A few months back, Pete & I decided, enough is enough, it’s time to get our finances in order!!
I’d been reading quite a bit about getting out of debt, and I’m sure most people would be familiar with Dave Ramsey. If not, do yourself a favour & click on the link.
So we decided to give it a go. We had a couple of maxed out credit cards, 3 personal loans & 2 house mortgages. Honestly we were just floating along with no plan at all, having a good time.
Firstly we both sat down with a big piece of paper & listed every bill, loan & expense we currently had. That’s probably the scariest part, because we were worried about what that final number might be.
Second step was to list all our income & devise a budget. I jumped online and found a free spreadsheet. Now it’s not mine but I’m sure the guy who created it won’t mind if I share the link. The link takes you to his website. It’s an excel spreadsheet and super easy to use. It’s important that if you are in a relationship, that this is a joint venture, all things discussed & agreed upon.
Cash Flow Budget
Then I started looking through money saving ideas online & on Pinterest. I found this little post about menu planning. I don’t have the link unfortunately but I grabbed onto one really cool concept. How much food sits around in our pantry, fridge & freezer not getting used?
So I decided to go through the pantry & work out what the value was.
I won’t bore you with the details but the total I came up with was $950.00!!
And I didn’t even add up the value of the fridge or freezer.
All that money sitting there not being used & even being wasted, because once things go out of date, I’d discard it of course.
So I set myself a challenge. Every second week we vowd to only eat food we already had. Only items we bought were milk, fresh fruit/vegetables & bread. I had to get a bit creative with recipes but it’s a huge success. It’s been 6 weeks now & the pantry, fridge & freezer has never looked better. Slowly but surely all those shelves are emptying out & looking tidy.
Best of all I have saved $540 on groceries in that time.
Each Monday morning, Pete & I put $200 cash into our groceries envelope. That has to cover everything – meat, fresh fruit & vegetables, dairy, juice or soft drinks, confectionary or snacks, cleaning products, toiletries & any grocery items for the week. If that runs out, too bad, we make do with what we already have at home.
We do a menu plan for the week, keeping what groceries we already have in mind, shop together from a list & stick to it.
The left over money from the previous week ( there usually is some ) goes into our holiday fund envelope and we plan to treat ourselves to a weekend away every now and then.
The great thing about that is unlike previously, we will be taking our break knowing we have saved the cash & we can afford it. No more credit card bills.
We have a little ‘budget meeting’ ( usually over a cold beer) at least once a week to touch base about where we are at, and any unexpected changes to the budget that have to be worked in.
The future feels bright & all things going well, we will completely debt free in 6 years! I wish we had done this sooner, but better late than not at all.