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 Post subject: Al's Journey to Fiscal Fitness
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:39 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:21 am
Posts: 26
Hi there! Newbie here!

My wife and I are on the road to financial fitness and I am hoping to avoid repeating the errors of our youth.

Here are some of the highlights of our budget. I am open to criticisms, concerns and general advice.

Current Income (After Automatic Deductions)
$2920

Debt repayment method: Debt Snowball

Current Debt:
Discover Card - $1477 Int 0%
Car Loan - $8,479 Int 11.74%
Student Loan - $14,974.00 Int 8.25%

Automatic Deductions
5% pretax contribution to 401K. .75 on the dollar match
Automatic savings deposits per pay period.
$50.00 General Savings (Bal 102.74) (Just raided this account for some unforeseen expenses)
$20.00 Car Repair (Bal. $31) (Just started this fund)
$20.00 Emergency Fund (Bal $512)
$92.25 Side Job Salary DD into General Savings bi-weekly

Budget:

Tithe: 10% income
Other Charitable Giving: $100

Monthly Bills
CC Payment : 150
Car Payment 383
Sallie Mae: 155
Rent: 335.00
Auto Insurance: $131
Mobile Phone: 162.00 (We have opted not to get home internet or cable. We have data and messaging plans on our phones)
Gym -37.00 (It is a wasted expense. We are locked in for another year and a half. Be gentle. I am aware it is foolish.)
Utilities - $80 (Water/Gas/Elect) I bundle the cost since they tend to flux but balance one another out

Other Expenses
Auto Fuel $240.00
Birth Control $30.00 (This is a priority! Heh. The alternative is more expensive)
Groceries $302.00 (Food, toiletries, household needs)
Clothing $40.00
Hobbies $20.00 (I'm a guitarist. This covers strings, picks, etc.)
Salon/Barber $25.00
Dining Out $280.00 (Lot budgeted here I know. This reflects Actuall spending and not what I Want to spend. This is fast food. Date nights. etc.
Entertainment $40.00 (Redbox rentals, theatre tickets, etc)
Laundry $20.00

Other Savings
I also move additional funds to savings manually.
General Savings $50
Emergency $30
Car Repair $20

I intentionally budget for car repair/maintenance as an encouragement to go in for routine maintenance. I have had bad habits in the past or robbed another category in order to cover these.

This budget represents what we Actually spend and is beginning to resemble how we Want to spend.

A note on the car. I am awaiting payment from some things I have sold that will be applied to the CC. In my estimation we are 5-6 months away from paying that one off.


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 Post subject: Re: Al's Journey to Fiscal Fitness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:47 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:08 am
Posts: 113
So what is your debt snowball? Judging by the numbers you posted, you're $2 short every month (assuming you do the manual savings transfers). Are you just paying minimums towards your debts?

I would suggest:
- Reining in that $240 dining category. You also have $40 entertainment. That's over 10% of your budget in those two categories, compared to 6% saving.
- Can you downgrade your phone plans to what you use? I assume $162 is for unlimited everything, but is there a chance you don't need unlimited?
- If you get the dining down to $150, and temporarily stop your $100 charitable giving, you can combine that with the money you've been sending manually to savings at the end of the month for a decent snowball.
- I would also recommend adding the side job money to your snowball. Personally, I'm a fan of making your snowball as big as possible, because you can always scale back for a month or two if you have surprise expenses, but in the meantime you're hammering away at the debt even more.

No snowball:
Discover paid off May 2012
Car paid off April 2013
Student loan paid off Feb 2015

$290 snowball (dining savings, charitable giving, manual savings):
Discover paid off Nov 2011
Car paid off Aug 2012
Student loan paid off Dec 2013

$380 snowball (dining, charity, manual savings, side job):
Discover paid off Oct 2011
Car paid off July 2012
Student loan paid off Sept 2013

You could even resume the $100 charity after you paid off the Discover, though with double-digit interest rates on the car, I'd advise against it. Once you get your debts paid off in 2013 you'd have almost $1,000/mo to devote to whatever you'd like, including charity.


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 Post subject: Re: Al's Journey to Fiscal Fitness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:01 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 1721
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Wow, what great detail!

You appear to be solidly on the right track, with terrific perspective on your numbers. So many people have no idea what they spend on all those different things, it's great that you're paying such close attention to your budget.

