So here’s the thing about my opinion re: all things debt:
- it’s my personal opinion (influenced by Dave Ramsey, yes), not yours, and if you ask to hear my opinion or help, there’s no reason to get defensive if you don’t agree with me
- it’s not a professional opinion, as I am not a professional financial adviser
- it’s personal but has proven to work for us AND THOUSANDS OF OTHER PEOPLE
Just had to get that off of my chest before diving into the recap. I’ve been putting it all out there for over a year now and I’m well aware that what we’ve done / currently doing is not the norm and doesn’t align with everyone’s views on money, credit cards, debt, etc..
I know we’re weird as Dave puts it. And I know a lot of you want to be weird too because you’ve told me.
Everyone keeps asking me how. Here’s the thing: we became debt free by deciding to become debt free. If you’ve been following along, you know that we made a lot of sacrifices and said no to a lot. Getting out of debt was hard work, every single day sticking to a budget BUT it was a whole lot easier than making excuse after excuse and staying in debt. And I get it, getting to the actual point to take action AND following through with your plan is probably the hardest step. It took me YEARS of following the Dave-ish plan – while racking up more credit card debt – until it just clicked and we ran and never looked back.
Can you tell I’m sick of people reaching out to me, making excuses and wasting my time? I make zero dollars when I teach FPU. I make zero dollars when I respond to your private messages. I make zero dollars when I reply to your texts.
And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE receiving the texts and messages from friends and acquaintances who are rocking the baby steps and want to update me on their progress. Keep ’em coming! But I can’t stand the people who talk the talk but can’t walk the walk… month after month after month. I’m just not welcoming that in my life anymore. Bye, Felicia!
Like many changes in one’s life, there needs to be a mentality shift.
If you want to lose weight, you have to be committed to changing your diet in order to see the weight come off.
If you want to run a marathon, you have to be committed to running a shit-ton of miles / following a training plan to cross the finish line.
If you want to be debt free, then your spending habits must change.
Numbers (weight, miles and savings) change when YOU change.
And you have to be fully committed. You can’t eat healthy for a week and expect lifetime results. You can’t run 4 miles and expect to cross the finish line of a half marathon and feel good. Been there, done that, ha!
This is my motivational, get off your ass or shut up speech.
Back to the recap:
February and March weren’t high savings months for us, but for good reason… we’re paying cash for our summer holiday! Yes, it’s true, DR doesn’t suggest taking a holiday until you’re debt free with a fully funded emergency fund, but we’re flexing the plan for a once in a lifetime opportunity to eat a vegan meal at NOMA. Ahhhh! We’re still in disbelief that we even got a table for two! Total so far we’ve spent just over $2300 for our flights, dinner reservation and our accommodations (a hostile and Airbnb). Traveling on a budget posts to follow once we’re back and prove it can be done, ha!
We also lived a tiny bit.
- The beau and I each got a haircut
- We had taken Kitty to the vet.
- We celebrated my dad’s birthday
- We had car things pop up: an inspection and registration
- We each bought new sneakers and the beau got a few new items of clothing for work
- And we splurged(I’m kidding) and got new sheets for our bed from HomeGoods and mousetraps + lawn bags from Home Depot
Livin’ it up I tell ya!
We’re still using the envelope / cash method (for groceries, eating out/alcohol, gifts, car insurance and personal cash) and I’m still on the meal planning bandwagon. We’ve even thrown in a little twist on the envelopes: if we have any cash leftover at the end of the month, we’re putting it into our change jar. We usually roll the change at the end of each year, but we figured we’d do it right before our holiday and use whatever’s in there as spending money. Boom! It won’t be much but it’ll be nice for those times when we don’t want to spend money – like in the airport on food. It’s so expensive to eat in airports! This time there’ll be zero guilt.
Oh, and food wise, I’m now buying organic as much as I can. Yes, it is slightly more expensive however since the 21 day processed food / sugar cleanse that I completed, I’ve been buying far less processed food items – so I’m essentially transfer buying. Spending less on the easy, processed stuff, and spending more on healthier, real food items. Still 100% plant based and still 100% within budget.
Because I’m finishing this post two month’s after starting it, I can disclose that we’re getting basically nothing back in taxes this year – which we prefer. And by nothing I mean like $300. We’d rather have our hard-earned cash NOW (or on a monthly basis) rather than loaning it to the government, interest free for a year, then getting it as a giant lump sum. We’ve found our sweet spot with deductions to allow us to basically break even. Being debt free and an emergency fund sure does change your outlook on specific things!
Speaking of things, our emergency fund is now 47% funded – wahoo! My goal is to have it fully funded by July 1st because we’d like to start investing in retirement ASAP and we’ve got a couple of home projects we’d like to complete this summer. Our deck needs to be replaced and while we’re at it, we’d like to install french doors / replace the sliding glass door that doesn’t have a screen and leaks cold air into our home like woah. It’ll take us a couple of months to save up that cash while investing, so we’ve got to buckle down and pinch those pennies!
Another two months in the books… and another one more than half-way completed. Baby Step 3 is far more difficult for me than Baby Step 2 mentally, because I am a spender and want to relax and shop, but we’ve got goals and I’m not shopping until we hit them!