Thursday, February 14, 2013

FREEDOM!!!!

All we have to do *now*, is take these lies and make them true somehow, all we have to see-ee-ee-ee, is that I don't belong to you and you don't belong to me *yeah yeah* FREEDOM!! Thanks George Michaels and you're welcome for the song being stuck in your head now.

In October our world was in turmoil and chaos. Our future was unclear and panic set in. Granted panic isn't the most appropriate response unless there is actual danger but for us it worked in our favor...**Brace yourselves for the mother of all digressions**

I am a Pinterest junkie! There I said it! Yes, I have spent many a wasted day on that *evil* site. I love seeing the food, the world, the pictures. Like books, Pinterest takes me away to a land I might otherwise never see, a point in time I wish I could have been a part of, it makes me a culinary Goddess, it appeases my inner gypsy. If you don't know what Pinterest is STAY AWAY!! No seriously, it's like cyber heroin. I've managed to control my time spent browsing but it's still a black hole. I just sat down to look for a recipe for dinner and now it's the weekend. Ok maybe not that bad but pretty damn close. Anyway, my point, so while browsing Pinterest for quite some time I kept seeing the same pin pop up and not from people I know pinning but from the magical, mystical void. I was actually getting annoyed with seeing this pin over and over so one day I decided to click it and see what exactly it was. The picture was of envelopes in a wallet, all prettied out on scrapbooking paper or some shit (yes I'm making up my own damn words since they fit MY damn story!!) Every time I saw that picture I'd think "oh those are cute but how inefficient. I'd hate to have to fish my money out of envelopes every time and what about the coins? They're heavy and would ruin the pretty paper. Besides, who uses cash when you have cards that are soooo much easier?" Following the link led me to a blog. That person talked about how they got onto some cash only system and budgeting and blah blah blah. I skimmed since it barely held my interest. There was another link on that person's blog leading to the final destination of all this financial nonsense. I looked the site over, seemed legit, I decided to try making a budget and that's where they got me! I knew there'd be a catch sooner or later and when I wanted to make my "free" budget online they asked for my payment information. I'd get a free trial period of one week to play around on the site, utilize any/all tools I wished and see if I'd like to go ahead and be charged the $79 for the year's subscription. I thought why not, I can just cancel it in a week, no harm, no foul. I started reading, started listening to the podcasts, started downloading forms and before I knew it I had made a budget, made a list of all our debt as well as the payment plan we were currently implementing. I DID NOT like seeing the projected pay off date on all the credit cards we had and that was assuming you cut your cards up so you couldn't charge anything else to them. The payments we were making weren't the minimum, I'm smart enough to have figured that nugget out on my own, but they weren't enough to make a difference. It would have taken us like 4 years to pay them all off. About a week after I entered my payment information I still had not canceled the subscription. I wanted to see just how well this was going to work (THEY GOT ME!! Sucker...) and then a book came in the mail. I didn't realize I was getting a book also. I read that sucker cover to cover, slowly, to let the flood of information really sink in. When I had finished the book I had a plan. Now to get Daric on board, not the easiest of tasks. 

To make this long story short-ish, we sat down together after the kids had gone to bed, we pulled his paystubs up online and figured out, to the penny, how much he brought home (which surprised us both), we made a budget which was possibly the most stressful thing I have ever done with him. We realized how much money we blew on well nothing! Eating out, random useless shit, you name it we were guilty as charged. We eliminated all of the mindless spending, we cut up every single card we had except our ATM cards, we knew how much we spent paying bills online out of each payday and we figured out how much cash we needed for the rest, the essentials. We made a $0 balance budget meaning we allocated every last cent of his bring home pay somewhere, we have no money just hanging out doing nothing anymore. I cannot sing the praises of the man responsible for getting us on track enough. Yes, I still think that $79 for the year is a sham BUT it keeps us dedicated because WE ARE going to get our $79 worth!! If you're curious to know who this man is, his name rhymes with Rave Damsey *wink wink nudge nudge*. If you already knew what I was talking about good for you or if you're skeptical, trust in his system, I can vouch...it works! 

