How To Change Your Finances Without Changing Your Life- Ditch the Plastic!

medium_6757849129

photo credit: 401(K) 2013 via photopin cc

This is the first in a series of seven Friday posts on changing your finances without changing your life too much. Obviously any changes to your financial situation will require some lifestyle changes, but this series is designed to make people more mindful of their habits WITHOUT requiring overwhelming change.

This week’s step is probably the most important, but also one of the most difficult- ditching the plastic in favor of cash. Yes, that even means your debit card! I have been plastic-free for a month now, and it is AMAZING how different my spending habits are.

Now, this does NOT mean that you need to go and cut up your credit cards, cancel all of your accounts, and go off the grid. I still have a debit card and carry it with me everywhere. My husband still has his debit and credit cards. The only difference is that we use only use the plastic to acquire cash at the ATM or to make purchases online.

I’ve found that I have become much more conscious of how I spend my money. It’s so easy to go overboard when using plastic, even a debit card. When I can’t see my wallet physically get smaller, I overspend. By making this one small change I have decreased my excess spending by a significant amount and things between me and my husband have been a lot less tense!

It’s a small change, but it’s one that can change your story and how you view money. Over the course of this series, we’ll be building on this idea of small changes and how they can make saving money easier!

Have you tried going cash-only? What have been your successes and challenges?

Advertisements

Budget Busters

20140301-185150.jpg

My little budget buster- Idris heads to the doctor

Today has not been fun. I was planning a post on meal planning or my basic budgeting, but then my car decided that she wanted to lose a shock. Awesome. So now our budget is off track (because of course this happened before our emergency fund was fully funded), I’m going to miss at least one day at work, and I’m pretty much stuck at home until she’s fixed. Such a bummer.

It’s not all bad news though; there are some blessings coming from this situation. I’ve come down with some sort of cold, so I’m glad I’ll get an extra day or two to recover before I have to go back to work. Neither of the kids that I nanny got hurt by the car breaking (and neither did I, but that’s not quite as important). My in-laws got us a AAA membership about a month ago, which saved us a TON of money on the towing. The dealership that I got the car from is going to be able to fix it for relatively cheap, if not free. And the fact that I was so freaked out meant that the Weatherman stayed up with me in order to help deal with everything, so we spent some much-needed time together.

I think a big part of successful budgeting/living is looking on the bright side when things don’t go according to plan and figuring out how to salvage certain situations. This has definitely been a challenge for me over the last 36 hours! But recognizing where/how you can save money on emergency expenses means that a budget-busting incident won’t put you out more money than it needs to. A few months ago, we would have panicked and just put it on the credit card. Now that we know where our money is, where it’s going, and when we have bills due, we were able to breathe a little bit more and just do a little shuffling of our budget. Unless my mechanic really surprises me, I’m not grocery shopping this week, BUT we have enough food in the house to last through a minor nuclear disaster, so it’s not a huge deal.

Hopefully next week I’ll actually be able to start getting into the real meat of how I plan for my life! In the meantime, appreciate your cars and make sure you’re avoiding potholes!

How does your family deal with an emergency financial situation?

This is the part where I tell you what we’re doing here

Hello, intrepid explorer! My name is Dorothy and this is the part where I give you an idea of what this blog will be about. There will be laughs, there hopefully won’t be many tears, and there will DEFINITELY be food.

My husband (The Weatherman) and I have made a lot of changes within the last year. We graduated from college, moved five hours away from home, got jobs, quit a job, got a shiny new job, and started actually caring about where our money went. Needless to say, these changes have provoked an enormous amount of personal growth as individuals and as a family. We’ve completely changed how we look at food, money, being married, and our faith.

Some things to know before we really get into this journey together- I’m not claiming to be perfect or that my way is the only way. In fact, I’m really new to budgeting, money management, meal planning, cleaning, and being an adult in general. We’re following Dave Ramsay‘s Financial Peace University to help get us on the same page and working on how to communicate effectively about money. That is what I’ll be referencing from whenever I talk about budgets and money things. I promise I’m not a corporate blog! I’m just a private citizen who believes in this process and is trying to follow it as best I can.

And now, because that was quite a lot of reading, here is a picture of my parents’ puppy. She’s the best, most adorable puppy ever.Image

I’m looking forward to really starting this blog, sharing my strategies and successes with you (and, I suppose, my failures), and hopefully learning about what works for other people!