On July 7th, I will make the last payment on a debt we've been paying on for 5 years. A BIG debt with a BIG monthly payment. I won't get into specifics on it - I'll just say some if it was our fault and stupidity and some of it was due to other things in my past. That doesn't matter now. What matters now is I get to start over, in a way. I am so excited because I'm going to actually make a budget.
Who gets excited to make a budget? This girl! (And her mother...)
For the entire time we've been paying on this loan, we had a monthly bill list I would follow. See, a budget is telling your money where to go while planning for current and future expenses. Because this payment (and a few medical bills) was so large, we haven't been able to budget in that sense of the word. All I really did was decide which bill was paid with our first paycheck and which was paid with the second each month. We would have a small amount left for food and that was it. Anytime something extra came up, I would have to finagle bills around to try to make it work. And living that way stinks!
So, July begins the rest of my life of FREEDOM! As the scripture above says, when you owe money to someone, you are a slave to them or to that debt. It keeps you in chains and weighs on you. It is always there and breaking free is hard. Really hard. Through the process of paying off this debt, we had months where we would think "If we'd just filed bankruptcy, this would have gone away" or "Poor me...blah, blah, blah". But those days are gone, people! We paid what we owed, didn't ruin our credit in the process and we survived.
I'm not sure if you all live on a budget. If you do, stay on it! If you don't, why not? Budgeting takes discipline, effort, and commitment. It's not always easy to say no when something screams "BUY ME!". But, you can do it. And so can I. I'm so excited to sit down this weekend and tell my money where to go and not the other way around.
You may not agree with him on everything, but Dave Ramsey has great budgeting advice. He suggests using an envelope system and using cash only. We haven't done that all the time in the past, but we have been trying to stick with that lately. It works! It's much harder to hand over a hundred dollar bill than it is to hand over a debit card. You don't feel the loss of your money with plastic in hand. I am currently working on a new envelope system for my wallet and I'll share pics of that when I'm done.
If you're new to budgeting or your money is out of control, educate yourself! I would suggest this book:
One final thing.... Just imagine what you can do when you have money and aren't struggling! Check out this article where folks are telling their money what to do... and it's fun!
Alright, I'm off my soapbox for today, folks. I am far from perfect in the budgeting department, but I'm learning and getting better as I go. I want you to come on this journey with me. Let's get rich together, ok?