My Top 4 Tips for Paying off Debt post is one of my most popular posts to date. I wrote this over two years ago, so I wanted to update it and add in another tip. Trying to save money? Pay off debts? Allocate money to college? It can be overwhelming to start or know what to do. If that is you, these tips are for you. If I had to tell someone where to start if they wanted to have a great budget and/or use their money wisely, these would be the things I would tell them to start with.
We had $118,000 in debt when we first married. $110,000 was our mortgage loan. $8,000 was my car. We paid off that debt in 33 months (on 1 2/3 teacher salaries…we only had my income for 2/3 of that time). While most consider a mortgage “good debt”, it’s still debt, and any debt is not good. Interest is accruing and it can really keep you from thriving financially, or simply even living when you’re retired. If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you have some kind of debt, whether it’s student loans, car loans, credit card debt, a mortgage, etc. Or maybe it’s all of the above.
Whatever debt has accrued in your life, getting rid of it is important. Have you ever sat down and calculated how much money is wasted on debt? It’s sickening. What’s even worse is how much of that debt money could have gone to investments and EARNED more money. Regardless, if I had to sit down and tell you the top 5 things we did to pay off our $118,000 in debt, this would be it…
- Shop at Walmart (assuming you have one nearby) – They are just plain cheaper! I have been trying to find a more economical store for the last 4 years and this one still beats other stores in majority. I’ve done my research and on a daily basis, they have better prices. Plus they price match, so if another store has an item on sale or cheaper, Walmart will price match it. Now with that said, I do believe there are other stores that have better sale prices. Which leads me to my next point…
- Look at other stores’ sales – I used to manually go through the circular ads that came in the newspaper and circle all the sales and determine which store had the best price. I feel like this is a story I’m going to tell my grandchildren and they are going to say, “wow that is crazy…times have really changed.” Well, even in the last couple of years, technology has really made this much more convenient. I use the app called Favado. It’s the coolest app ever. You simply select all the stores in your area and you then can compare prices to see where best to shop (or price match at Walmart). You can even make a list of all the items on sale, so that if you do price match, you just pull it up to show clerk. Walmart does have the Savings Catcher app, but I’m not convinced it catches everything (I still use it though just in case). Below is a picture of what comes up when I search for red grapes. This tells me I want to get grapes at Sprouts since they’re only $0.88/lb.
You can also click on a store and see all the items on sale there too. When I clicked on Kroger, these are the sales that popped up (this is just a screen shot…there are more). This is particularly great if you only shop at 1-2 stores and you want to quickly see what’s on sale.
- Use Zaycon Fresh for meats – We have been getting chicken and ground beef (they have more meats) for a couple years now and it’s amazing. Not only is the meat healthier (farm fresh, grass fed, no hormones, etc), it’s cheaper too. Oh and did I mentioned it’s delivered straight to your trunk at pick up. You don’t even have to go in to a store to pick it up. Order online, pick up at location nearby! Time and money saved. You can read all the details here – how much it is and how I store it (you have to buy it in bulk). **UPDATE – This company has since shut down, so we no longer buy our meats here (we’re so sad about this), but we’ve gone back to shopping deals within our local grocery stores and bulking up when they’re on sale.
- Shop Costco or Sam’s carefully– I love these stores and yes, we do shop at Costco, but ONLY for their items on sale that week. And we still make sure it’s a better deal than elsewhere. Even if you have a big family this is often not the best place to go for everything. This may take some time and math skills to know what’s a good deal, but it’s worth it. It’s so hard to leave that store under $100. It’s those dang samples 🙂 I kind of want to be one of those employees that checks your receipt as you exit so I can see how much people are spending. I swear some of those baskets have to be filled with $300-400 worth of products (that would be our month’s budget).
- Plan your meals – I do weekly planning. I’m way too fickle to plan longer than that. I simply plan meals based off what we want that week (and looking at our calendar). I use Pinterest for most of my meal planning, although I just came across this blog and her meal plans look pretty good! Might have to let her plan some of my weeks soon. I use this template to write out my meals and grocery list.
