Needs vs Wants

This post has been a long time coming. I always start it, but then don’t know where to go from there. If you’ve been following for any length of time, you know that we live a debt-free lifestyle, based on Dave Ramsey’s teachings. And we’re currently on baby step 3–saving our 3-6 month emergency fund–while awaiting the birth of our second-born.

We haven’t done too much this summer since we’ve been really trying to save our emergency fund before baby number 2 arrives, but we did drive to South Carolina to see family for Memorial Day weekend, spent some afternoons by the community pool, and entertained some family in our home. We also taught our second Financial Peace class at our church, which we just wrapped up at the end of July. I’m 9 months pregnant and pretty content to be home with my family, but as I scroll through my social media news feeds, I can certainly understand why someone would feel differently.

This summer I’ve watched friends, family, and even strangers, travel all over; purchase new vehicles and homes; and decorate, plan, & organize all the things. And there’s nothing wrong with these, as long as we save, pay cash/debit for them, and aren’t sacrificing our needs for them. So, lets talk about what our needs are. Dave Ramsey calls them the 4 walls:

  1. Housing (Rent/Mortgage)
  2. Utilities (Water, electric, gas, phone, etc.)
  3. Transportation (taxes, car insurance, gas, oil)
  4. Food (groceries)

The 4 walls are especially helpful when we’re struggling to make ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck, or have a loss of job; we always take care of our household first. These are the items we budget for before we spend money on anything else. There are the occasional exceptions, such as school uniforms and/or supplies, or an outfit for a job interview; but these aren’t going to occur very often.

Now, what are some things that are not considered necessities?

  • Eating out
  • Cable
  • The latest cell phone
  • Coffee from a coffeehouse
  • Vacations
  • New clothes/accessories
  • High-end makeup
  • New vehicles
  • Tickets (movies, theater, sports, concerts)
  • New home decor/furniture
  • Extracurricular activities for the kiddos

We could obviously go on and on. But these are all extras and if we’re in a real financial bind, they can, and should, be cut from the budget. It doesn’t have to be for always; just until we have more breathing room in our budget.

Additional income, an emergency fund, and a plan in place can make a world of difference. If you don’t have a plan in place, you’ll always be flying by the seat of your pants, wondering where all your hard-earned money went, and why you can never get ahead. If you want to know more about our plan, check out my other posts on finances, budgeting, and dumping debt.

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2019 – New Year Update

Happy New Year all! I know I’m late, but the last few months have been a little challenging. We found out December 26th, 2018 that we’re expecting, again; and once the morning sickness and exhaustion kicked in (around week 6), I really wasn’t in the mood to do anything. The hubby is currently traveling for work, and I have my 12-week appointment on Wednesday. Hopefully, our little Cookie Girl will be on her best behavior during the appointment, and God-willing, we’ll hear this sweet little jellybean’s heartbeat for the first time. I’m so excited!

In other news, the hubbs and I have been leading Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at church, for the first time, this quarter. In all honesty, because I hadn’t been feeling well all this time, he’s done most of the leading, but the next 2 weeks lie solely on me, and I’m nervous. I know I shouldn’t be, because the course outline is so easy to follow; but I think it has more to do with being pregnant and alone, with a toddler, more than anything…you know, “mom brain.” ( I.e. When you can’t think of anything but the kiddos.) As far as Dave’s baby steps go, we’re still on #3 (saving our 3-6 emergency fund) which we’re sure to have complete before this baby arrives in August.

Lastly, I’m finally starting to feel a little better. I had (iced) coffee this morning for the first time in months, it was delicious, and didn’t make me sick, so things appear to be looking up (lol). And I’m looking forward to the weather changing in a few weeks so I can take Cookie Girl to the park, walk around the community center track, and plan for things to come–like a weekend trip to Vegas in March–and plenty of local outings (since we’re trying to save).

So, what’s new with y’all? How have y’all been “winning” with your finances? Are there any life or career changes on the horizon?

