I mentioned earlier this week that Joel got an AGR job at our local base. Not only is this a great pat-on-the back for him, but it's a huge boost for our family's financial stability. During the last 8 years, we have probably gone through nearly $20,000 of our savings during periods of unemployment. We are thankful that we had that money to rely on, but going through that much hasn't allowed us to move forward.
As of September 1st, Joel and I started on our journey toward financial freedom. Our goal is in the next 18 months, to be debt free. And by debt free, we mean paying off all debt besides our mortgage. We now know how much is coming in each month and we can finally count on that income. Now we need to make that money work for us and begin to make forward progress.
So, as of the first of this month, we are living like we are broke. Or close to it.
Here are some of the changes we have made:
Allowances - Joel and I each get $100 at the beginning of the month to do as we like with. So, if there's a big-ticket item we want (*ahem* a new Micahel Kors purse), we will have to save up for it.
Walking around with cash - I am taking out $400 in cash per month for groceries & $100 in cash per month for walking around money (ie fast food, trips to Target, Starbucks, etc.) Once the cash is gone, it's gone.
No Cards allowed without permission - First of all, credit cards are off-limits. No exception. The only card we are allowed to use is our Debit, which comes directly out of our checking account. The Debit can be used for things like filling the cars with gas or picking up a prescription. Any other purchases on the Debit card has to be cleared with the other spouse.
Total honesty - Have you ever heard of financial infidelity? Well, it's a huge problem, and I have to admit to being unfaithful financially. But there's something to be said about letting your spouse know all of you, even your mistakes. Joel and I have sat down and shown each other all of our "numbers". Everything is out in the open.... and it feels unbelievable! What a relief.
Loving communication - Discussing money with your spouse can be hard. It's been hard for us. But we've made a rule that we can discuss it with "safety". It's a topic that has to be talked about, and you have to be able to discuss it knowing that you can be honest and that the other person is going to still love you at the end of it. It hasn't been fun to discuss it, and it can get heated. But we continue to remind each other that we're working toward the same goal. And in the end, it'll be worth it.
It feels good to get this out there. I can't wait to share our progress with you all. I'm sure we will make mistakes along the way, and I'll share those, too.