The only comments I'd add would be:

  • Cut the tithing and charitable giving. That's about $400/month. Charity begins at home, and you're in debt. You're basically giving away borrowed money. However, I recognize that this is rooted in ideological beliefs, so I'm probably not going to be able to convince you to stop. Just keep in mind that since you don't appear to be planning to have any kids, the best way to help the church and your charities would be to eliminate your debt, build a healthy estate, then bequeath it all to charitable causes upon your death.
  • $300 for groceries and household expenses for 2 people seems very, very low for me. My wife and I spend about $800/month on these two categories.
  • $25 for salon/barber also seems low. How can you and your wife both get 1 haircut a month for this amount?
  • $335/month for rent is extremely low. Is this sustainable in the long term, or is this a temporary, subsidized arrangement?
  • No discretionary spending? Why not set up an allowance of $200 or so per month for you and your wife? Things like dining out, your guitar supplies, clothing and haircuts could come out of this.

I agree with peaceofmind. I think it'd be worthwhile to cut back on some of the wasteful items (charity, cell phones, dining out) to really accelerate your debt snowball and knock those debts out. You'd basically be improving your monthly cash flow by $700/month, which would give you a tremendous amount of flexibility and breathing room.

Good luck, and welcome!


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 Post subject: Re: Al's Journey to Fiscal Fitness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:16 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:21 am
Posts: 26
Thanks for the replies!



Quote:
So what is your debt snowball?


The $150 on the CC is a bit of a debt snowball. We have rolled over minimum payments from 2 smaller cards onto that one.

Quote:
Can you downgrade your phone plans to what you use? I assume $162 is for unlimited everything, but is there a chance you don't need unlimited?


This has been a struggle. AT&T has two data plans and we tried their smaller plan for awhile. We kept going over with what we felt was minimal use. Our contract has one more year on it and we will shop around at that point. We may also downgrade one of our phones from smartphone to a standard plan phone come Sept when we are due for an upgrade.


Quote:
Cut the tithing and charitable giving.


The tithing is a personal non-negotiable. I do understand the perspective of channeling it somewhere else.
The charitable giving is in flux. In a perfect month it is given and other months it gets put towards entertainment or dining out. I know it should go towards debt. But getting habits reigned in can be difficult.

Quote:
$300 for groceries and household expenses for 2 people seems very, very low for me. My wife and I spend about $800/month on these two categories.


This should be higher. And in my mind I would pull from our dining out category to supplement this one. I know it would go further here and could ultimately be a healthier choice.

Quote:
$25 for salon/barber also seems low. How can you and your wife both get 1 haircut a month for this amount?


I get my hair cut roughly every 6 weeks. $15 a pop and then a tip. My wife has long hair and does not cut it. She does occasionally get a manicure or eyebrows waxed. This covers those expenses. But it is so infrequent that this small amount works for us.

Quote:
$335/month for rent is extremely low. Is this sustainable in the long term, or is this a temporary, subsidized arrangement?


We have a great deal on our living situation. That is the price we are locked into for a month to month term. It's a single bedroom apartment that is just enough for us. Almost too small because we feel right on top of each other at times. Good neighborhood. Our landlord reimburses us for reasonable and approved upgrades (paint, light fixtures...)
It is by no means permanent but it works for now and we feel it's best to stick with it for the time being.

Quote:
No discretionary spending?


I know we should have it. We aren't just drowning in debt and make enough to budget it.
How should I play that out? Perhaps allow my wife and I each a portion for discretionary spending. An adult allowance? I can get my books and guitar supplies and she can get... umm... shoes???

I have a check for $750 coming at the first of Aug and that will go towards the CC.

I am excited to get on track with paying off all of this.

Thanks for the insight. I am open to anything else and will definitely consider what you guys have already mentioned. Even if I seemed to balk at some of it in my replies.

We do need a bit of a mindset change in my house. I am the saver and my wife the spender. She sees the value in saving but doesn't really find joy in it. I on the other hand want to play games like "How little can we spend in the month of August!?"
So there is a balancing act of getting her to see things from my perspective, but also respecting hers and her not feeling deprived.

A little background info on my wife and I.

We are both 26. About to enter into our second year of marriage.

