Thursday, September 8, 2011


 Did the title totally turn you off? Or are you jumping up and down for some finance/budgeting secretes?  Well, I am most defiantly not an expert, but I recently listened to a speaker who is a finance expert. I thought I would share some of the nuggets that struck me.

BUDGET! BUDGET! BUDGET!  This is the first step you MUST make. He said most people who are well off don't spend their money like crazy. Guess what!?! If you can't learn to spend less then you make, then no matter how much you make, it will never be enough. The more you make, you will just spend more and buy more expensive things. Discipline yourself to make and stick to a budget.

Don't know where to start or how to make a budget? Go HERE and HERE (click on Family Finance Pamphlet). It will get you started. When hubby and I were starting a budget, we tracked everything we spent in 1 month. Gas, food, power, housing, water, car, etc. Then we were able to know how much to allot to each category. Now we write EVERYTHING we spend down under each category so we can see if we are staying within our budget.

What area should you focus on most? Building a savings or getting out of debt. He said both. Don't neglect either one because you are in debt because you most likely (but not always) didn't have a savings to begin with.  Being in debt can feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. It never sleeps and can keep you from sleep too. Need help in knowing how to get out of debt? First make a budget and stick to it. Then go HERE and look at page 5 to learn how to set up your own personal debt reduction plan.

One of the things that rang true for me was when he talked about student loans. Sense hubby recently graduated from medical school I can look back and see how this affected others. We had friends who took out as much student loan as they possibly could. Soon they had new furniture, purchasing fashionable clothing for children and themselves (don't' get me wrong, I love to look good, but is it really necessary to buy only name brand clothing from the GAP, Nostrums, etc.) buying brand new cars (the reasoning was "we HAVE to buy a new car because hubby needs a car for his rotations") BUT a used and inexpensive car works just as well:) The list goes on. Needless to say it will bite them in the butt when the time comes to start paying those loans back. Hubby and I were very frugal and took out the bare minimum in student loans. His student loan payment was extremely higher then I had expected. Just remember you will have to pay it back sooner or later. I am soooooo grateful we were smart because I can't even begin to image what the payment would have been had we been like everyone else. Because let's face it, residents don't make very much.

Something I have learned is there is a lot of pressure to 'keep up' with the Jone's. We use to have a very old crappy television. People would constantly comment on how we should get a new tv sense hubby had graduated. It didn't stop there, why don't you get new furniture, why don't you do this or that. People were constantly pressuring me to upgrade. BUT I didn't listen because I knew our finances better then they did. When hubby's car broke down, I was glad I hadn't listened. When a freak freeze killed our plants, I was glad I didn't listen. When our AC needed fixed, when our garbage disposable broke, I was glad I didn't listen. The list could go on and on, but I won't bore you. You never know what will happen. Do I have the most glamorous house, no, but it is comfortable, decorated a little, and totally functional. I feel secure and peace in the knowledge that should anything happen, we will be able to weather the storm. And that is what financial stability is all about.

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