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envelope system

Making changes to your envelope system

envelopes

I am such a fan of the envelope system. The FIRST step we made in starting this Debt Free Process was to start living on cash. We had done it some in the past but never stuck with it 100%. We both agreed to jump in with both feet!

I’ve mentioned before the envelopes that we use. After I traded my car, I did not need as much in the gas envelope. My husband’s fuel is covered through his work so the envelope is only for me. I realized after a few weeks that I had a LOT of cash leftover in that envelope… BUT, we had really gotten into trying new food at home and were spending more at the store. Easy fix! But– I still took time to read on Dave Ramsey’s website to see what he would say. πŸ™‚ Once I had his permission {I know, I know} to make this change, I did it.

The cash we take out each month is still the same amount BUT it gets divided up differently. Make those changes! YOU are in control! Perhaps your family requires a TON of money for food but you live in a place where you take the bus? Or maybe you only have one vehicle. That’s OKAY!

I’ve mentioned my Love/Hate relationship with DR before… and part of the reason is that he comes across as though there is no margin for error, or change. I want to do it RIGHT and let’s face it- Dave Ramsey has this down to an art! So I was struggling with swaying from the “plan.” Make the plan your own! You know what your needs are and you HAVE to take those into full consideration on this “plan.” The PLAN will NEVER work if you aren’t on board. And it’s HARD to get in board when it seems so rigid, right?! I know I felt that way! I don’t anymore.. I have made peace with making changes. InΒ  some areas I follow his plan 150%, but in others, well, my husband and I don’t agree with them. {Mainly the emergency fund… DR says $1000 and we say we want it to be more to feel comfortable.}

Make it your own. Take each step and apply it in the BEST way to fit your NEEDS!

Thanks for reading!

For Now,

Cara Roxanne

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Going through the Big D…

And I don’t mean Dallas. Or Divorce.

DEBT!!!!!!

Debt will drown you, suffocate you, beat you up, ruin your marriage, wreck your life, and cause discontentment like you have NEVER known before.

Debt will KILL you…emotionally, physically and financially.

Okay so you think i’m being intense? I get that… maybe the WOW factor will work for me like it does for Dave Ramsey? Nah… i’m being extreme. But Debt… guys, it has GOT to go.

The day we looked at our debt.

debt

So I mentioned before that in a long car ride my husband and I had a true/intense conversation about debt. We were listening to Dave’s podcast and discussing topics he was covering that day. We decided that we were FINALLY on the same page and wanted to do something about our debt. Here’s the thing… like many people in the world, our debt doesn’t really effect us. Together we make a comfortable living and having a few credit cards, car payments, and student loan debt is not something that keeps us up at night. {All the praise to HIM for He has blessed us beyond what we deserve.}

That being said… we decided a year ago to become faithful tithers. We have been tithers before but somehow along the way we slacked. I’d forget to bring the checkbook, promise to double up next month, and just forget. Then I felt like I couldn’t pay off my debt to God so I kinda felt defeated and didn’t want to tithe anymore. We decided in our spiritual lives and walks with the Lord that we wanted to get back to tithing. So we made that a goal this year. It’s been wonderful! I can honestly say that I have not missed the money we are tithing on. When I stop and LOOK at my budget I recognize that a large chunk of our money goes to the church… but when it comes down to it, we aren’t missing it. And praise the Lord for that! He has allowed us extra income when we needed it and He has been faithful to us as we are attempting to be faithful to Him.

My point… while our debt doesn’t keep us from living life, through the process of tithing and wanting to be Godly with our money, I began getting convicted about our debt. This topic came up during the long car ride {i’m such a baby… it’s only 4 hours but WAHHHH! I hate that drive} we began talking seriously about working on our debt. So we started!

We wrote down ALL of our debt. House, cars, student loans, credit card, furniture card…anything we could think of! That was scary! To see the bottom line of how much we OWE people was scary. Sure, we can pay our monthly bills but I don’t want to OWE anyone anything! In reality, it is partially a way of life (Don’t scream at me DAVE RAMSEY!) We couldn’t have bought a home and paid cash for it. We couldn’t have paid cash for our vehicles. For us at least, having some debt was “normal.” But like Dave says… having debt IS normal… BE WEIRD! I want to be weird. Weirder than the day is LONG!

Back to it:

Write down all of your debts.

Write down the minimum payments

Start from the smallest to the largest ignoring interest rates

Go to town!

We were fortunate to get a nice Christmas ($$) present from my parents. They may or may not be happy to know that we used that to pay off small bills. I had a TJ MAXX card that carried a small balance (Why not– for every $100 I spend I get $10 gift cards!… gosh i’m dumb) I had a Victoria’s Secret card that carried a fairly small balance (But I get a free pair of panties every month when I spend $10) and so on… we were faithfully making payments each month to two medical related events and we paid those off as well. Oh and Verizon [don’t get me started on how we ALL pay full price for our phones and they screw up before they are paid off]. We paid off that as well.

We took that Christmas gift and paid off 5 creditors!!!!!! So now…

I take the minimum payments from each of those and pour those over into the next creditor. It looks like this:

VS- $27 monthly

TJ- $35

Doc 1- $50

Doc 2- $50

Cell phone: $42

So now I have $204 dollars “extra” each month to pay on the next creditor. That creditors minimum payment is $116. Now I pay them $320 a month which means I am more than doubling up each month. That is how the snowball is created. This month we will pay that creditor off and then take $320 to roll over in the next creditor which has a minimum payment of $111. Once we reach the point of working on this one we will have $431 to pay each month… that’s how you get it done!

I will say that ANYTHING extra we have received this month (husbands bonus from work, sold a few things on eBay) we have applied to our debt snowball. What’s so crazy is that with each thing we have paid off up snowball has grown but so has our momentum!! I guess that’s the point Dave Ramsey has been making for years. Sure-you could start paying off debt by looking at the highest interest rate but by attacking the big ones first, but it is the momentum that keeps us going! We are celebrating with each payment and enthusiastically checking the balances of our debt and our accounts to see if there is something left over for us to use toward debt.

If you are JUST beginning to even think about changing financial habits let me tell you that as corny and crazy as this all sounds– it’s kinda been fun! I am constantly looking for ways to shave off money in my grocery budget. I’m finding things to do around the house to avoid taking a quick trip somewhere. (I want there to be money left in my gas envelope so I can go to Starbucks!!) It’s kind of a game, and it’s a challenging one.

I am consistently reading financial blogs and making notes of things to try. Maybe that’s how my blog can be for you. Take what works for you and throw the rest away!

We still have our things that we will NOT give up. I’ll write about those later. But I say that to encourage you. If you are thinking that getting out of debt and living on a budget means you NEVER have any fun– I want you to know that you are WRONG! I want you to hear someone who is living it tell you that I still have fun! We went to the movies Friday night with some friends and had a blast. And we had popcorn and coke too πŸ™‚ I’m not giving up every single thing in life that I love in order to get out of debt. But I AM willing to make true sacrifices NOW so that I won’t have to LATER.

Thanks for reading.

For now,

Cara Roxanne

 

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