Both of us had pretty poor saving habits before marriage but our spending was not as bad as it could have been. Most of our debt my wife incurred in school.
She has wonderful credit history. Mine not so much. I hope to restore my credit in the future by reestablishing a good history but for now I that is not a focus.

We are both employed full time. No children and we intend to hold off on them for the next 4 to 5 years.

We also spend our spare time volunteering with our church. I have served as a youth pastor for the past three years.

My current job has a lot of career potential and I plan to be here for the long haul. We have great benefits, a good 401(k) and an ESOP. Which I will be vested in come April of next year.

A downside and weak link in our budget is that my wife does not have medical insurance. That is something that must be remedied. We also plan to add rental insurance and term life policies. Should probably do that sooner rather than later, but it has not been a focus yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Al's Journey to Fiscal Fitness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:31 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:21 am
Posts: 26
A few notes about our spending habits.

We obviously dine out a lot. We both know this is neither frugal or healthy. We are trying to cut back to keeping that to the weekends and even then splitting plates if we go out somewhere that isn't fast food. Sunday afternoon is almost a guaranteed meal out after morning church.

One of our biggest downfalls is being rushed and grabbing fast food becuase it is "convenient." It isn't that much more convenient we just don't want another ham sandwich.

So a goal for us is to eat at home more. Which will necessitate an increase in our groceries budget and pull down on dining out.
** Do you generally budget all household needs in groceries or do you seperate toiletries and such?**

Our fuel spending is budgeted high. I sold my car and we are a single car family now. We work less than a block from each other and that is barely 5 minutes from home. I could certainly pull back from that but leave enough there not to be taken off guard should we travel some extra. (We live in Louisiana with family in TN and AR. So the occasional trip home has to be allowed)

Something I need to working over is rolling our budget over into the next month. When we see extra in the account we tend to waste it. Rather than balancing out and saying "We have $100 left in fuel. Let's roll it over to the next month, save it or pay down debt..."
Other than general self control any tips in getting into that habit?

Also... Am I saving enough? I don't feel like I am. I feel guilty about not moving money over manually. I keep second guessing that.

Then I will do something silly like when our A/C went out in our bedroom. (Our landlord covers the unit in our living room, but the others are at our discretion) I put it on our Discover. I fully intended to pull money from savings and pay it off but I have carried it. I guess I justify it by keeing my savings buffer and that the card is currently not earning interest. I don't feel it was the right move, but at the moment it was friggin hot!


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 Post subject: Re: Al's Journey to Fiscal Fitness
PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:03 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:08 am
Posts: 113
AlanR wrote:
One of our biggest downfalls is being rushed and grabbing fast food becuase it is "convenient." It isn't that much more convenient we just don't want another ham sandwich.


Look into other quick/easy meals. I'm a fan of cooking something more time-intensive on the weekends (soup, usually, since it stores well) and then it's already there and requires 2 minutes in the microwave when you are in a rush. I definitely need to expand my repertoire of cooking things, but we probably only eat out 2x/month (when we see friends) and get take-out 2x/month (when we're especially lazy). The rest of the time we cook or have leftovers.

Quote:
So a goal for us is to eat at home more. Which will necessitate an increase in our groceries budget and pull down on dining out.
** Do you generally budget all household needs in groceries or do you seperate toiletries and such?**


I count everything bought at a grocery store as groceries, even though this includes stuff like cat litter and dog food. I slim down my pet care category accordingly so that it budgets for pet insurance and vet visits only.

Quote:
Something I need to working over is rolling our budget over into the next month. When we see extra in the account we tend to waste it. Rather than balancing out and saying "We have $100 left in fuel. Let's roll it over to the next month, save it or pay down debt..."
Other than general self control any tips in getting into that habit?


I put my entire paycheck into savings and then "top up" my checking account balance every week. I like seeing my savings balance stay high, and then I'm also not tempted to spend money I wouldn't because I know I only have that week's allowance (basically my budget in weekly form) in my checking account. At the end of the month I wipe out my savings account to another one that's higher yield/harder to access (again, to prevent being tempted to spend it). Sometimes I go over my weekly allowance, but I usually find I have extra left.

Quote:
Also… Am I saving enough? I don't feel like I am. I feel guilty about not moving money over manually. I keep second guessing that.


