Blessings are abundant for our little two person family, blog world. I've been working extra hours at my office and building quite a bit of job security. JD got moved up to FULL TIME! Yay! These are both incredible blessings for us at this time!
However, I often look at our money situation and think, "How did we survive when I was the only one with a pay check?" It really was not that long ago that JD was out of work still and I was the only one bringing home very little from my part-time paralegal gig. I thought and thought about this and realized something: We were much more careful. We knew we ONLY had $400-$500 for the month. We carefully planned out every cent. And we thrived and survived, with the help of not paying rent (my parents really are our saviors as we work up the ranks, earn money and save for a house. I don't think I'll ever be able to really express to them or you how awesome they are.) and having limited expenses.
As I was looking at our financials, our expenses haven't really changed. However, we have not been budgeting as we used to. We feel as though we don't have to be as tight as we once did, so we spend on frivolous "extras." Lately, we've been seriously looking at purchasing a home. We're needing to save up for school expenses so both JD and I can attend school this fall. We want to start saving for a baby. So, obviously, spending needed to cease...or at least be controlled.
One of my very favorite money savings blogs is And Then We Saved. Anna got out of $24,000 of debt in 15 months! She shares tips on saving money, doing things yourself, and most inspiring to me, The Spending Fast. If the Spending Fast seems a little too difficult for you (because I thought that when I read it), try the Spending Diet with me!
Read more about the details on Anna's blog. Essentially, at the beginning of the month we make a list. First, we begin estimating our income for the month. Then, we estimate our NEEDED expenses. Let me say that again...NEEDED expenses. Yes, there are huge differences between NEEDS and WANTS. Don't worry friends, it's difficult for me to grasp that most of the time too. Generally, once the needed expenses are done, we give ourselves $200 extra (Anna does $100, but we're starting with $200 to start). This money can be used for whatever we want during the month. Eating out, buying clothes, etc. Once it is gone, it's gone. Any money left over after the "needs" list and $200 extra "play" money is done, gets put straight into our Savings Account preparing for house, baby and college for JD.
This month we're starting the plunge and, I'll tell you (even where we basically have no debt right now) it feels liberating. We feel like we're taking total control of how and where we spend our money. So, join me in the Spending Diet! Do you have any favorite budgeting or spending tips? What things do you deem "needs" and "wants"? (i.e. I have yet to convince my husband dyeing my hair is necessity...baby steps I suppose). I guarantee you're going to like how it feels to take total control of your finances.