When we started our Total Money Makeover journey in the winter of 2013, we were scared and in denial about our poor financial decisions. Having discovered Dave Ramsey that fall while reading Money Saving Mom, our fear was slowly being transformed into hope, but it wasn't until taking Financial Peace University that our hope turned into passion. Since then, I've been sharing our financial ups & downs here - you can check out all of our old posts to get caught up if you'd like. Most Total Money Makeover participants pay off their debt in less than 2 years, but as I shared this spring while reviewing Smart Money Smart Kids, my husband and I have an unusually high amount of debt for our very average income. We know we're in for a longer debt snowball then most of our peers, so to help keep us gazelle intense (and accountable) I'll be periodically updating YOU on our debt snowball journey. Even better yet, this is the place for you to join us too! Let's keep each other accountable - leave a comment at the bottom of the post with your progress (successes and set backs) and if you're a blogger, leave a link. :)
Approximately $120,000 (not including mortgage) - I haven't done an official (including interest charged, etc) total in a few months, so bear with my estimate for right now please! :)
Our Current Stage In The Journey:
This Spring we've been struggling with the desire to spend. I don't know if its the weather change or the party season that is upon us, but either way we're wanting to spend money more than we had all winter it seems. :(
We've been fighting the impulse everywhere from the grocery store to trying to make an excuse to eat fast food instead of cook at home. Worst of all is that I KNOW this is not an option, shouldn't happen, isn't in the budget and yet I want to spend anyway. Have you been there on your financial journey?
I'm the natural saver in our relationship, but sometimes I wonder if I have a hidden spender hiding out on the inside, because sometimes it just feels so good to buy stuff I don't need, with money I don't have. For Father's Day we had set a budget of dinner - we knew that buying presents wasn't an option but we both really like going out to eat, and so for Mother's Day and Father's Day that is our present - dinner out at the restaurant of your choice. Homemade cards and 'coupons' for back rubs and slow dances for no particular reason fill in the gaps where purchased presents would normally be.
Between my husband and I, I'm the one that handles these 'free' presents the best - you see, my husband is the spender. He's also a gift giver (according the the 5 Love Languages), he enjoys both giving and getting gifts and so frequently he misses out on this form of love because its just not in the budget. So what did I do? I went to the store and bought him over $75 worth of socks, underwear & undershirts that he's been asking for! *Insert head in palm* That was NOT in the budget - we didn't have the extra $75 to spend, but I did it anyway, and worse yet it felt so GOOD. We avoid splurging so often that even something as silly as underclothes was a thrilling gift for me to give and him to receive. But do you know what else the present came with? Guilt. Lots and lots of guilt. From both of us. He felt bad for enjoying the present, and I felt bad for having broken budget to buy them. We tried to justify it by saying that these were necessary items that we should have budgeted for anyway - things we would have eventually spent the money on anyway, and that may all be true, but the fact of the matter is - we were trying to justify a mistake and neither of us were falling for it. We both knew the truth and needed to pull up our boot straps and move on from it.
It's important to realize we are only human, we make mistakes, but when that inner voice keeps saying "don't buy it" we need to listen - even when spending is quite tempting. So at the end of this Father's Day week instead of having $75 to put towards our debt snowball, my husband has $75 worth of undergarments. Oh joy. :/
This Week's Debt Snowball Progress: (+$75)
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