What it’s really like living on a budget. Is it terrible? Why would you even want to?
Lets face it, no one wants to be told no for something we want. And guess what! We don’t have to. We’ve gotten use to this tiny piece of plastic in our wallet that says yes to every little thing we decide to bring to the cash register.
Most of the time we can justify the cost by convincing ourselves we NEED it. Most of us are not willing to change this way of thinking, and maybe some of us don’t have to.
But if your looking at your account and wondering where it all goes so quickly, then maybe its time to change your spending habits.
SAVE FOR LATER
What it's really like living on a budget
Deciding to get out of Debt
In September 2018 my husband and I started our get out of debt journey. We had a mental budget and after house expenses we should have had enough to cover us for the month. But without fail we always felt a bit stretched.
If only we didn’t have a car payment, credit card bills or student loans, our life would be more comfortable. But who doesn’t have those things?
We started listening to Dave Ramsey and it turns out a lot of people don’t have those payments! We were both on board to live on (and stick to) a budget to get rid of those extra payments.
Loose VS Tight Budget
The first budget I wrote out was generous. I couldn’t let go of the what ifs and inflated categories just in case. I was making a loose budget but that was exactly the way we had been living.
Clearly that wasn’t working. So with deep hesitation I wrote out a tight budget based around true necessities.
But what are necessities?
You have the normal ones like mortgage and groceries but then it can get confusing with activities for the children. I don’t mean going to jump zone or the water park. I mean the
ones that grow character and shape them into who they are.
Gymnastics, sports, Girl Scouts, music lessons ect.
Once I put pen to paper I saw the true ending goal. In two years we could be out of debt (besides the house) We stuck to one activity that we could afford through this journey and cut the rest. The truth was she only liked to jump on the trampoline anyway. (eye roll)
We let go of the what ifs and kept track of every dollar.
How we pay our bills
We pay our bills the 1st and 15th of every month and split our mortgage in half to make for an easier payment. (Putting the mortgage payment in a separate account and setting up auto pay)
Anything left over from our necessities goes towards the next bill we are looking to get rid of. It started with paying off our cell phones. The cell phones snowballed into our credit card. Then we had the left over from the cell phones and credit card to put all towards our car payment.
Progress was slow but we finally paid off my totally awesome mom car, The Mini Van.
We still have fun! Within reason
Being on a budget does’t mean we don’t have any fun! It means we put it in the budget. The kids need shoes, budget. Birthday party coming up? Budget. Going on a road trip? Lets save up for it!
No more spontaneous purchases just because its on sale.
So walk by the dollar section and make sure to always go to the grocery store with a list and meal plan. If its not on your list ask yourself if you really need it. If you did, it would have been thought of when making your budget or on your list of groceries.
A few bumps in the road
Life happens, things break or pets get sick. Leaving you with a pricy bill you weren’t expecting. Our car needed to go into the shop, our awesome dog tried to die on us. I broke the car window with a piece of paper and right now I’m driving around without AC. Luckily its winter, and we’ll put it in the budget in the spring.
From time to time we’ve had to put things on hold but we’ve always been able to get on track. Its been easier doing so without the extra bills.
Sure my cell phone isn’t new but I bet it does the same things as yours. Facebook scrolls just fine and google maps takes me where I need to go. Just maybe without air conditioning.
Keeping the end goal in mind
Our income hasn’t changed but our spending habits have.
Even though I thought we were pretty good before, (no eating out, not going to the movies) It truly is the little things that add up. I don’t know about you but when I’m 65 I want to own our home and vacation to an island every year.
Not by whipping out the tiny piece of plastic and paying for it till we’re 70, but because we can actually afford it! Its time to make a change now so we can live this way later.
So do I like being on a Budget?
In a way we’ve always lived on a budget, we were just bad at it. Writing down your budget makes it real. It makes you fess up to what you already know. But just because you don’t want to think about your credit card bill or your car payment, doesn’t make it go away.
You’re just shoving it under the rug to think about later. And if money and a budget didn’t matter to you, you wouldn’t have read to the end of this post.
Yes, I do like living on a budget. Because now we have a goal for a better future. Its not crazy to want to pay off your debt, its crazy to be ok with living in debt the rest of your life.
Starting off wasn’t easy but not starting somewhere would have been way more painful.
Best of Luck,