The experts recommend a $1,000 emergency fund, so you're a bit shy of that. I would continue saving until you got to that, and then throw everything else at debt. Like I said, you can always scale back your debt snowball if you run into something that warrants it (though well done for already having a car repair fund), but you may as well take advantage of wiping out interest fees while you have money available to do it.

Quote:
Then I will do something silly like when our A/C went out in our bedroom. (Our landlord covers the unit in our living room, but the others are at our discretion) I put it on our Discover. I fully intended to pull money from savings and pay it off but I have carried it. I guess I justify it by keeing my savings buffer and that the card is currently not earning interest. I don't feel it was the right move, but at the moment it was friggin hot!


Why can't you pay it off now? Or pay that same balance on your car loan, since that is earning a lot of interest. Re: the expense, a 30-day waiting period might be a good idea, and/or set aside a maximum immediate spend. i.e. you can spend up to $20 to fix the problem NOW (buy a box fan, open windows at night, etc), or you have to wait 30 days to implement anything > $20 (replace A/C unit). That way you can try out the cheap solution and if it works, great, if not you've still got the 30 days to decide if there's a better alternative.


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 Post subject: Re: Al's Journey to Fiscal Fitness
PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:43 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:21 am
Posts: 26
Quote:
I put my entire paycheck into savings and then "top up" my checking account balance every week.


I like this idea. So simple but I had never really thought about doing it. We may do this in conjunction with the envelope system. Which we use from time to time. Not as a habit but to reinforce good habits when we get off track.

Quote:
The experts recommend a $1,000 emergency fund, so you're a bit shy of that. I would continue saving until you got to that, and then throw everything else at debt.


Perhaps divert my heavy debt repayment for one month and that will get me close to my $1,000 and then go back to intense repayment. That may be what I do.

Having a different set of eyes on our budget is nice. Helps with some perspective.

I am making some minor changes and hammering out a more debt focused budget. Not exactly going Spartan with our lifestyle but making appropriate cuts.

I realize there is no good reason to be saddled with debt any longer than we have to be. I think of the Dave Ramsey quote "Live like no one else, so that later you can live like no one else..." Ramsey fan or not that's a good mindset to live by.

I dream of paying off our debt and living off of cash. Having frugal habits. Spending our money on quality things that last and experiences that matter rather than paying interest on clothes that go out of style, home decor we get bored with and mediocre meals at Applebee's.
I tell my wife just smile when we pay for our meal with cash or debit and you see our friends or family pay with Amex. And don't worry if others get to Do more while on vacation becuse they put it on a card. They will be paying for those experiences for the next year. We get to take the memories home without carrying interest. I may sound a little smug and self-righteous, but it helps!

Back to point... Revamping some points on the budget.

Cutting down on dining out.
Combining entertainment categories into one "catch-all" for dining out, movies, etc.
Upping debt repayment.
Reviewing last/current months expenses and setting budget for August. Payday is Friday so new budget starts then. (I'm paid 15th and last day of the month. Earlier if that falls on a weekend or Holiday. So that dictates my Day One)

I will post that and see if you guys have any other ideas of where to trim the fat.


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 Post subject: Re: Al's Journey to Fiscal Fitness
PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:09 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:08 am
Posts: 113
AlanR wrote:
Quote:
I put my entire paycheck into savings and then "top up" my checking account balance every week.


I like this idea. So simple but I had never really thought about doing it. We may do this in conjunction with the envelope system. Which we use from time to time. Not as a habit but to reinforce good habits when we get off track.


I tried the envelope system, and it lasted about a week. ;) I just don't like carrying cash, and when I do, I'm likely to spend it on things I might not otherwise (candy bar, lunch out instead of at my desk, etc). I figure this is the digital equivalent of it, since I don't need to carry around the cash, but I can still see when my weekly budget is getting close to $0 and curtail any frivolous spending.

I do add extra in at the start of the month, since that's when rent gets paid, recurring bills get paid, etc. The other weeks are strictly my food/discretionary money in a weekly allowance, though.


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 Post subject: Re: Al's Journey to Fiscal Fitness
PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:08 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 10:59 am
Posts: 255
AlanR wrote:
I tell my wife just smile when we pay for our meal with cash or debit and you see our friends or family pay with Amex. And don't worry if others get to Do more while on vacation becuse they put it on a card. They will be paying for those experiences for the next year. We get to take the memories home without carrying interest. I may sound a little smug and self-righteous, but it helps!


