Show Me The Money!
I'm pretty sure the definitions of goals and resolutions are the same. But I'm too lazy to look it up right now and I like the word "goal" better. Anywhoooo.... It's a sporadic goal of mine to constantly be on top of our family budget and to be the fiercest saver out there; however, with a double income and no kids that can be hard to do sometimes. Caleb and I like to travel and live it up and buy unnecessary toys too often. That's cool, right? Well...
I usually try to look at our budget situation twice a year, once at new years and again sometime around the middle of the year when I remember. I kept meaning to sit down with Caleb right at the beginning of January, but on our days off we kept finding more fun stuff to do instead. Who wants to look at how much money is going out anyways? Last week I finally got my shit together and decided I needed to really buckle down to get our finances in order. I popped into Barnes & Noble and got this fun looking budget workbook, Common Cents.
What I found inside was lots of awesome advice for those who are budget beginners, even those who have attempted to be financially savvy and didn't quite get it the first time (me). Another thing I love about this workbook is that it's not big or daunting. It doesn't take days or weeks to get through it all, in fact, I read the whole thing in a couple hours. It's broken down into six easy chapters and gives you everything you need to start getting your money in check.
One of the first things to do is a Financial Self-Assessment. This can be a little scary because it forces you to look at things like your credit score, how much money you actually have in savings, and the scariest part....*ominous haunted house sounds* how much debt you owe. When I added up all of our credit card balances and the loan for our new roof, I just about died.
I was ready to join the witness protection program and just start a new life somewhere else.
But alas, it can never be that easy.
Here's where the 'Get out of debt' plan comes in. With my jobs annual profit sharing coming up and (hopefully) a federal tax refund coming, it makes the debt pill a little easier to swallow. And the nice thing about this workbook is that it gives you different ways to tackle the debt monster; you just choose which one works best for you. I'm also taking advantage of the monthly budget sheets that are included along with spaces to put your goals. My goals for February are to save money on food by packing lunch, use profit sharing to pay down credit card debt, and to cut down on bills by cutting out things we don't need (I'm looking at you 'Chiller' subscription).
Now that I have an updated snapshot of our expenses, I'm ready to tackle debt and eliminate frivolous shopping habits (yikes...). Stay tuned for how this workbook helps me throughout the year. Are you going to join me?
How do you guys stay on track every month? Do you have one income or two? Let me know what works for you in the comment section below!