Knit vest ℅ Sears (only $12!); Old Navy dress, old (option, option); Marshall’s scarf, old (option); Target sandals and necklace (option); Forever 21 sunglasses.
I think it’s natural when reading about someone else’s life to assume certain things. “Wow, she must be rich to shop so much,” or, “I bet they are in debt because they have buy a lot of things.” I can’t speak for anyone else, but looks can be so deceiving when it comes to blogging. The facts is, I love shopping and love buying new things. It just makes me feel good to have pretty clothes, but I also practice restraint when I need to. My husband and I have a plan for our finance’s, both short and long term. We discuss how we want to spend what we have, and what we need to buy, and budget accordingly. I haven’t worked outside of the home for six years and find that we do pretty well with what we have. It’s a blessing to have worked towards what we have, money wise, and I’m so thankful for his regular paycheck (the military is good like that!), and for all we have.
Here are some of the things we do to live a great life, financially (or, how does she get to shop SO MUCH?!)
1) The first thing we did after getting married was begin paying off our college debt. We both had substantial loans and started paying them off with our tax returns from the start. I can’t remember the exact amount of time it took to pay them all off, but it was within five years, and while it was NOT fun to spend huge chunks of tax money on this at first, it gave us freedom.
When I went back for my Master’s Degree it worked out well that I could only take couple of classes at a time, so we paid that off as I went, which worked well finically (though it took me a lonnnng time to graduate!
2) We keep cars for a long time and pay them off quickly! My husband has had the same vehicle since college, and after we finished paying off our college loans we began paying off huge chunks of car loans. I’ve had two cars in twelve years and this works great for us (we also keep them for about six years, typically.) We buy used, pay them off within two years, and then have no car payments for about four.
3) We have no credit cards! Everything we buy is in cash. If it’s not in the checking account, or can’t be paid with savings (and put back immediately), it can’t be bought. We have done no interest credit cards in the past for things like our flooring in our Florida home, or a hot tub, but we carry the balance for less than six months, then pay it off with our tax money. (That tax money is useful!)
4) The magical tax money is something we budget the entire year for. We get a large, lump sum at tax time (it just works to have more taken out in our paycheck and get a huge amount back), and it works well for us. We use some for adding into our children’s’ college accounts, and the rest is for whatever we have coming up. Sometimes we plan big family vacations, this year I am getting a new car (we will need a down payment), and often we have to use some for practical things (home repair, etc.)
5) My husband and I both know what bills are going out and keep an eye on our checking account daily. I don’t have a budget for shopping, but I do know what we have at any given moment and can plan for that as I shop. I tend to buy a lot of inexpensive things, and most of the time I can shop with my blog income (bonus!) If I see that we are getting low, or if I know we have a lot of bills going out, I don’t shop. Period.
6) Finally, having a savings account is key for my peace of mind. We always had a goal in mind of how much we wanted in there as a buffer, and we reached that about five years ago. I love that we have that for emergencies. If my car needs a repair that comes out of the blue, we can cover it. If there is an emergency and we need cash quick, we have it. I could never comfortably buy anything if we didn’t have this savings account. We rarely take money from it and our goal is always to keep it where it is and to keep adding to it monthly. We also have retirement accounts that are added to monthly, so we can have a future and a retirement that is (hopefully!) worry free.
Tell me, how do you budget yourself, while shopping and otherwise? (I like to shop at inexpensive stores (Target! Old Navy!), and spurge only on certain occasions (my birthday! Christmas!)
Shop this post: