The Most Daunting “F” Word: FINANCES

Exactly one week ago, I told you about 2014 being MY Year of the “F” Word. A day later, I dove into “F” Word #1, and the meaning of it’s placement in my life in 2014. Next, I explained why I included The BIGGEST “F” Word of them ALL: FAMILY (because they are kind of a big deal). What next?

Disclaimer: As mentioned in my first post on the subject, my “F” Words are not listed in terms of relevance to me, and neither will they be explained in any particular order.

#3: Finances. Not something I ever thought I would have a hard time with. Ever.

I have been listening to the Dave Ramsey show in the car with my mom for years. I saved up as much money as I could prior to college so that I would have some spending money. I lived at my parents’ house following college for nearly 3 years to save enough money to move out while also being ahead. I should have thought more about the “saving money” part while there, because I didn’t come out with as much in savings as I anticipated.

Especially with a wedding coming up.

So, as you may have read in a number of my posts, I recently moved out of my parents’ home. And I have this wedding on the horizon. Timmykins and I are paying for it (for the most part) on our own. My parents have generously offered to help out, but I want to take care of it as much as possible. With his bonus being a little less than anticipated, and my not putting myself on a spending fast (as of yet), we aren’t quite where we want to be for the wedding…2 1/2 months out.

AND at this point, I won’t have that cushy nest egg when we are finished paying for this big ole shebang that I have right now, as my savings account became my wedding account.

Should I have stayed living with my family until the wedding? Probably. But I really wanted to live on my own for the first time in my life (if even just for a few fleeting months), I am getting a pretty good deal where I am staying because it is a good friend renting it to me, and now, Timmykins and I have a guaranteed place to live for after the wedding (at least until my friend moves home and wants his digs back, which is up in the air for now 🙂 ). Should I have gone on a spending fast way before now? Yes. But: CHRISTMAS.

I had a bit of a meltdown at marriage prep weekend this past weekend – not the place to have a meltdown – and hyperventilated going over how little I will be able to contribute to the wedding in my coming paychecks. So, I made a plan to put a specific amount of money directly into the wedding savings account every time I get paid, and to only pull money from that account for the wedding. When Timmykins and I mapped it out, we are going to be able to save just about the amount we need come wedding time. PHEW!

But then, what about AFTER the wedding?

This is my 2014 financial plan: Build & Maintain. Only, after March 21st, I must focus on two of us.

After the wedding, I will continue on a little spending fast (no impulse buying, eating healthy and not buying a bunch of snacks or fast food, keeping the bills down as much as possible) in order to:

A. Build the emergency nest egg back up 
B. Continue to pay off my student loans. I am officially announcing that I will have these paid off by December 2014 (I THINK I can, I KNOW I can).
C. Save up enough money to take a family trip abroad this summer (if my parents see fit) as well as honeymoon in the fall. Comfortably.
D. Keep Timmykins on track to save more than he spends
E. If we see fit, combine our checking accounts into one. Ahhh, married life 🙂

So, now that I have laid that out in front of me for the first time (thank you, readers, for the motivation!), I can more carefully plan, and DO! This “F” Word could constantly have me going “OH F***!!”, but with a little budgeting based on what I KNOW lies ahead, as well as all of the unknowns, I can keep my head on straight.

And so can you!

What are YOUR 2014 Financial Plans?

❤ The RoaminTwin

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Spring Cleaning

Hello, Happy People!

Today, let’s talk about cleaning. Though probably one of my least favorite subjects – an organized mess is a work for genius, no? – it is time for all of us to do some Spring Cleaning for our finances sake (me included). It’s time to clean, simplify, and organize. And heck, if we light a fire under our own behinds, maybe this could cross over into every day life! (maybe)

1. Gather all of your bills, statements, and pay stubs (medical, banking, or otherwise) into one area. It can be a binder or a box. I wouldn’t suggest a drawer. I have tried that and it is still a disheveled mess. If you are feeling up to it – and TRULY, it will only help – make a tab for each type of bill, OR a tab for each month.

If you are feeling a little frisky, scan all your documents into the computer! Insert: oohs and aahs!

2.  If you haven’t already, sign up for online billing and bill pay to as many places as you can. Not only is this environmentally friendly, it is also more efficient and will prevent the loss or delay of a bill or payment in the mail. Plus, you can sign up for bill pay reminders or automatic withdrawals.  Just keep track of what is being pulled out of your account ALWAYS, and make sure no one is shafting you!

3. Resolve to spend less.  Do you really NEED to eat lunch out 3 days a week? Are you close enough to work to ride a bike or walk? Can you take shorter showers and unplug/turn off electronics when they are not in use? Do every little thing you can to slice spending.

However, don’t forget about living, fun, or yourself. Just cut spending in other areas so that you can save up for that night out on the town, or retirement even! I know I have been stashing money for travel, and boy does it add up!

4. Budget. Budget. Budget.

I cannot stress this enough. And honestly, once you get the hang of it, the stress of money will wash away and you will wonder why you never did it in the first place. Create multiple checking accounts, or use an envelope system; whatever you feel is right for you. It will take a couple of months testing the waters to see how much you should budget for each area of your life. Some examples include: Loans, Car, Food, Entertainment, Phone.

Just do it.

5. Another “just do it” item? Sell your crap! And guess what? This crosses over into the TRUE Spring Cleaning. I just helped drive 3 car loads of clothes to my friend’s new home. The problem? 2/3 of the cars were solely filled with her clothes! If you are strapped for cash or want a little extra spending money, sell gently used clothing. There is a multitude of avenues: online swap shops, craigslist, ebay, garage sales, friends. You can even donate them for a tax deduction (just make sure you get a receipt)!

This applies to many items: too many dishes, picture frames, purses, scrapbooking supplies, electronics in good condition? Just put a little effort into cleaning them up, putting the word out, and parting ways.

 

Dreaming about the day when you can have your finances in order can really bring your mood down, stress you out, and take up a lot of your precious time. With a little organization and a lot of will power (YOU can do it, Water Boy!), get yourself in check, and get HAPPY!

I know I am 🙂

❤ The Roamin Twin