Financial health is important too
If there is one thing in my life that I let bother me a little too much at times, it is our current financial situation. Luckily, my husband is a rock and always tells me “everything will be okay” and I’m finally starting to believe him :)
In fact, we are doing much better than when we first got started together 4 years ago. We’ve payed off one car (2nd one will be in November), settled all of his credit card debt and consolidated mine, and we’ve managed to keep a budget so that we are able to pay all of our bills on time and still have a little bit of fun here and there.
But we have no savings!!
For people who want to buy a house and raise children someday this is just not acceptable. Not to mention dangerous because we all know those “emergencies” (i.e. broken down car) are going to happen, it is inevitable. Unfortunately when this has happened in the past, we’ve had to rely on money borrowed from our parents and/or credit, eek!
One day I finally thought to myself…”If I could be as disciplined with my finances as I am with my healthy eating / exercising, we’d be in good shape.”
This past week, we were on a tight budget at the grocery store. We managed to get everything we needed for the week for $35 when we usually spend $50-70/week on average. What I did was write out exactly how many meals/snacks I needed and then went from there. No extras. I even bought shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent and dryer sheets because we actually needed them. So really, we spent less than $30 on food items!
So, I said “Why can’t we shop like we’re broke every week?” Ah ha! Total light bulb moment.
When a person first begins a new healthier lifestyle, they may list some behaviors that they want to start adopting to help keep them on track: drink more water, exercise 30 minutes a day, take the stairs, etc. So in that same spirit, here are my new steps for the improvement of my financial health:
- Only buy what I need at the grocery store each week – This is tough but it is a must and the place I could see the most improvement. Some people buy shoes, I buy too many jars of peanut butter that I don’t need. I need to go with a list and stick to it. Josh has also agreed we can shop more than one place now to get the best deals!
- Put at least $10 in savings every pay day and don’t touch it – I can put it in, but it almost always comes out. I’m serious when I tell you there is $0.00 in there as I type this. If I had actually stuck to this, I could’ve had at least $260 in there from last year!
- Redefine what counts as a “necessity” - We would all love to have Starbucks every day but it is just not financially responsible. Like the Save Like Me blog writer says “If a designer latte costs about 100 times what it costs you to make a cup of joe at home, think about it: would you pay $1,000 for a pizza?” I believe this should also apply to dining out…sometimes I feel like I’ve paid $10 for something I could’ve made at home for under $5.
- Save some fun money – Josh and I have not gotten new shoes, clothes or other things we actually need in ages (hello, a haircut!) because we spend all our money eating out or on other forms of entertainment. We need to establish some sort of fund that will allow us to get what we need when we need it. Did I mention we haven’t gotten each other birthday, Christmas or Anniversary gifts but maybe once since we’ve been married? Yikes.
- Realize we are not perfect – This isn’t going to change overnight. It took us years to get where we are now and it’s going to take even more to get to where we want to be. And every now and then we’re going to spend too much on something we shouldn’t. But hopefully through this exercise we will be more conscious of our financial habits and make some healthy changes!
Thanks everyone for reading this non-food/exercise related post! There will be more changes, this is just a start.
Do you have any tips for financial health? I’d love to hear them!