We went from having 8 credit/store cards to zero. November was our first month of using the all cash system and in 4 short months we are 100% DEBT FREE!!! Even if we didn't use part of our tax return to pay off the last card we would have been debt free next month. You bet your ass that was hard and took LOADS of dedication. I don't know how many lunches I missed out on with friends because it wasn't in my "budget". I can't tell you how much whining I've had to endure from Daric because he wants to eat out or buy something random and useless but it's not in "the budget". In his head we're poor because we "never have any money" but it's the opposite. We have money, plenty to be comfortable, plenty leftover to use on that random, useless shit or eating out BUT I had to break him. Those are bad habits that helped create the debt in the first place. He's not the only one to blame though, I definitely had my part in all of it but I'm also a stubborn, frugal ass so my resolve is a little stronger than his. It has sucked to "limit" our life but none of us ever goes hungry or without what we need. Need, that's the key word. We've had to give up on some wants but I knew how unhappy this house would be if I made everyone sacrifice all their wants so I budgeted for a few wants to keep the peace. I've gotten so good at this budgeting thing that I always have money leftover out of my grocery and gas budgets. I don't want to readjust those budgets since there are times when I need the whole thing, and a little more, but I'm able to make my family happy with the random, useless shit they want with the extra money I find in my pocket every week.

So what was the point of the song at the beginning? Well, in Mr. Damsey's book he touched on what a scam credit cards are and not just for the interest rates on them but mostly the illusion all of us are under that we need credit cards or some sort of revolving credit to be able to get stuff. "We take these lies, and make them true somehow" (George not Rave). It is a lie that we need credit or debt, we don't! Ask your grandparents what their FICO score was when they were in their 20's and they'll laugh at you. (Unless you are a young reader and your grandparents therefore are young. In that case ask a great-grandparent!) They didn't have FICO scores back then, they didn't have credit cards well they did but credit cards weren't for the "common man". They dealt with cash. It HURTS to spend cash. It doesn't hurt to swipe a card that pulls money from some mythical land where money grows on trees and the streets are paved with coins. Only problem is there is no mythical land like that, the money comes out of your bank account, eventually. It hurts me to hand over cash for random, useless shit. It didn't hurt when I was swiping a card. "All we have to see, is that I don't belong to you and you don't belong to me" (again George, not Rave). I had my eyes opened and Daric is slowly getting there as well. I don't belong to debt and now debt no longer belongs to me! I keep my life 'negativity' free, or at least I strive to, and part of that was eliminating debt. Talk about a major negative in every sense of the word! We have a nice chunk of change in our savings account for our pending move since we have to foot the bill until the Army decides to reimburse us, we have ZERO debt so all the money that was being funneled to pay it off now goes to our emergency fund which we were already funneling money to (we were that dedicated, killing two birds with one paycheck), and when we get back to the states the major change we'll be experiencing in Daric's pay won't hurt so bad. We'll be losing more or less $2,000 a month since we won't have all the extra/incentive pay but it won't matter since we won't have debt to pay off. We have our budget, it works even with the lesser pay, and with coupons I'll still be able to save on my grocery trips so I'll still have money leftover to get my family all the random, useless shit they want! Win, win, win!

I started this blog as a way for our friends and family to stay involved in our life. This has been a big part of our life so I wanted to share. I hope you enjoyed your "day in the life of" entry and now for the part you've all been waiting for...PICTURES!!!! Enjoy the barrage of images and as always...
Good afternoon, morning or night where ever you are in the world from our financially fit family to yours.

the little princess

she is beyond perfect!
sang il chu ka hamnida! or happy birthday!


he had a rough night
I get to see this every morning...LOVE!!
showing his sister how to do something destructive



sang il chu ka hamnida
taking in Le Cirque
he is pretty awesome like that

she is pretty awesome like that













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