Something Has to Change

It's late as I'm writing this. 1:00 in the morning. Von had a hard time going to sleep, then I had a hard time going to sleep, and then she woke up and now it's after 1 and I'm still awake. But I had to get these thoughts out of my head or else I may never sleep.

Early today I felt that familiar anxiety creep in. The one that I get when I start thinking about money and our finances. It's part of the reason I couldn't sleep, because all I could think about was our debt and how it feels like we're never going to be able to buy a house, or even a second car. Not because we don't have money, because Griffin actually makes decent money, but because our spending habits aren't good.

Something has to change.

I sort of want to laugh because last month I wrote a post all about how I wanted to start a year of less, and even though I wrote it, nothing actually changed. At least, not at first. I still bought things (mostly impulse purchases) and I always felt guilty afterward. Did I really need another notebook? Do I actually need to buy that book when I can just get it at the library? Did we really need to buy that new TV that we've been talking about for years?

But something in my mind and heart has been changing.

We don't actually have a lot of debt. At least not compared to most people. I think we owe about $3000 on credit cards and hospital bills. It's not a lot, at least, that's what part of me tells myself. I see so many people talking about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that they owe and my own debt seems so small.

But it feels so big.

It feels like such a big weight that I'm ready to let go of.

I'm tired of worrying about money. I want to be debt free. I want to build up a better savings and be able to spurge every now and then.

I also want to have a second car (a used one is totally fine!) and a house to call our own. And when I think about the bigger picture, it's easier to skip on the book I haven't read yet, and put it on hold at the library instead. It's easier to exit out of my cart without actually buying something because I have a bigger goal in mind.

I'm not trying to say that these things are bad, but I feel like my consuming habits haven't been the healthiest. And it's time to change. Because something has to change. We've been in the same financial situation (with different amounts of debt) for the last couple of years and honestly I'm just tired. Tired of the debt. Tired of my poor money choices.

I feel really vulnerable sharing this. It seems weird to be talking about money, and yet, I want to because I want to share this journey so that in a few years I can look back and remember when everything changed for me.

Things have been changing for a while now.

I've been thinking about money and our finances all year. One of my big goals for 2019 is to get our finances under control, and even though when I made that goal I didn't really have a plan or make much of an effort, I'm making an effort now.

As I sat down to plan my goals for the month of May, I kept thinking about what Rachel Hollis talks about in her book, Girl, Stop Apologizing. She talks about how we should have big dreams. Lots of them. But how we should work on ONE goal at a time. That really struck me, because I constantly feel like I'm trying to do a million things at once.

All of my May goals are about our finances. Creating a financial plan. Making a budget. Paying off money on a credit card. Finding new ways to earn money to help our financial situation. Not spending money.

I'm ready to change. I'm ready to learn how to control our finances so that our finances aren't controlling us anymore. There's a life that I want to live and stressing about money isn't how I want to live it, so it's time to change.

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Our Own Year of Less

Last month I listened to The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. I found myself inspired by her book and her experiment to see if she could really live on less (and ultimately save more.) Right now, thinking about money makes my stomach turn to knots. I don't want to have this relationship with money, I don't want to be worried about it all the time. But that means that something needs to change. Our spending habits need to change as well as our saving habits. Which is why I've decided to do my own year of less.I've had the feeling to do something like this for a few months now, but I kept putting it off because there were books and other things that I wanted to buy. Once I read The Year of Less though, I knew it was time to take the leap and really see what I (we) could do to changer ou financial situation for good.

What my own year of less will look like.

  1. First I'll be completing the Ruthless Declutter Challenge that Emily Ley hosted last week, so far I've done our pantry (pictures to come soon) but I'm going to finish the rest of the apartment throughout the next month. This means I'll be going through our apartment and I'll be touching every single thing I own, and then decide what to keep and what to donate or toss. Essentially this is my way of Tidying Up, but I'll be keeping only what's best, my (our) favorites, and what's necessary. After I go through everything I'll have a better idea of what we actually have and what we actually need and hopefully I'll also appreciate what we have more.

  2. I'm going to have a spend free year. Now. This may sound a little funny because I'll still be spending money. We'll obviously need to eat and pay rent. We'll be going spending free on the things that we want (mainly books for me and leather for Griffin) but I'm also going to rework our budget so that we are able to pay off our debt faster and save more in the process.

Why I want to do this for a year.

Thinking about doing this for a year *slightly* stresses me out. I keep thinking about all the new books I want to buy and the cute decorations that would make our apartment better and well.. all the things I could spend money on. I want to do this for a year though, I really want to dig deep into myself and change my spending habits. Doing this for just a few months seems too short, which is why I decided to do it for a year. Plus, I realize that it's going to take time for me to change and to recognize the changes. I'm starting now, at almost the end of March because I realized, if I keep putting it off or saying I'll start next month, I'm never going to start. I'm just going to start now.Okay.... now, some rules. (I got this idea from Cait's book, and you can see her rules on her blog here.) I am making one list of things we'll be allowed to shop for/the approved shopping list as well as a list of things we won't be able to shop for.

