About a year and a half ago we decided to challenge ourselves with Debt-Free Disney. We slashed our spending and quickly built up our savings. I even started blogging as a way to keep me motivated and accountable.
I’ve had debt as long as I can remember.
It wasn’t something I was ashamed of, or particularly worried about. Debt is the American way after all.
But last Spring I noticed it was down to around $3,000 and I finally felt that little spark of excitement at the prospect of being debt free.
Then August came.
One of the toughest parts of getting out of debt is finding extra ways to save when you’ve already cut your spending to the bare minimum. It may seem like there’s no other option apart from exploring ways to earn more money, but there is something you can do. You can save when you spend.
Our lives are dictated largely by habit and here-say.
We tend to make our decisions based either on our previous ones or based on the advice and anecdotes of others.
Despite the fact that we largely ignore financial education in the US, we’ve still been subject to the odd rule of thumb when it comes to handling money or making financial decisions.
We get paid bi-weekly, which can make monthly budgeting a challenge. I firmly believe in the YNAB way of only budgeting the money you have available (not what you expect to receive), but as much as I love all things YNAB, the monthly layout isn’t exactly helpful for seeing where you are at a glance, especially when you’re in the paycheck to paycheck cycle. So I’m experimenting with my own creation this month.
I alluded to the idea of sinking funds in my post, Do You Really Need An Emergency Fund? but if you haven’t been budgeting for long, you may be wondering...
What Exactly Is a Sinking Fund?
I tend to be a logical and analytical person so I’ve always found it difficult to make paying off low-interest debt a priority when the math tells me that the smarter play is to invest it. In the FI community, this is a perfectly valid approach.
However, despite my grasp of the numbers, I have discovered I have a huge blind spot when it comes to my actual behavior. Regardless of what I know, what I’ve done is the exact reason I needed to start this blog. Counter to my expectations, I wasn’t saving more, I was spending more.
I just read this post on Rockstar Finance about The Five Most Important Numbers You Need to Know. In the spirit of transparency, and just for fun, I’m going to test myself to see what I know.
I’ve been feeling pretty discouraged lately. It seems every time I look at our finances, things are moving in the wrong direction. We’ve been hit with one thing after another - car repairs, medical expenses, vet bills, more car repairs - it feels like it will never end.
You Don't Know What You Don't Know. Until I started budgeting I never really knew what I was spending. Even after budgeting for years, I've never really analyzed the data looking for patterns. I assumed I knew roughly what was coming in and how much was going out. I was…