I wouldn't get too self-righteous over that. We pay for all our meals out with our AmEx because we get 5% back on dining out. Since our card is paid off every month, we pay no interest and get free money. Same with groceries and gas (3% back).

My 2 cents, you def need more savings. I know it's hard when you have so much debt and want to pay it off as quickly as possible, but having significant amounts in savings has helped us so much. An unexpected $1200 car repair? Covered.


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 Post subject: Re: Al's Journey to Fiscal Fitness
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:52 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:21 am
Posts: 26
kaitlyn142 wrote:
I wouldn't get too self-righteous over that. We pay for all our meals out with our AmEx because we get 5% back on dining out. Since our card is paid off every month, we pay no interest and get free money. Same with groceries and gas (3% back).

My 2 cents, you def need more savings. I know it's hard when you have so much debt and want to pay it off as quickly as possible, but having significant amounts in savings has helped us so much. An unexpected $1200 car repair? Covered.


Very true. I actually pay a lot of our bills on a rewards card and immediately pay it off. I Know I don't have the discipline to do that with everyday expenses yet. But if we were to have a card with greater rewards (currently 1% cash back) we might do it a bit more. I'm not completely Ramsey-fied to the point that I believe credit of all shapes and sizes is bad. I believe it's a tool, but a tool my wife and I have not used as well as we could have up to this point.

I agree on the EF. I was planning on paying towards debt with some money coming in the first of Aug but last night I decided to put that towards the EF so that we have more padding.

In other news this Friday starts our August budget with a greater focus on debt. My wife is getting on board with this too. She sees how excited I am and is trying to get in the groove with me.

Anyway... will post new budget this Friday with new balances.


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 Post subject: Re: Al's Journey to Fiscal Fitness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:49 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:21 am
Posts: 26
Payday!

This is my Aug 1.

All debts remain the same. This month will begin a greater focus on debt reduction.


After posting the previous budget we had a few changes.

Our rent did in fact go up by $40. I was aware of that happening and had completely forgotten about it.

Rent is now $375.00. Which is still very low in all reality.

We've scrapped mulitiple entertainment budgets and are putting entertainment, dining out, hobbies and shopping into a catch-all.

I am skiddish about pulling my focus from savings like some had recommended. So I am keeping my side job as a DD into savings, but stopping my manual transfers. So we are paying $400 a month towards our card.

That balance is $1477. So roughly 3 and a half months 'til that one is gone and we can have a legit debt snowball on the car.

Ok... Wish me luck.

Accountability with the forum starts.... Now


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 Post subject: Re: Al's Journey to Fiscal Fitness
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:23 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:21 am
Posts: 26
Ok.... So last month sucked.

We blew the budget to shreds.

Personally I am stepping back and retooling a few things.

While I get all giddy working with numbers and the thought of paying off debt and early retirement those things don't work for H.
She likes the idea but saving for retirement is so abstract to her, and the idea of paying $15,000.00 to knock out her student loan feels like such a far away goal.

So beginning this month we are taking a middle of the road debt approach. Rather than shooting for the stars and talking about retirement and saving for a house we are stepping back and setting 5 small goals.

3 are forward thinking and personal finance related. The other 2 are individual fun goals.

Goal 1: Save $1,000 in an emergency fund.
Status: Almost there. $719 as of right now.
I will continue a $20 direct deposit from each of my checks even after the goal is reached, but other money will be diverted to debt.

Goal 2: Pay off Discover.
Status: Balance $1,600.
We were bad. I floated a bill on the card. I am embaressed to even post that. Clearing that up and locking away the card. Can't trust myself with "responsible use for the sake of a cash back bonus" for the time being. We may revisit later, but for now it is off the table. ;( :swear:

Goal 3: Save $1,500 for dental work. :D
H needs her wisdom teeth out. She is currently in braces (free treatment thanks to her employer!) Her wisdom teeth will have to come out before the treatment is up and that will be an out of pocket expense. Luckily it looks like we will get a price break since her employer does a lot of referrals.

Fun Goals! :clap:
Goal 4: Save $200 for new boots for H.
Been awhile since she got something nice. So we are saving specifically for new boots. Maybe 2 pair if we can find a deal.

Goal 5: Save $200 for guitar equipment. :rock:
H refuses to buy something for herself if I do not buy something for me. Isn't that sweet of her? So I get a similar goal. I am excited. Been awhile since I have upgraded anything.