- Go with a list – This goes with planning your meals. Categorizing your list is truly a game changer. When I tried it, I thought that was too Type A, but it saves so much time in the store! Try it out. I promise you’ll love it. Going with a list keeps you focused and saves money.
- Buy store brands. Don’t be a brand snob (I can say this because I used to be one). There are a few items I still get brand names, but most items are store brand. Make sure to look at all the prices though. Sometimes a brand name may be cheaper. Speaking of, did you know that Costco batteries are made by the same big brand name company that also sells batteries in Costco? You’re literally getting the same battery, just cheaper. Sometimes it’s cheaper for stores to get companies to make their store brand instead.
- Use Coupons…kind of – I hate couponing. And I don’t really see the benefit of doing it for myself. Not worth the time at this stage in my life. If you enjoy that and know how, by all means, go for it. We just don’t do this personally for groceries. Be picky though. Many couponers actually spend more because they’re “getting a deal.” Just because it’s on sale does not mean you need it. Side Note: I think you can save a ton on coupons, but it really is an art if you’re going to save big, and I just don’t have the time to allocate to that right now.
- Don’t go with kids (if you have to, I have 4 tips) – For the last year I’ve been going on Mondays and taking the kids. But it ends up being an extremely stressful situation, so recently I told Ryan I need to find a day to go where I can leave them home. If I do have to take them, I have found the following things to help (along with the categorized grocery list):
- Go at lunch time and let them eat their lunch in the cart (this one works wonders for us).
- Let them play on phone or iPad (this is last resort for me). I know, I’m a terrible, but seriously. Our iPad doesn’t work outside of our home, so my 4 year old gets to use my phone.
- Give them a sucker. Yep, mom of the year here. I keep a bag of suckers in my car so when I need to go shopping, I can grab a couple to take inside in case of emergency (let’s just say there is always an “emergency”).
- Let them help gather groceries. Yes, we all know how this really works out, but if you happen to have that sweet little child that likes to please, go for it.
- Make a budget for the month – With 4 people in our family, we budget about $400-450 a month. But when we were paying off our house and it was just the two of us, we budgeted $240 a month. Aim to spend 5-10% of your household income on food (that’s dining out, groceries, etc…)…closer to 5% if you’re paying off debt. Like Dave Ramsey says, “Rice and beans, beans and rice.” An important component of this tip is to write down what you spend after EACH grocery trip next to your budget (I’ll share an example below in the fourth tip). Budgeting your groceries keeps you on track. Know your current budget before each trip.
This is the template I use to grocery shop. I probably could make it pretty, but I find it super useful! You can print it off HERE.
2. DINE OUT ON A BUDGET – We eat out a lot. This may not be a steep category for you, but this is something we have to be mindful of due to how much we like to go out. This includes any and all eating out at restaurants (fast food, fine dining, coffee, kids’ lunch, etc). We rarely pay full price for a meal. We budget about $200 a month for this (we used to budget $100 when it was just us). I have to say this is something we’ve increased because we like it (in addition to more mouths to feed now). Our typical eating out schedule is Friday nights and Sunday lunch after church. We’ll sometimes go out once during the weekdays and the kids and I eat out (for lunch usually) once or twice a week, plus any coffee runs I
have want to have. Here are several things we do to stay on budget.
- Look at the bottom of your restaurant receipts – Often times, they have free items if you complete a survey. I promise it’s not bad. It’s either an automated phone call or online. Takes maybe two minutes!
- Sign up to your favorite restaurants email list – They send you coupons and discounts, specifically for your birthday or anniversary. Papas Steakhouse (extremely nice restaurant in Dallas), sends you $25 gift card for your birthday/anniversary, so even if you want to splurge on a date night, you still can get discounts. And last night we went to a nice pizza place for Ryan’s birthday because they sent him a FREE large one topping pizza. We added a couple more toppings and all 4 of us shared the pizza (it’s huge). We dined out for a few dollars + tip.
- Know restaurants weekly deals – Many times restaurants have deals during the week (i.e. kids eat free, half price appetizers, etc…) to bring customers in the restaurant. We love Cristina’s Mexican Restaurant. They have $8.99 fajitas on Wednesdays, so we’ll go and share that. Then we get to splurge on chips and queso or their apple pie! Dickey’s BBQ kids eat free on Sundays. At Denny’s, kids eat free from 4-10pm everyday.
- Drink water when you dine out – It’s healthier and $2-3 per person adds up fast!
- Share a dessert – We used to not order dessert when we were first married, but if we do, we split it! Again, healthier and dessert is really expensive!
- Don’t drink alcohol when you eat out – Luckily, we are not big drinkers, so this one is easy for us and saves us a TON! If you must have a drink, find out where the deals are.
- Limit your restaurant visits to places that require a tip – For example, when we order pizza, we always go get it. Usually one of us is already out and about, so we’ll just grab it on the way home. Did you know pizza places charge $2-3 for delivery, plus a tip? That’s $5-10 more just to have it brought to you. Or we like to frequent places where there is no wait service.
- Use a cash system – We don’t do this, but if you have bad self control or don’t check your budget, set aside cash and when you’re out, you’re done eating out that month.
- Buy and use an Entertainment Passbook – They cost around $25 at the most (we usually buy when on sale for $10) and they have TONS of coupons/discounts for your area. One trip to a restaurant pays for the book. We used this book for almost every meal out back in the day and we got to visit some really fancy places!
- Groupon – This is probably one of the biggest ways we save money. We’re always on the lookout for Groupons for places near us! They’re simply coupon deals to different places. For example, purchase a $30 Groupon to a restaurant for $15.
3. EVALUATE YOUR CAR SITUATION – Let me say that this tip is really, really important! I promise! I have SO much to say about this topic, so if you want better information, click on the link to get more details. We follow Dave Ramsey’s financial advice, so these tips are from his teachings.
- You need to get rid of your car payment. I know you can’t do this tomorrow, but this is something you must eliminate quickly, whether you pay it off soon or trade it in.I’ll start with a quote from Ramsey. “Taking on a car payment is one of the dumbest things people can do to destroy their chances of building wealth.” <– He said it, not me.
The best way I can explain why you should get rid of you car payment is this: If you have a $378 car payment (which is normal) your entire life (also normal), you just gave up $4,447,084 in investments! Is a car really worth that much money! Here’s what Dave says – “If you invested $378 per month from age 25 to age 65 (a normal working lifetime), in the average mutual fund averaging 12% (the 70 year stock market average), you would have $4,447,084.01 at age 65. Hope you like the car!”
- How do you get a car without a payment? Basically, pay cash for a junk car, save, then trade it in for a slightly better car, save, then repeat until you have the car of your dreams. This video does a great job explaining smart car payments (which is NONE)! If this is just not a realistic scenario for you, do A LOT of searching for a car and always buy used, but not having a car payment is very feasible and I know many people who do this.
Speaking of cars, this is what my husband saved for and it brings him lots of joy. He has a more economical car for his everyday driving and traveling to games, but he snagged this before we had kids…because he knew it was a long shot once we started a family. And he was right. There is no way we would have spent money on this post kids. We used the same method of buying cars mentioned above to purchase this one.
4. TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT YOUR MONTHLY BILLS – In addition to saving money on big things in your budget like food and car, there are other areas you can mostly likely save. Hopefully you have a written out budget (see the next step), but once you do, you can go through each line item (see how we do our’s HERE) and determine where you can save money.
My husband switches electricity companies almost monthly in order to get the cheapest rate possible. Our electric bill last August (the hottest month for us in Texas) was $190 and that was the highest bill for electricity last year. Last month in March, it was a whopping $11.82, but our A/C doesn’t run in March…that was just for our regular usage of other things. For the record, if I was in charge of paying bills, I wouldn’t probably do this because I’m too lazy to switch around, but if he’s willing to do it, then I’m all good.
