Thursday, July 27, 2017

July Wrap-Up

Walker "helping" me sort items to list on my eBay page :) 

We are wrapping up the final week of our first month back on our debt payoff plan. With minimum payments included we paid off a total of $640-ish in debt this month, bringing us to a grand total of $17,354.19. It's less than I originally calculated that we would be able to do for this month, but I am not disappointed by any means. Progress is progress.

I think that's one of the things I can take away from this month, that everyone's story is their own, and we all have different things that come up, both good and bad, that will affect our debt free journey positively and negatively. We had a couple of unplanned for expenses that were unavoidable this month, and that's just part of the ride. The important thing is that for the past 27 days we have made conscious decisions regarding our spending and told our money where to go instead of the other way around. It feels really good, and I am just as excited to start August.

I think it's important to emphasize that there is no right or wrong way to get out of debt. There are of course really helpful guidelines, like the Financial Peace "Baby Steps" from Dave Ramsey, but what truly matters is your mindset and the finish line. For example, the first time we paid off debt we sold at least 60% of our belongings including some big items, like Tom's motorcycle and 75% of my wardrobe, to get a jump start. The last year or so we have really tried to embrace the idea of minimalism and living with less, so that being said there was a lot less crap laying around my house to sell this time. Hence the side hustle haha - I now buy other people's crap to sell LOL. Again, the first time we paid off debt it was just me and Tom, and we were both working and out of the house more often than in it, so we were able to take our food costs down to a bare minimum. This time around with Walker we have realized that it's really important to have legitimate sit-down family dinners together (i.e. cereal is not a legitimate sit-down family dinner to me), and that's not something we're willing to give up, so we've had to revisit that item in our budget and make sure there is enough allocated for those groceries.

For people to be successful in this idea of financial freedom, I think it's paramount to make it your own thing. Find what works for you and ditch what doesn't. That being said, if your "thing" is binge shopping on Amazon, you need to find a new thing, but be okay with your timeline and your ideas and your budget being different than everyone else. Give yourself a couple weeks to make a plan, find your groove and then HUSTLE and get it done.

On a different subject, we are so excited to welcome baby West into the world in just a few short weeks! We have done everything we know to do to prepare for having two children, but I'm pretty sure in the end we are going to be just as tired and overwhelmed as we were in our first few weeks with Walker. At this point my body is so done being 9.5 months pregnant in this heat, so bring on the chaos! I am ready!

Thanks for reading, and as always, please feel free to share in the comments or message me with any ideas you have on debt-free living, debt payoff, etc. I'd love to hear!!


P.S. You can  follow me on Instagram or Bloglovin' for updates!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Rave Damsey Week 3

Just a few of my finds from the Goodwill this week!! 

Happy Monday!! Just wanted to post a quick update this week on our debt free journey! We are just over two weeks in, and this month so far we've paid an extra $230 on my credit card! Which is pretty substantial considering that the last three months we've baaaaaarely made it or had to borrow from savings to get through the month of just our day-to-day expenses. Right now I'm not really to the challenging stage yet - it actually feels really good to say no to extra purchases knowing that I'll be able to take that money off of our debt balance. I'm still in the "honeymoon" phase. Tom seems to be holding up well despite the fact that we have had nothing but plain popcorn to snack on for the last two weeks haha! It's amazing how much money you can cut out of a grocery budget by eating simply though.

Right now it kind of feels like we will NEVER get through $18k of debt, but I am just focusing on sticking to the plan and reminding myself that every dollar counts. I felt this way at the beginning of $45k in debt too, so we will ignore those feelings and set our minds on hitting our mini-goals.

It's not a surprise to anyone who knows me that shopping secondhand is one of my favorite ways to save money. It's like a treasure hunt! I have been frequenting Goodwill lately, and I never cease to be amazed what I can find in there. This week I bought an unopened jumbo size box of Up&Up diapers for $15, normally $29! It's something that will randomly save us money as West grows, so I can look forward to an extra $30 payment on our car in like six months when I don't have to buy that pack of diapers at Target haha! Thrifting is a great energy outlet for me, and I love being able to save our future family money. I've also been finding tons of stuff I can flip on Ebay for a little profit, so that has been a really fun side hustle the last few weeks. So, thanks, Goodwill!

Side note - I have talked to SO MANY people in my life that are skeptical of or grossed out by resale shops and/or buying used things - I have no idea why haha, I can't even imagine our family's possessions or wardrobes without resale. Maybe I shouldn't be giving away all of my secrets, but I have found COUNTLESS clothing items new with tags or clean, perfect condition, and then even the most random things like unopened diapers and Bath and Body soaps for pennies on the dollar of retail cost. All it takes is a little digging! Give it a chance, I promise you will become addicted. It's so much fun! Just don't steal all the good stuff because, you know, I'm still here...

Thanks for reading! If you have any great budget hacks or any kind of debt payoff ideas/strategies, I would love to hear from you!!



Monday, July 3, 2017

So It Begins

July has officially started which means our +/- 18 months of Dave Ramsey baby steps is underway!! One of the areas I plan to hit really hard right off the bat is our food budget. It's something I have a lot more control over than other spending areas that tend to be a bit more unknown (for example I can't really plan for the weather to be in the 70's and reduce our air conditioning bill). I found several yummy looking recipes on Pinterest that use either cheap ingredients or a small amount of ingredients and are still fairly healthy, so I thought I'd share!

There are pages and pages of frugal cooking pins, so make sure to use that as a resource if you're looking for more ideas! 

Summer seems to also be the time of year for us that there are a lot of neighborhood get together's and church events where each family brings a dish to share. I have always tried to put a lot of effort into these appetizers, and the cost can really add up if I'm making unique dishes with a lot of ingredients. Over the past couple months I have found that people enjoy a good fruit salad just as much as any other dish I've made, so that is my new go-to. Aldi carries a mixed frozen fruit bag for a couple of dollars that is delicious! Two bags is more than enough for a large group. I get them out the morning of the event so they can thaw and throw them in a pretty dish - voila! This kills two birds with one stone as I am going to need a quicker, easier option with two kiddos as well as something that is budget friendly. Feel free to use this idea as long as you and I aren't going to the same party. :P Jk jk. :) You can never have too much fruit salad. 

Our garden is finally producing some fruit...and by that I mean I was able to pick exactly one squash, one pepper, and three cherry tomatoes, so we are ringing in somewhere around $9 per vegetable so far haha! Not sure this was the most lucrative investment, but it's been fun anyways, and the veggies we've had so far from it have been delicious. I think next year will be much better when I know a little more about what I'm doing. The plants are growing a lot, so I'm hoping we are able to start getting some more fruit out of these little guys! 

If you follow me on Instagram you saw that I was able to stand strong against some pretty intense temptation in the Cat & Jack aisle at Target today. Right now I am counting every win to try to gain some momentum and motivation, so that one is FOR SURE going in the books. 

Thanks for reading!! Make sure to follow me on Instagram and Bloglovin' for updates on our journey to financial freedom!