First Fruits

It’s my money and I’ll do what I want to

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Have you seen these ‘adulting’ stickers? How about these? Hilarious, right?! As a parent of a 4-year-old (who constantly wants to be in charge) I’m reminded of all the things I couldn’t wait to do as an adult. What I didn’t know is that adulting wouldn’t be all fun and easy like I thought.

Eight and a half years ago my husband and I picked up the Dave Ramsey plan and began trying something new with our finances. Sticking to this plan wound up being very difficult and for a while we abandoned it. You can read more about that struggle here. Even though money fights still happen, we have tweaked the plan to work for us and we paid off over $19,000 in debt on one income in one year. If you want this kind of success, let me help you get started with three easy steps!

Are you ready to own your money?

Make my money work for me!

1. Set a budget.

This is key! First of all, you know how much money you make each month, so go through and figure out how much you spend as well as how much you save each month to start your budgeting. Your bank may even give you a free breakdown of your monthly expenses or you can use Mint.com or Personal Capital to link up all of your accounts and get a full picture of your money. We still use Mint off and on to see where we spend our money. Check out my Pinterest board ‘Living Frugally’ to get other ideas about how to cut your budget down. One of the pins contains this free, printable weekly budget worksheet which we found to be very helpful.

Don’t want to do it from scratch? Sign up here to get your FREE easy-peasy budget spreadsheet with preset percentages that will help give you a guide for setting your budget. Just put in your paycheck amounts and viola! The amount you can spend in each category automatically populates!

Don’t like how it looks or need adjustments? Feel free to contact me. I’d be more than happy to help! I’ve been doing our budget for 8 years so I have mad skills in this area.

AND I have a great offer if you do not want to set it up for yourself…

I am offering to create your whole budget for a year for $5 per month (That’s $55 total since it’s almost February)! Contact me.

Having me do your budget will help get the process started. I can give you the jumpstart or boost you need to begin your budgeting journey.

Another nice thing about me creating your budget is that it will save you some time! This was one of the most difficult things for me and my husband when we started, so let me help ease that burden.

Having someone help you start your budget aids the process of accountability which I talk about later. I can be that person who can give you tips on how to make the budget work for you in addition to encouragement for achieving your goals.

Also, please note that I know this is a very personal matter. I will not be sharing any of your personal information with anyone.

2. Seriously start saving that $1000 emergency fund.

If you’re lucky, you may just walk outside and find $1000 on the ground. But if that’s not you, here are a few ways to start that savings process.

  • Put your Christmas or birthday money into a savings account. There are a few banks that will even give you money for opening a bank account with them.
  • Use cash for spending and deposit your change at the end of each month.
  • If you have a smart phone, learn how to use apps to make money. As I started putting numbers into our January 2017 budget I added up $60 of additional cash earned in the last three months. My biggest money makers are Ibotta (referral code eacwalx) and Swagbucks. To learn how to make a $25 gift card each month, read this post.
  • Pick up extra hours at work if you can.
  • Find a side hustle that works for you like making and selling something or even blogging!
  • Sell something. We went through our house and then had a yard sale where we made $100 in 4 hours!

If you find that you like the security of the $1000 and want to expand on that, try using this helpful post to get one month ahead of your expenses. This is like having a one month buffer in addition to the $1000 emergency fund.

3. Find accountability

The biggest thing we have learned through our budgeting journey is that everyone struggles with money. But we don’t talk about it. We see and assume that everyone else is doing so much better than we are and it makes the struggle greater. We give up easily without accountability. We need coaching and encouragement to stick to our plans. So if you struggle with money, you need to find a friend or maybe a financial counselor to meet with on a regular basis. Sometimes your employer may offer free services to help you get started budgeting or planning for retirement. For inspiration in budgeting and paying off debt (which is one of our big focuses), I listen to the Podcast His and Her Money. They offer many stories regarding financial matters and have a YouTube channel as well as a website. I also really like Making Sense of Cents and Living Well Spending Less.

Should your spouse be your accountability? This is difficult. Even though my husband and I have tried to be accountable to a system and each other, it’s really hard if you’re not jointly involved in your budget. For a long time I was overly involved and he felt overwhelmed and didn’t want to be as involved as I was so we struggled and fought. Then we started meeting with another couple from our church and going through our budget. This couple has completed the Financial Peace University so they have the ability to offer wisdom and guidance for others struggling with budgets. Through this, my husband has now started being more involved and has actively taken a number of steps to help save us money! If one of you is more heavily involved in the budget, definitely seek out an additional party to meet with to get on the same page. Your marriage will thank you!

These three tips will help you get started on your journey to have a more solid financial foundation.

This year my money does what I want!

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