Maybe you can save money on entertainment (i.e. cable). For the last two years, we’ve had cable since we used the promotion offered at that time. Well, that offer has expired and our bill was going to go up about $50. So, we decided to cut our cable again. Luckily we were able to hang on to the recording capabilities so we’re able to record anything on regular channels still. We have Netflix and Sling TV (haven’t tried Sling yet though), so we do have options for more TV if we want. I have some friends who cut their cable and opt for Netflix and Hulu for TV. That is a great way to save money on bills.
Just simply go down the categories in your budget and see where you can save. If you’re not sure what is too much, check out these budget percentages as a guideline. Which leads us to the next, most important, money saving tip if you’re going to pay off debt, or even just live prudently.
5. MAKE A BUDGET – This is what I get asked about the most. And luckily, this is something you can do today!!! It won’t be perfect the first time and you’ll always revisit ways to make it better. I saved this for last because it is the foundation to paying off all your debts and living like no one else! I have to say, my husband is the brains behind the budget. He came up with this awesome acronym for the word B-U-D-G-E-T. Can you blame him, he’s a teacher!
- B – Borrowing is BAD! Proverbs 22:7 states, “The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender.” Do not borrow your way out of debt. It doesn’t work. Get rid of your credit cards! Use cash or a debit card. Did you know 60% of Americans do NOT pay their credit card amount on time?
- U – Unity! Your spouse must be on board for this to work! Finances are the #1 thing couples fight over and 57% end up in divorce over it. Marriages have better success with honest communication. Pray and work together for maximum wisdom!
- D – Discipline! Every month have a finance meeting and put everything on paper before you make purchases. Hold yourself accountable to the written plan. You will want to give up, but give it 90 days to form a habit!
- G – Giving! No matter the hardships you face, continue to tithe (giving at least 10% to your church). God will bless you and your family. He is the creator of money. Trust that he will provide. This will probably be the hardest thing to do when on a tight budget.
- E – Education! Seek wise counsel. Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money Makeover” provides a simple plan to pay off debt. It’s the best $10 investment we’ve ever made! Also, read what Scripture says about money. It will provide a peace of mind when things get tough.
- T – Time! The bigger the debt, the longer it will take to get out of debt. Stick to the plan and remember there is light at the end of the tunnel! I cannot explain to you the freedom we felt October 2009 when we wrote that last check for the house! I’m living my dream now of being a full-time mom to my two boys! It’s also allowed me to take a risk and start a business and grow my blog.
Where to Start? As I mentioned above, look at these recommended percentages to know how much you should be allocating to different areas of your budget. I also explained how we spend our money and categorize it in this post here (this is my #1 budgeting tip). I think it’s important to be realistic with what you spend your money on and not “starve” yourself by cutting everything out of your budget all at once.
Before I started doing the budget (husband did it for the first few years of marriage) and we went to an Excel format, we WROTE OUR BUDGET DOWN. With pen and paper. It was pretty old school, but if it works…! The hardest part of writing it down was adding up each expense. That’s why I switched over to Excel so the math is done for me. I’ve been asked a lot about online services that help you record your budget, but this method just works so well for us and saves us from putting more personal, and very important, information online. BUT, if having a service helps you budget, do it. I think a lot of banks even offer those services for you. Mint.com is an example of a service that helps with budgeting. Dave Ramsey has great tools as well. I always recommend going to his website for budgeting help.
This is an example of our old budget when we used to write it down. This method worked when paying off our house so it’s definitely an effective way to budget.
This is a typed version of our budget with detailed notes: Budget Sheet with notes
I want to end with Dave Ramsey’s famous one liner: “Live like no one else now, so you can live like no one else later!”
Will people think you’re crazy for living a more frugal lifestyle? Possibly even make fun of you? Probably. But that is a very good sign you are on the right track! I hope these tips help you financially. Have you ever paid off a debt? What are some of the ways you saved money?
