Friday, January 9, 2015

Starting our Baby Steps to Financial Peace

This month we are starting baby steps in our journey to become debt free. The month did not start out as I wanted. I wanted to have a meal plan for the month prepared before the first of January. I wanted to have our budget outlined for the month of January by the end of December. Neither happened. Instead, we ended up with a bug going through our house that has lasted almost two weeks.

I am not letting any of this get me down or stop me. I'm starting to feel better, so I am getting things together and organized.

First, we have written down all of our debt. Everything from our mortgage to our smallest credit card. It is a big number. Bigger than I wanted it to be. But I know it will not be that big for long! We have established an amount we want to stick to for groceries and gas. We are going to go month by month. If something isn't working, we'll add or subtract depending on what is needed.

We are going to build up our $1000 emergency fund first. I honestly thought it was going to take forever to save up, but after reading Dave Ramsey's book, I realized it was not a money problem I was having, it was a willingness problem. We spend a lot of money eating out. It doesn't seem like it when we do it, but it adds up over the month.

One area I have realized that I need to work on is meal planning. I am going to start out planning two weeks at a time. I'd like to get to where I have the entire month of meals planned, but I am not taking that on right now. As part of my meal planning, I am going to start freezer cooking again. In the next weeks, I am going to build up my freezer. I am going to start by making large batches of beans, rice and muffins. Another way to build up my freezer is that I double meals as I prepare them and freeze half. So far I have made spaghetti sauce and cheesy potatoes. Next weeks meal plan includes homemade split pea soup. I will double the recipe and put half in the freezer for a quick meal down the road. It is my hope that meal planning and stocking my freezer will keep us from eating out as much as we have in the past.

After the $1000 emergency fund has been established, our next step will be to work on paying off our credit cards lowest to highest. Once one credit card is paid off, we will snowball the amount we paid on that debt each month into the payment of the next lowest amount credit card. We will continue this until all credit cards are paid off.

We are changing our way of thinking. It is difficult, but my husband and I are on the same page and we will do it together. We want to be financial responsible now and become debt free so our children will grow up with a different way of thinking about money. We don't want them to think debt is just something you have to have.

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