Post # 1
I’m getting married in just 11 (!!!) days and while I am SO excited to marry the love of my life, I am also really excited to have life go slightly back to normal. Mostly in the financial department.
During planning, I definitely over-spent on things I probably didn’t NEED to do (facials to prep for the big day, manicures every 3 weeks to prevent myself from biting my nails) and I’ve racked up a chunk of CC debt on top of my student loans and car payments.
I’m planning to follow advice from a blog I found by going on a complete spending freeze – paying for only necessities. I’m terrified it’s going to completely suck (it probably will) but I know I’ll be better for it in the long run. So beginning Feb. 1, 2014 – Feb 1. 2015 I plan to only spend money on necessities (food, mortgage, student loans, car payment, gas) and cut back on the luxuries (fancy coffee, out to lunch, mani/pedis, shopping, pricey grocery store specialty foods, etc.).
Has anyone had success doing anything like this or is there anyone looking to pay off some debt and want to join in to keep me accountable?
Post # 3
Well, personnally it’s already my way of living since I am a student. I have a very detailed budget for everything, but you need to be realistic here – what if you need a new pair of winter boots, or get an invitation to eat out with a friend once in a while ? The key is not to be extreme in everything, but to control your expenses better and keep some savings for the occasional splurges that make life fun. I couldn’t be happy never eating out, and never buying a new shirt just because it’s cute, every once in a while. But I choose my spending (sales, discounts, promotions, etc.). I almost never buy full-price. Even on groceries, I make my list and menus weekly according to what’s in the circulars and I plan ahead. I save ahead. I don’t put stuff on my credit cards if I don’t have the money for it already. Sure it’s tough sometimes, but it’s a choice I’ve made that will allow me to pay off my student loans faster, and in the long run it’ll probably be a good thing, because once I’m debt-free (not counting the mortgage we’ll have one day), every extra dollar will become savings and it will add up a lot faster !
When I feel discouraged, I think about 2 sentences that encourage me. First is my ex-MIL who once told me : ”without debts, you’re richer than most people”, and also : ”why pay more when you can have it for less ?”. Those are the two things I keep in mind when it comes to finances, paying off debts and be ”cheap” on purpose (not wanting to pay X amount for something that will probably be in sale 2 weeks from now).
Post # 4
@sparklerunner: Hey. Well done in making the decision to start budgeting in the future. Myself and my SO are on a budget saving for a mega holiday and fingers crossed an e-ring. I combined our finances and created a spreadsheet to show our fixed out goings (car, rent, bills etc) have put in forecasted bills that i know are coming up and i can easily see what is left. We have a fixed food budget and essentially both have a weekly allowance and the rest gets saved. I would suggest figuring out what extra leftover money you will have and as soon as you can pay a chunk off your credit card for example.
I find paying it back as soon as i have income is easier than kidding myself that i will do it at the end of the month, money will just get spent on extra crap that way. Good luck!
Post # 5
@sparklerunner: This isn’t really extreme to us. For the most part, we live that way. First things that are paid every month are 1) Our retirement savings, 2) our mortgage, 3) our general savings, and 4) our student loans. Then, we pay utilities/necessities. We’ve got a certain amount set aside each month that covers groceries, gas, etc. If we have a lean month in necessities, then sometimes we have a little more to splurge on.
Been doing this for a few years now, and though we’ve had good years and bad, its something we’re committed to. All in all, its helped us save for retirement (we have almost $50k each and we’re both under 30), pay off our car, and still have enough to live comfortably.
Post # 6
- Wedding: October 2014 - Greenbrier Country Club
That’s pretty much how I’m payying for my wedding. Ha!
Post # 7
@sparklerunner: We extreme budget now my only word of advice is to allow like 50 – 100 dollars in your budget for extras. Right now I allow 50 a month for something that is not a neccesity. I also allow one day a month where I can eat out (we have a cafeteria in our work and I love their food so I made sure I can still have it once a month). Another peice of advice, shop at Aldi. Aldi is an amazing store I have cut our grocery bill from 120 every 2 weeks to 70 every 2 weeks for 2 adults and a small child.We cut red meat out of our diet and have cut our gas to the absolute bare minimum. (35 a week for our mini vans so we can get to and from work)
Post # 8
@sparklerunner: I do a complete freeze for 2 weeks everytime I go over my monthly budget. It’s not THAT hard to do (for me).
The hardest part is eating out. A friend calls and wants to get lunch…so you either decline, invite her over and make something, or suggest a non-spending event. I went with a friend to pick out her glasses once. She wanted to hang out, I didn’t want to spend money, and it worked. You just gotta be creative and NOT make excuses.
Anything you feel like you need more clothes, go clean out your closet and dresser. You will find all kinds of clothes you forgot about and realize you don’t really NEED anything else.
Post # 9
@sparklerunner: I am in. I am glad you started an “holding you accountable” thread b/c I was thinking of doing the same.
I’ve had small successes in extreme budgeting/spending freezes in the past, but unfortunately I fell off the wagon this past year. My goal is to be CC debt free by my 31st birthday this April. To do that I have made a rule to stop buying crap that I don’t need. I still will have a private and federal student loans, but without CC debt in my life, I can make huge payments on said loans.
Post # 10
@sparklerunner: Doing it for a whole year is really ambitious…and it will be discouraging when 2 weeks in life is much harder and very different from what you’re used to, and you realize you have 50 more weeks like this in front of you. Why not try it for a month first, then maybe 3 months, then if everything’s going well extend it to half a year, etc? Or adjust slowly, like people who successfully lose weight – cut out coffee first for a week or two, then luxury groceries, then commit to only going out to lunch on Fridays, etc.
I’ve been super frugal to save for huge important things and…it was TERRIBLY difficult but worth it. It helped a lot to have an end date, and to keep my eye on the prize (which was a 6 month stay in Spain, which was my dream). Good luck!
@NauticalDisaster: I like your MIL’s quote. I’m going to remind myself this every time I make a big payment on my student loan! 🙂
Post # 11
@sparklerunner: I lived VERY cheaply when I was a grad student AND I owned a house. No way would I use borrowed money (loans) to pay other borrowed money (mortage) so I had to utilize my money wisely.
I would start by perhaps telling all of your friends, maybe in an email, of your plans. When your plan is a secret it’s easier to let yourself slide! When they want to go to lunchwith you, suggest bringing your lunches to a park and eat outside, or go for a walk with you after work – aka FREE stuff. Or borrow a movie from the library and make homemade popcorn for an evening in.
Look at things you can sell in your closet and home.
Keep a spending spreadsheet. I have one that has categories for housing, food, misc, health, car, savings, etc. Every sent must be recorded. Then when you have a tally for the month, see if you can lower your food budget for the next month – make it a challenge.
Post # 12
@NauticalDisaster: I love the advice from your MIL! I’m going to make that my mantra from now on!
Post # 13
Congratulations! I think it’s great that you’re ready to get serious about your finances! Definitely work towards paying off those credit cards and then getting a good start on emergency savings and retirement. But I would build in a little bit of money for fun stuff. A whole year is a long time to never go out to eat! And if you don’t plan for it, then you’re more likely to let it get out of control. So set aside some money each month for “fun stuff” and stick to that.
Post # 14
@Waitingbee57: I definitely think that’s good advice to leave a small budget for fun items. I’ll take that into account. We don’t have an Aldi where I live, I’ve actually never heard of it!
Post # 15
@thenewmrsmax: Eating out is definitely the killer for me. Especially when I’m at work and all my coworkers are going out – I never want to seem liek I’m not part of the team. I’m just going to have to get creative!
Post # 16
@sienna76: +1 I love all of those ideas.