What we'll be allowed to shop for:

  • Groceries

  • Toiletries, cosmetics, and cleaning products (as needed)

  • Gifts for others (but we will have a budget for this)

  • Diapers + wipes

  • A Simplified Planner (in September)

  • Powersheets

  • Flats for me because I threw out my only pair. (They were falling apart and fairly useless)

  • Boots for Griffin, because Persephone also decided she wanted to eat those

  • We can also replace anything that breaks/wears out that needs replacing.

What we are NOT allowed to shop for:

  • Books + notebooks

  • Leather

  • Electronics

  • Toys for Von (except for Christmas + birthday which will have an approved budget)

  • Toys for Persephone

  • Clothes, shoes, accessories

Giving up shopping for some of these things is going to be tough (like the books... ahh), but last time I counted I had more than 50 books that I own but haven't read. I really want to be better about what we bring into our home though. I want to take a better look at where our money is going and how we can use it in a way that helps us more. Instead of a way that makes me feel anxious when I think about it. I want to talk about what we're doing because I want to show that I realize that buying things doesn't always make me happy and that we can live on less. Sharing my journey is something I feel like I should do, so I will. I don't know how much of Griffin's thoughts I'll be sharing, but I'll share my thoughts and my process throughout the next year.And even though I am slightly nervous, I also feel really excited about this. I'm excited to see where this takes us And I'm excited to see my relationship with money, things, and people change throughout the next twelve months. I want to live with more intention and purpose. Focusing on money habits may not be the way that you would do this, but it's one of my biggest stressors, taking up so much time in my brain and I want to change that, so that I can worry less about money and focus on the people and things that are right in front of me.  You can read more about my financial goals for the year here and here.  

Our Financial Journey

This post was originally written in February 2019.

 Hi friends, I didn't share a post last Sunday because last week I was super sick with the flu (ended up dehydrated and in the hospital) and didn't do much blogging or writing or much of anything. But, I did do a whole lot of stressing about our finances. It's not that we're broke because we aren't. We have a little bit in our savings account, and we do save a little each month. But We are living paycheck to paycheck. And while we're living, it's stressful and not fun and then when you go to the ER in an ambulance (because you sent your body into shock by hyperventilating about the flu) you stress more about all the bills that will be headed your way. 

Why I'm sharing this with you.

 A few months ago, right as I was starting this blog, I felt strongly that I should talk about our finances and our financial journey here. I still have no idea why, and I honestly kept pushing it off, but here we are. I'm going to get real and vulnerable and share all the facts and details and I'm going to share our journey as we move from living paycheck to paycheck to living comfortably, saving, and not stressing about when that paycheck is going to come in. So let's get started. 

My financial history.

 Growing up I was a huge saver. Any time I got cash it went right in my piggy bank and for the most part, it sat there until I went on a shopping trip with friends or I got excited about something. I had a job during the summers in high school, and that money would go into my bank account and mostly just sit. My first semester of college was when I started to spend a little more, but it still wasn't a lot. A splurge for chocolate after a long day at work, getting some chicken wings and wedge fries from the deli on an occasional lunch break. I was tracking my spending and I was earning money and it was all going well. So what changed? Honestly, I've been trying to figure this all out. I feel like once I got out on my own (on my mission and then marriage) I realized that I could buy whatever I wanted! I had money and I could spend it. My problem was that I didn't know when to stop. Oo that book is on sale? Well, I guess I need to buy six more so that I can get that free shipping they're offering. Oh, how about those chips? We can't have just one bag because we'll eat it too fast. Need something quick, hello Amazon Prime. And that is how my savings account dwindled as I spent my money on whatever I wanted. 

Making not so great money choices

 All our lives Griffin and I were taught that we should save, but we got into a habit of saying that we had the money now, so why should we keep saving it? (Oh if I could go back in time and tell my 21 year old self that someday I'd want a house or savings or savings to be closer to buying a house, maybe I would have saved harder and better.) Our big problem was that we knew we should save, but we weren't great at keeping that money in savings. Honestly, this is something we still struggle with. We also moved to a more expensive apartment (just because we could and wanted a change) and then we moved states, breaking our contract early and having to pay a few $1000 in rent because we couldn't find anyone to take over our contract. Ugh. I really don't love renting. Anyway. We made some poor money choices. Now we have some debt (on credit cards and with hospital bills from giving birth and then we'll have some more with my short stay last week.) We aren't in trouble financially, but we aren't in great shape. Money is something I am trying to change my relationship with and it's something that I don't want to worry about all the time. 

So what does this mean?

 I'll be sharing my journey along the way. I'm planning to write about how we are saving money, how to budget (and stick to it, something we really need to do!) and extra ways we're making money. Honestly, I don't know what else will come from this, all I know that it's time to start talking about it. I guess that means there's someone out there who needs my experience and tips as much as I do. Or maybe I just need to learn more about finances and one of the ways I learn best is by writing my experiences. I don't know. This post was messy, but it's the beginning of a journey that I'm excited to go on. One of my goals for 2019 is to cultivate our finances and save save save! And I'm excited to share our journey with you. One last thing before I go, I am hoping to read any and all (or at least a few) books about finances. I've already read Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey (which I highly recommend if you want to start taking control of your finances) and You Are A Badass At Making Money by Jen Sincero. But, I need more recommendations! So, if you have any, please send them my way!

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