have just been 13 months…)

Now, we rely heavily on the envelope system and pay in cash for everything (except the stuff I buy from ThinkGeek). Every time I get paid, I separate out my funds to the different things I need to put money toward:

Tithe

Gas Money

Phone Bill

Car Insurance

Groceries

Water Bill

Investments (Roth IRA)

Restaurant Fund

Slush Fund

Savings

 

The good thing about this is, I can see exactly where my money is going. Plus, I can show it to Huff the Hubs so we can have an open and honest communication about our finances. That is KEY.

Plus, every time we get paid, we both put money in our “Restaurant Fund Folder” so we can go out to eat and we’re both contributing. And, if we run out, we run out and we eat at home. We also take money out to “pay ourselves back” (i.e., our Slush Fund) and we can use that money on anything we want without any judgment from each other. (When I was preggers, my Slush Fund was a literal slush fund. Seriously, I probably stopped at 7-11 everyday for a slushie.)

This system works really, really well for us. Neither one of us like using debit cards (we’ve both gotten into trouble with those in the past) and when I pay in cash, I’m more aware of what I’m spending my money on and I’m more likely to say “Eh, I don’t really need this,” so I can save my money.

You’ve just got to find what works best for you. Some people spend more money when they have cash and like debit cards because they can check their stuff online. You just have to tinker around a bit and see how you and your household will work best. It will take a little trial and error, but I guarantee you, you can do it!

God Is Bigger than the Boogey-Man

As some of you may have heard, there are some budget-related arguments going on in Washington. If Congress cannot come to some sort of an agreement on budget cuts and spending, thousands of people across the U.S. that work in government and government-related jobs may have to take a furlough or just lose their job entirely. (For full report on the impact, there’s an article here.)

Huff the Hubs works on a military installation and may have to be one of those people that take a furlough. Granted, it won’t be forever and it won’t impact our day-to-day finances that much. However, it’s still an unknown and unknowns tend to make me want to curl up in the fetal position while someone gingerly strokes my hair singing “Soft Kitty”.

It’s not just the financial aspect, either. With these cuts also brings fewer air traffic controllers and fewer security personnel at airports. (For those of you who don’t know, I’m terrified of air travel. Even though I’ve been overseas twice and flown all around this nation, it still terrifies me. Probably because the first time I ever flew was two months after the attacks on September 11, 2001.)

And Huff the Hubs and I just put a down payment on a “babymoon” to London*. In two months. When the sequester starts.

This also means that our hopes of saving a down payment for a house, saving for a new “family” car (I drive a tiny pickup), and getting to Baby Step 3 will all be pushed back quite a ways.

Needless to say, I’ve had some anxiety.

I’ve been worrying and fretting (and pregnancy hormones aren’t really helping) about everything from “What if we can’t afford a crib?”  to “What if we crash in the Bermuda Triangle?”

I talked to my sister yesterday and when I told her this, she said, “Why are you letting Satan steal your joy?”

After massaging the toes she just stepped on, I realized she was right. This baby is a blessing and our trip is also a blessing. Both things, Huff the Hubs and I believe, are from Him*. And He’s not going to give us something that’s bad for us.

Then, I thought back to the words I had spoken to Huff the Hubs just a few months ago:

“God’s not going to bless us with a baby without a way to take care of it.”

 

Yes, it’s true we live in an uncertain world in uncertain times. But there is one thing I’m certain of: God is bigger than my fears, my anxieties, and my doubts.

*Before Huff the Hubs and I knew I was pregnant, we decided we needed to take a big trip this year. We knew we’d probably have a baby, and we wanted to go before the responsibility hit us like a ton of bricks. We prayed about it, saved for it, and truly felt like this was a God thing. We got our passports before I found out I was pregnant (a move we both believe was God’s way of saying: “You need this trip!”) and we booked before the sequester. We’re savers and we’re still able to afford the trip. Some people may say we should use the trip money for other things, but 1. its already been earmarked in our financial plan and 2. this trip will be something we will cherish since it will be our last as just a married couple. Soon, we’ll be parents and it’ll be harder to do these things. So we could cancel and not get our deposit back. Or, we could go and enjoy each other’s uninterrupted company. I chose uninterrupted company.