On The Subject of $$

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Joe and I have a dream, and that is to be completely debt free.  Maybe that doesn't sound exciting or even slightly glamorous, but just the thought of it brings me to tears.  Just imagine owing nothing. Owning the car you drive, the house you live in and even the degree you received. What freedom!!!   I love Dave Ramsey's catch phrase and repeat it to myself everyday: "Debt is dumb, cash is king, and the paid off home mortgage has taken the place of the BMW as the status symbol of choice." 

Every dream requires sacrifice.  The more we sacrifice, the faster the dream will come.  We have a budget, and this budget includes a humble weekly "allowance" that we can use for whatever we want.  I mean, you HAVE to have a little wiggle room to buy some iced coffee and some earrings, or you'll go nuts.  We also have a "gift" allowance so we can be generous (but not tooooo generous) with others. Any leftover money we have at the end of the month gets thrown to the student loan wolves.  Now, I can proudly say that my student loan and our home mortgage are all the debt we have left. :)

We have good and bad months. When Sisi was a newborn I bought all sorts of presents for myself to give me comfort.  But, like with dieting or cleaning or any other discipline, all that really matters is that you pick up and keep going.  One step back, two steps forward.  Sorry, lots of cliches in the post.  

Here are 3 simple-but-really-hard things that have completely changed the way we handle our money:

1.  NO MORE CREDIT CARDS.  We paid them off and then destroyed them. We didn't close our accounts for the sake of our credit, but we completely pretend like our credit cards don't exist.  We only use our debit card.  Even though we paid our cards in full every month, I find that, psychologically, I'm likely to buy more stuff on a credit card (a seemingly vast supply of magical money) than on a debit card, which links directly to our own little pile of money.  If we spend too much and our checking balance is running dangerously low, it leaves more of a sting.

2.  MAKE A LIST, THEN WAIT.  When I find myself thinking of all the stuff I absolutely need right this minute(even very practical, non-extravagent things) I stop, and write it all out.  Here is my most recent list:

  • dish soap and hand soap
  • tea diffuser
  • shoes for Siena
  • toy box for Siena
  • a few new dog toys 
  • new kitchen broom
  • fabrics for the etsy shop
  • rainbow sandals 
  • black leggings
  • panties (gross Pesto likes to steal mine and eat them.)
I wait two weeks, then write it all down again, from memory. 
  • dish soap and hand soap --> used a bottle of Dr. Bronner's we have under the sink.
  • tea diffuser-->made a makeshift one out of a coffee filter, string, and chopsticks.
  • shoes for Siena-->heck, shoes never stay on her.  what's the point?
  • toy box for Siena-->used a decorative wooden box from my old florist days I found in the garage
  • a few new dog toys ---> water bottles and pine cones.
  • new kitchen broom
  • black leggings --> I will probably receive clothing gift certificates for Christmas, so I'll wait. 
  • panties (gross Pesto likes to steal my favorites and eat them.)
  • hmmm what else?  couldn't remember... obviously wasn't that important.  
I could have easily spent hundreds of dollars on these items, but turns out the only things I cannot make myself are a broom and panties. (Props to anyone who can make their own panties, though!)

3. LIMIT THE EYE CANDY.  Oyy veh, this is a hard one. It was even harder when I was smack dab in the middle of the wedding industry. ,But yeah, still hard for a twenty something like me who creates fashion accessories, has very stylish friends,  and lives in one of the wealthiest towns in the country. But I do try to limit what I take in.  For this reason, I'm holding off on Pinterest (although the temptation is growing), I don't watch TV, and I stopped subscribing to fashion mags (except Vogue for business purposes :)).  I've also pared down my blog list to the cream of the crop.  Hopefully, I'll get to the point of contentment where simply seeing something does not equal NEEDING it, but I'm not there yet.  

***Readers, I'd love to hear your money-saving tips, especially related to gift-giving!  That's where I'm stumped.***

Because every blog post needs a picture, let me introduce you to Chico, the tiny 5 inch tall snowman, built by Angel on a trip we took to Yosemite.  Little Chico has a dream.  He wants to be debt free, and by golly, he will get there someday...


Anonymous,  December 3, 2011 at 11:39 AM  

cutest pic ever!! and i very much appreciate this post!! :)

christina {simply modern weddings} December 3, 2011 at 9:39 PM  

love it!!! and i am loving the tips for saving, i want to be debt free just like little chico!!

Rachel December 5, 2011 at 11:34 AM  

I've definitely been working the list. It's so nice to be able to file something away instead of giving into the *want* feeling right away.

It's funny how different everyone is mentally with credit cards! I actually put EVERYTHING on my credit card and almost never carry cash. I hate using my credit card for purchases under $5 so it's easy for me to skip a soda or little treat if I don't have cash, but if I have cash, it all disappears on those little things. D thinks I'm totally weird.

Janet January 4, 2012 at 8:36 PM  

It feels so good to pay off debt! I told my hubby that he has to pay for his next car in cash - looks like he'll be waiting a while!

emily ressegue June 28, 2012 at 12:45 PM  

My hubby and I are getting closer and closer to being debt free. I want to be there so badly!

I understand staying away from Pinterest for your listed reasons but that's how I found ideas to make stuff for great gifts. Just my two cents. :)

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