Dollar bills, ya'll

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Things are about to get tight. Very, very shiny penny tight. In fact, they already are.

Tony and I have been talking the talk money-wise for awhile, but weren't actually putting it into action. That all changed on March 27th, when Tony got the harebrained idea to convert us to a straight cash budget after months of knowing we needed to make the leap.

This dramatically changed our spending habits. No more use of check cards, at all. Our money is completely budgeted down to a tiny cushion on the off chance something goes through that we've forgotten is a monthly expense, so there isn't even the option of using a check card. Ultimately, the only online banking we are doing is paying our reoccurring bills.

In retrospect, it would have been nice to know Ruby Tuesday was our last impromptu night out, that this will be our last baby purchase for awhile, and that there isn't much of a budget for more accommodating maternity tops. That said, I don't think it would have made it that much easier.

The thing is, no matter how admittedly little our share of it is, we're making money. We're just now severely called into question what we're doing with that money. If you're not controlling your finances, your finances are controlling you.

Our next goal is to pay off the car. I was way off base when I said last that we thought we'd have it done by the end of the summer! With these new steps in place though . . . we might have a fighting chance.

It's been really hard for me. Really hard. I'm not a frivolous person. I already buy Sauve hair products, drug store makeup and Target clothes. So to be put in a position where I've now gone without $5 face cream for two weeks, because it wasn't budgeted and I like food more than a blemish free face, has not really been inspirational. I haven't seen our grocery budget as a challenge, but more discouragement.

Ignorance truly was bliss. A little bit of credit card debt, a sure fire line of credit to save us from overdrafting and virtually no savings to speak of, but we didn't really have to face the fact that we weren't being wise with our money.

As hard as the past 1 1/2 weeks have been, I know that it's worth it and it'll be worth it.

21 comments:

Newlywed Next Door said...

Good for your for sticking with the cash and budget. It's hard but worth it. I know you're a Dave fan, so stick with it and it will pay off!

Laura said...

My husband and I did the cash thing for a year and half. It was really hard at first, but well worth it in the end. We have since switched to using Mint.com to track all of our spending, which we actually like better because we can see all of our accounts in one place and it gives us a much better picture of where we are financially.

Also, if you have cable, you should check out the show "Til Debt Do Us Part" (or maybe you can find episodes online). It is hosted by Gail Vaz-Oxlade, who each week visits a couple who are in debt and having relationship troubles. The participants learn how to work their way out of debt and get the skills they need to plan for their financial future. It is an awesome show.

*claire* said...

you can do it!!! keep your head up! the sacrifices are all for very important reasons, which i know will make you cherish the little things even more than you already do. good luck with it!!

Mrs. Lukie said...

So awesome, Leah! Well...I know it doesn't "feel" awesome right now, but you will be SO happy you guys followed through, in the end!

I resisted doing the TMMO thing for quite some time. Matt was on board & ready to go, and I just refused. I didn't want to give up my 'ability' to buy what I wanted, when I wanted. (Even though we were in tens of thousands of dollars of debt!) When I finally got on board, I was gung ho about it.

Looking back, it was the toughest year of our lives financially, but we have so much PEACE now! We are saving for retirement, we have a fully funded emergency fund, we pay cash for everything, and we stick to our budget every.single.month.

You can totally do this, and it will be a huge blessing to your family!

Megan said...

That is amazing! You are right, it will all be worth it when you look back on this time and see the aftermath of what your sacrifices brought you.

abby said...

I am in the stage between ignorance and action...I kinda know what we should be doing, but I don't wanna :P It's all so overwhelming, especially when, like you, I'm not frivolous!

I truly believe it will be worth it for you in the end, and am honestly a little jealous that you've had the courage to jump in!

Laura said...

I hear ya. Sometimes I think it would be a good idea for us to do the cash deal, too. With me not working (other than side projects...Avon, Scentsy, photography), things are VERY tight...more than ever. Somehow we always make it through (We know what that "somehow" is, of course.), but like you said, if we don't get a better control on OUR money, it will control us...and has been for a while. Prayers for you guys!

AJ said...

100% cash is hard, but kinda fun. I love bringing my caluclator, coupons, and 1 Benjamin to Walmart for my weekly grocery run. It's a fun challenge. I'm with you, girl. And we've been doing this for 6ish months or so. It will just become your new normal.

Bekah said...

Matt really wants to switch to a cash budget...and I dont. Its not the budget that concerns me...its me. I lose things, I lose money, I always have.

BUT. Sunday I was listening to the radio, and I heard this 'if you have a combined household income of more than 25,000, you are in the top %5 of the world. If you have a combined income of more than 40,000, you are in the top %1 of the world'

And since then I have felt so convicted. I am not really a money person, but I still get dissatisfied with where we are, what we have, etc. and all I can think about lately is...okay, so I am blessed to have the resources that NINETY-NINE PERCENT of the world does not have, and what am I doing with it?

Sad answer - not much.

I dont really know where I am going with my comment, its just been on my heart for myself lately.

mandbkrzywicki said...

My husband and i are going to start the cast syatem. If we dont have cash for it we dont get it. I think i will be better at this than he will. I would love a detailed post about it. Like physically how do you do it. Do you get a check in cash? or do you just take out 4 or 5 hundred dollard at the end of the month. You can do it! i am looking forward to updates.

mandbkrzywicki said...

My husband and i are going to start the cast syatem. If we dont have cash for it we dont get it. I think i will be better at this than he will. I would love a detailed post about it. Like physically how do you do it. Do you get a check in cash? or do you just take out 4 or 5 hundred dollard at the end of the month. You can do it! i am looking forward to updates.

Jen said...

I'm curious if this would help my family. We do really well staying on a budget, but I wonder if this would make us think even more about our spending.

The Porter Family said...

Hi there! i've been following for a little while now and i LOVE your enthusiasm about getting out of debt and the dave ramsey plan... sooo awesome! My husband and I took the class, taught the class, and are right in the middle of paying off the last chunk of our debt...we're at the point now where it has actually become kinda fun to think of more ways to save money- hang in there! And love your blog by the way :)

Meredith said...

Um, ditto Laura 100%. We have been doing much better financially that we were, but we have still used our credit cards more often than NECESSARY in the past few months (saying "Oh, we'll just put it on there now and pay it off when Justin gets paid"). I actually froze mine (literally--Ziplock full of water in the freezer) recently.

Sarah Louise said...

Good for you!!! I am hoping that Jared and I can convert to a mostly cash system when he is back in town....

Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else!!! :)

Alyssa said...

I've been on the "cash only plan" before. I found it was hard at first but got easier with time and with each month go by, I saw my CC debt go down and down and down. It felt GREAT!

LuCinda said...

We switched to a cash plan roughly six months ago and the difference in our spending is simply amazing. We seriously "found" over half our budget once we started accounting for where everything was going. Its tough, but so worth it in the end!

Aubrey said...

Oh gosh, this totally hits home for me. My boyfriend (live in) and I have been trying to figure out how to save our money, where our money has been going and why it always seems to go so fast! haha If you come up with any brilliant solutions, please share :)

MrsTallPaul said...

Thank you for the inspiration to get started on this - I have been wanting to do it for awhile but I know NOW is the time! Good luck!

Schmei said...

Wow - this is inspiring. DH and I swore off credit cards shortly after we got married, but we use our debit cards for all kinds of purchases and don't always track those well. You're making me think we should take this step next.

ELW said...

Good for you! A cash only budget is very hard at first, but soon it will be second nature. We've been cash only since August and it has really paid off. Keep at it!

 

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