Love,

Angelica

Dumping Debt: Part 3

Three years ago my mom gave me Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU) kit for my birthday. While I was a little skeptical, at first, I read the book and listened to the CDs on my way to and from work…and I allowed Mr. Ramsey to change my perspective on how I handled money.

So, when my boyfriend (now hubby) and I were getting serious, we watched the DVDs together. I could tell he was a little skeptical, as well. However, he gave it a try. He saved up and purchased my engagement ring with cash, and when we got married, we did so, debt-free (you can read about that here); even our honeymoon was paid in cash! During our first 7 months of marriage we worked hard at paying down our debt, which included his car and my student loan.

In November, we discovered we were pregnant! Being just one payment shy of having the hubby’s car paid off, we went ahead and made the final payment, and then pushed pause on our debt-snowball; only making a minimum payment on my student loan each month. Then, we saved during the pregnancy. We did purchase a used car, with cash, when my car went out of commission earlier this year, but then we continued to save. After this mommy and baby came home from the hospital, we used the money we’d saved to pay off the hospital bills, and put a huge chunk down on my student loan.

And on October 31st, 2017, we made our LAST student loan payment, making us DEBT FREE at last!!

Now, we’re on to Step 3, and then on to what Dave calls Step 3B, which is a down payment for a house. And guess what! YOU can do it too! It takes hard work and self-discipline, yes, but it’s possible!

Have I mentioned that after baby girl came, I left my job!? I’m now a stay-at-home mom, because we made good financial decisions based on Dave Ramsey’s principles!

Do you have any dreams or goals that you continually push aside, because your finances prevent you from chasing them? Perhaps you should check out Dave Ramsey’s FPU. You won’t regret it.

7 Baby Steps

  • Step 1: Save $1000 Emergency Fund
  • Step 2: Debt Snowball
  • Step 3: Save 3-6 months of Expenses << This is where we are now!
  • Step 4: Invest 15% of Household Income
  • Step 5: College Funding for Children
  • Step 6: Pay off House Early
  • Step 7: Build Wealth & Give!

Dumping Debt: Part 1

I’ve been a little hesitant to write this post, not because I don’t want to share this information with you, but because the Internet is swamped with this info. So, at the risk of sounding redundant, here goes…

When I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Communication Studies from UNCW in 2009, I left school without any school debt. I’d lived at home and worked my way through school; therefore, I paid off my small personal loans as I made money working through school. However, when I returned to school in 2011 for my Master’s in Human Services Counseling, I was working full time, and although I began while still living at home, I got a little rambunctious and prideful and moved into my own apartment while earning my M.A. I began to take out student loans for school, and even put a little on my credit card—books, new computer, a bloggie camera that I needed for a class—on top of this, during the summer I put a trip to Puerto Rico on my credit card, when a friend got married there. Yeah, I know, bad idea!

So, where am I going with this? Well, last year my mother gave me Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University Kit for my 30th birthday. At first, I thought “really?!” Hahahaha, but once I started reading the book I realized the man made great sense! He breaks everything down into steps…

7 Baby Steps

  • Step 1: Save $1000 Emergency Fund
  • Step 2: Debt Snowball
  • Step 3: Save 3-6 months of Expenses
  • Step 4: Invest 15% of Household Income
  • Step 5: College Funding for Children
  • Step 6: Pay off House Early
  • Step 7: Build Wealth & Give!

So far, I’m still on Baby Step 2. I think I’ll be here for a little while, but I’m already proud of myself for creating and sticking to a monthly budget, not using my credit card for Christmas gifts (that was a big one for me, because I’d been doing it for the last couple of Christmases), and already having paid $446.48 towards lowing my credit card bill since I’ve started. I’m slowly but surely getting there. If you’ve never heard of Dave Ramsey or Financial Peace University (FPU) please be sure to check them out. I’ve added the book for FPU to my suggested reading list on my Resources link.