Check out my video on 15 ways we save money:
Great tips! I just started paying off my mortgage but haven’t had a car payment in nearly twenty years. I do a zero based budget each month and usually have two months budget done at a time. I find grocery shopping to be the biggest challenge in terms of finances since it can be so easy to go over. On the flip side, I rarely go out to eat and prefer to make most things from scratch at home. I think I only went to a restaurant twice last year. I haven’t gone to any this year yet so that saves money.
Wow…no car payment…that is awesome…and rare! I’m with you on grocery shopping. It’s the one category I have a hard time sticking to the budget. I’m impressed you eat out that seldom…that’s probably so much healthier too 🙂
SARAH CARPENTER says
Hi Olivia! This might be the most helpful budget post I’ve seen and I have done A LOT of research. My husband and I just filed bankruptcy (not ideal by any means but unfortunately unavoidable) and we have a two year plan to pay off the car we kept (just one) and do save and purchase a house in 2 years. Thankfully next year we will be eliminating the daycare expense since our son will start kindergarten. Also we want to start tithing again. We haven’t done it over the last few years and I know we need to because God is key to financial peace. All that to say thank you. I know every financial situation is different but this is by far the most helpful thing I have found online. I can’t wait to read through more of your blog.
Sarah, that is extremely nice of you to say. Thank you for sharing that. I’m sorry you had to file for bankruptcy, but it sounds like you guys have a plan and are starting to attack it. And yay for a pay raise with no daycare next year. Just stay with it. It’s like losing weight…it’s extremely hard at first because you don’t see the end result you’re aiming for, but you know the journey is a healthier one and one day you WILL get there. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions. I think tithing is really important. God knows the difficulty in tithing when money is so scarce and he will bless you through it…whether it’s literally or spiritually. FYI, I know someone very close to me who filed for bankruptcy a long time ago and they are doing great now. 🙂
Great tips. I hadn’t had a car payment and just purchased a new car. Now I have one. I decided to pay it off the day the first payment is due. I will then still have a large savings. Grocery shopping is my down fall. I budget and plan meals but still feel like I run out of food. I have two teenage girls which might be the problem. Any suggestions
You have great tips! But I have to disagree on the no credit cards rule. We use a credit card for all of our purchases and pay it off every month. I am not comfortable with using a debit card because of all the hacks and so forth that happen in stores. If they get my credit card number, I can dispute charges. But they don’t have direct access to my cash. We also get many free/reduced things on Amazon from the points we accumulate through using the credit card. Hello, free diapers! Just because some people do not pay their bill on time doesn’t make it bad for everyone.
I totally agree with you (didn’t explain in depth up above about not having cc’s :)). We use credit cards for everything and just pay them off each month. We use them for the points and cash we earn on them. Since we budget we don’t spend too much more than we would using cash (like research shows most people do), but we love our cash back…it’s how we do our vacays! 🙂
But I do think if you can’t pay back your cc on a monthly basis, you should get rid of them. Since the interest rates are so high, it’s better to pay cash for things you can afford then go into mounds of debt. But yes, love the security of credit cards too…we have had our cc stolen 2 times now and we were able to dispute the charges…can’t imagine if not because our last time, the person racked up some pretty hefty charges…eek!
You said Zaycon Fresh sells grass fed hormone free meats – their FAQs clearly state they do not.
If you do know a retailer that sells grass fed hormone free antibiotic free meats at a better price than local groceries, please post it; would like to know.
I will keep an eye out…I’m on the lookout for organic
This is what is stated under their meats:
Delivered fresh, direct from the farm.
“A dinner staple that is perfect for tacos, lasagna, casseroles, pasta and more when you need a rich beef flavor without the extra fat.
Flavorful, lean 100% American ground beef; grass-fed and pasture raised with grain finish.
Only the best trim cuts are selected for this quality ground beef.
Store and freeze in portion sizes you choose and perfect for premade freezer meals.