In other positive news. H is now eligible to contribute to her company 401k. That begins next month.
Dollar for Dollar match on the fist 3% and .50 on the Dollar for the next 2%
Next month we will start deferring 5% of her income to the 401k
The investment group has a few different options as far as how to invest our money. Haven't looked at what those are yet. I will certainly be back with some questions soon.

Lemme hear it.... Criticisms. Compliments (doubtful...) Insights.

It's a slow road. It's also difficult to reign in old habits.
I am refocusing. I am becoming more intense. I am also becoming more sensitive to my wife's needs. I can live on rice and ramen, shop goodwill and wear my clothes until threadbare. H can do it, but she doesn't get the satisfaction I do from it.
Not wrong. Just different.


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 Post subject: Re: Al's Journey to Fiscal Fitness
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:23 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:35 am
Posts: 1148
Location: Maryland
You need to find a way to make savings for retirement concrete to your wife. Does she want to eat ramen while you're traveling in retirement becase you saved and she didn't? If so, that's fine, but I have a feeling mama wouldn't be happy with that. What does she want to do if she does choose to retire?

Also, you need to make SMART goals. I hate using that term becase they use it at work all the time, and I hate talking work talk in my free time, but "saving 200 for boots" doesn't mean anything. HOW are you going to do it? Eat out one less meal a week?

I thought you got paid once a month. Saving $20 out of one paycheck isn't going to get you anywhere very quickly. I think you should reassess that number, along with the Discover and student loan payments.

Lastly, next month starts tomorrow. Get her retirement options listed on here, and tell us what you're thinking about putting your money towards. If "next month" starts later than tomorrow, having your choices ready for Day One can never hurt.


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 Post subject: Re: Al's Journey to Fiscal Fitness
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:04 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:21 am
Posts: 26
peachy wrote:
You need to find a way to make savings for retirement concrete to your wife. Does she want to eat ramen while you're traveling in retirement becase you saved and she didn't? If so, that's fine, but I have a feeling mama wouldn't be happy with that. What does she want to do if she does choose to retire?[/quote]

I know you are 100% correct here.

Anyone had luck communicating these things to the free spirit in your life?

We come from totally different money backgrounds. It isn't impossible to be on the same page. I am just working to make this stuff relatable to her.
Part of that is the short term goals... I want her to see the power of savings and delayed gratification. Even if it is on a small scale (i.e. new boots.) And hope to divert that energy and excitement to the long term.

peachy wrote:
Also, you need to make SMART goals. I hate using that term becase they use it at work all the time, and I hate talking work talk in my free time, but "saving 200 for boots" doesn't mean anything. HOW are you going to do it? Eat out one less meal a week?


Understandable. I actually was thinking the SMART thing last night when making plans for the month.

I will make the plan for those concrete. It will have a slot in the budget. She doesn't mind pulling from one category to pad another. But I have a feeling she will want to protect that boot money. Hopefully the principle will carry over to other things...

peachy wrote:
I thought you got paid once a month. Saving $20 out of one paycheck isn't going to get you anywhere very quickly. I think you should reassess that number, along with the Discover and student loan payments.


I get paid twice a month and have some automatically diverted to savings.
A portion to my local bank and a portion to my EF at ING. Currently I am moving both savings deposits to ING to build up the EF. After which I will keep putting in $20 every pay period (twice a month) just to keep building it, but working off the $1,000 as a base. I can divert more money to debt reduction at that point, but I am scared to get out of that habit of moving money ever consistently.

peachy wrote:
Lastly, next month starts tomorrow. Get her retirement options listed on here, and tell us what you're thinking about putting your money towards. If "next month" starts later than tomorrow, having your choices ready for Day One can never hurt.


Will do! I will get the info and post later tonight or tomorrow evening. I am a world class procrastinator. Thanks for the push!


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 Post subject: Re: Al's Journey to Fiscal Fitness
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:47 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:38 am
Posts: 195
So August wasn't a great month for you, but at least you came back and admitted it!

I can relate about the free spirited spouse. It seems like the more I talk about money/saving/retirement, the more my DH gets the urge to go out and spend money. I've learned to limit financial talk with him and get him excited about small goals. That seems to work better for us.

Hope you make good progress on your goals this month!


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