January 31, 2015

We Need to Save Money, Honey

With a wedding on the horizon and some credit card and student loan debt, I knew that saving money was going to be a major priority for me this year. Neither Dave nor I want to go into marriage with the burden of debt, and we want to be able to pay for a good portion of the wedding ourselves. It is time for something strict to help me get on track.

We talked about ways that we could save, and our plan of attack. The fact that we did this and were serious about it is really scary to me, because it means we are adults. The word retirement was even mentioned!

We've been working on it since the middle of December, and I've been able to set aside $1000 for the wedding in that time, and pay off a nice chunk of my credit card. I still have a long way to go, but I am so proud of where I am right now.


I've found that I am most successful in saving money (and therefore paying down my debt) if I implement easy strategies with budgeting and daily spending. I am in no way an expert, but here are a couple tips that have helped me be successful.

Pay Bills First

I am paid bi-weekly, and I have my bills scheduled so that they fall into one of the two paychecks in the month. As soon as I get my paycheck, those bills go out, so that there is no question or hesitation of them being paid. Even if they are paid early, I'd rather have that then me forgetting about them. Once bills are paid, I know how much money I have left to work with for the rest of the two weeks. 

Right now I am working aggressively to pay down one credit card that has a small(ish) balance. I still have other debts, but since I am putting the bulk of my money to that, for now I am only paying the minimum payment on all other debts. This is sort of a modified Dave Ramsey method.

Give Yourself An Allowance

After I pay my bills, I give myself a $100 allowance per week in cash. This may seem like a high number, but this is for anything that I may want to spend money on. Extra food, beauty products, if I want or need to buy clothes. This is my only spending money for the week, and if I run out, I'm out.

Spend Thoughtfully

Through this process, I've realized that I used to spend way more money than I thought on random crap. $5 Starbucks latte. $40 trip to Target. $12 lunch out. You don't need any of those things. I have been able to save the most money because I am more thoughtful about my spending. I used to bring my lunch four days a week, now I bring it every day (and this is better on my waistline, too!). I don't need that stuff from Target, it just creates more clutter. Don't I want to live without worry of credit card bills? This also means not spending money on those credit cards that I'm trying to pay off.

Put Your Extras in the Bank

I've found that when I pay my bills first and then give myself a strict allowance, I have money left at the end of the pay period. Once I get my next paycheck, I take the extra money and deposit it into savings or pay to my credit card. Essentially this is causing me to live paycheck to paycheck, but I am able to save and pay down more debt than I ever have before.

Do you have any tips on saving money or paying down debt? I'd love to hear them!

7 comments:

  1. Kearston J Dillard-ScottJanuary 31, 2015 at 3:27 PM

    Don't forget my favorite....coupons! Lol

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  2. What a good system. I'm working a bit like this as well, but when the new school semester started I kinda had to blow a lot of money on books which threw everything out of whack! Maybe I'll try the allowance thing!

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  3. My husband and I got married and I brought over 6500 dollars in credit card debt into our marriage. It took us almost two years and some serious learning experiences, but we are now debt free, minus a student loan! Such a relief! Things that helped us are things you are already doing-we each have a personal budget of spending money for the month and when it is gone, it is gone. We also applied to an interest free credit card and transferred all the debt onto that card so we didn't have to worry about accumulating extra money. I got serious about meal planning and cut our grocery bill in half and we only went out to eat once a month to cut down out extra spending. We sold one car and my husband commuted on his motorcycle for the summer so we could use the money to get ahead. It was really hard and we had to make some tough sacrifices but it is so worth it now, to be debt free and to finally have a savings account that is happy!

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  4. The allowance thing definitely works! And I think putting it into your savings will allow for big expenses like that, then you can just replenish your savings.

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  5. I need to coupon. I can't get into it! Right now we are just working on buying what is on VIC. TEACH ME!

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  6. We've started meal planning a little bit, which has definitely helped. One car would definitely cut down expenses, and has been something we've talked about. Right now it's not feasible, but maybe a little bit down the road!

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  7. Great strategies! Giving yourself an allowance in cash is smart that way you won't just keep swiping your card. And paying down one bill at at time is much smarter than doing a little bit extra on everything. I work for a credit union so I give people that advice every day. GOOD LUCK!!

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