Each 40lb case contains four 10lb chubs of fresh ground beef.”
And this is under chicken:
“Jumbo, fresh, tender, juicy chicken breasts.
100% all-natural. No hormones added. Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.
High quality chicken you can prep and store the best way you choose.
Direct to you right from the processing farm.
Our original and still most popular product. (It’s what started it all!)
40lb case of whole, minimally processed double-lobed “butterfly” breasts.
Simply the best way to buy quality chicken and save money.”
Great Tips. You have given very useful tips and a long list ways to saving money. I will show it to my wife.
You can switch electric companies? That would be lovely! Here we only have one per area so you get who you get and you pay what they say you do because they’re the only option.
We have 6 people in our family but struggle with our grocery budget of $400. That’s over 10% of our monthly income. And we can’t eat cheap because we have a lot of food allergies and medical issues. Here we eat a lot of chicken and veggies! That’s our rice and beans!
We also have the car issue. Unfortunately its been hard to find a car that holds 6 people and is cheap. With used mini vans going for 30k+ in our area we settled with a 3rd row suv at half the price. Its not ideal but i cant wait to have it paid off! Our other car is paid off though.
Yes, where we live you can switch electric providers. There are many cities though near us that are forced with one provider. My brother and his family have that, but they have way better rates than us. We keep our costs really low though by just unplugging everything and keeping lights off if not using. That stinks though if you’re forced with one option and it’s expensive.
Sounds like you guys are doing great with groceries. Groceries are such a hard thing as you have to feed your family, especially if you want to give them good food or have allergies like you mentioned.
Cars are such a hard thing too because you HAVE to drive them and especially if you have that many kids, you can’t just get a smaller car. Glad you found a car for half that. 15K is pretty good for that big of car. You do what you can do, right? Y’all sound very prudent with your life and situation. Thanks for commenting. Hopefully you can find some other tips that might help.
Is your son’s name Beckham? My middle son who is 11 is named Beckham.
Good tips. We’ve cut out so many things. We paid off our debt when we sold our house recently. Our cars are paid off. We figured out buying used cars a while ago. We have food issues. We eat out probably too much and not cheaply and trying to stay on track at the store is tough. I feel like we end up throwing things out too maybe because we eat out so often. Mostly the thing driving me crazy right now is cell phones. We have three lines because we pay for our oldest son’s and it’s ridiculous what we pay. But without home phones anymore we have to have it.
Yes, my son’s name is Beckham! How cool your son’s is too. I don’t hear it often…I hear Beckett a lot but not Beckham. I just love it.
That is so awesome you have paid off your debts!!!! Can’t imagine all the extra increasing costs we are going to incur with our kids getting older (sports, cars, phones, etc). We don’t have a home phone either.
So how did you get all your info regarding Dave Ramsey’s financial teachings?
We read two of his books…
Total Money Makeover
His website is full of info as well. Hope that helps.
Tithing with an expectation that God will reward you? If it makes you feel good to give 10% of your earnings to your church, so be it. But suggesting a tithe with strings attached is worrisome. Many good souls give to their favourite charities as part of their regular budget. Their only expectation is that their donation will feed, clothe, shelter, educate or heal a soul. A common theme I notice among penny punchers is that they always need a reward before they partake. Totally selfish. Not what we need to be teaching our children. Your belief system is scary.
We don’t tithe for something in return. We tithe out of obedience (which, for us, stems from a relationship with Jesus). I had to go back and re-read that part, and the few sentences about it could have suggested that, so I totally get your point of view. But that is definitely not why we tithe. Tithing is not for everyone because not everyone has the same beliefs…these are just ours. But there is reward from obedience (Psalm 19:11). I’m not sure I’d call us penny pinchers, but only doing certain things in hopes that there would be rewards? In a nutshell, choices have consequences…good and bad. I like to choose things that have good consequences. The reward for not smoking is better health (and possibly avoiding lung cancer/emphysema). The reward for saving money, we get to retire one day when we’re too old to work. I guess I’m selfish but I don’t want to make choices that lead to bad consequences.
We recently had to retire due to our health at age 55 but we are fortunate enough to have a pension plan to pay our bills instead of digging into our 401k. We have an 11 yr. old son and our friends say we are crazy. Our only debt is our home…we pay an extra 100.00 a month towards principle on it…any other tips. Living comfortably in Kansas!
Carla, Thanks for commenting. I’m sorry you guys had to retire due to health, but that is awesome that you guys are prepared and still have your 401k. Sounds like you guys are doing well and living prudently. I always love hearing from other people and their experiences.
Ugh these article are so annoying to me. What bodunk town do you have to live in to have a mortgage of 118,000?!? I have 1100sf condo for 320, I wish I could have a house for that.
And you have got to me absolutely INSANE to give 10% to a freaking Church. What a waste of money, give to a charity instead. God never asked for your money! Other than that thanks for the article 🙂 *some* good ideas
🙂 The podunk town we live in is a really nice suburb of Dallas, Tx (it was actually voted #1 place to live in America, in Money Magazine). With that said, Texas does have affordable living relatively speaking. Median price for a house where I live now is $359,000. We bought ours for $150,000 and it’s now gone up to over $250,000. We are lucky we moved here 11 years ago when it was just booming.
As far as the tithing goes, we just have different beliefs on where our money comes from and who it really belongs to, which is fine. I don’t expect that we all believe in the same things. Every family is different. And I can actually understand why “these articles” annoy you as finances are very subjective…I even find some articles/financial gurus to annoy me if my lifestyle is very different. With that said, hopefully you enjoyed it a little bit 🙂
My Podunk town scored me a 2300sf, 4 bed 2 bath house on 5 acres for $111,000 2 years ago. All finished, updated and had new appliances.
In return I drive 40 miles to the nearest Walmart or larger store, but we have plenty of small local businesses that we support (at a slightly higher price) to help keep our podunk towns alive. 🙂
Enjoyed your article! Any tips for approaching budgeting with a reluctant spouse? I’m a SAHM and do 99% of the bills/family expenses, but my husband does not like to consider our financial state before spending money (usually on eating out, tools, technology, etc.) Things are very tight with debt and 3 young children, but I don’t feel my budget plans will succeed if I can’t get him on board. Ideas?
That’s a great question Renee and can be a long answer 🙂 I’m sure you’ve tried talking to him, but coming together and making your goals the same is key. Does he atleast agree with the direction you’re going and is okay with budgeting in general? There has to be some consensus. But if he is and is just more reckless with spending, consider having him take a budget out through cash and letting him spend that way…when money is out, it’s out. It’s important though for him to SEE the numbers and know what you’re doing so he can understand why you are budgeting the way you are. My husband and I are constantly communicating about how much money we have and what we are needing to buy (and I’m the one like your husband…my spouse is the budgeter…well, I’ve become the budgeter since staying home because I do majority of the spending like you do also). It also may help for him to see how much money is being wasted on interest (and your urgency to pay it off).
When we were paying off our house (super tight budget), I was the one who spent more freely. It wasn’t until I actually did the budget that I understood how important it was to watch what I spent (I really sympathized for my husband then). We also had an agreement when I was working that I would take out $200 a month (that worked for us personally), and was able to spend that how I wanted without having to put it in the budget or let Ryan know ahead of time, so that worked nicely because I felt I could spend, but when it was gone, it was gone. Plus, cash makes you spend less. I hope that helped a little…this can be a super frustrating situation. My husband and I have the same end goals, but it’s even hard for us to agree 100%…just meeting somewhere in the middle and trying to understand the other is key.
I have credit card debt that isn’t going away. I have a car payment and medical bills all on my credit report which is poor. You said don’t take a loan out to pay off my credit cards? The interest for the loan is lower than my interest on my credit cards and I’m paying more in my monthly payments than I would on the monthly loan. What should I do?
Ps. The loan interest is 23.99%