Early this summer, Chaz found a little something called financial independence(aka FI). I’m not going to get into the full details of it now, but it requires you to be on a fairly strict budget. My husband, thinking I could read his mind, (I mean most husbands assume their wives are mind readers I’m sure) hopped onto the Choose FI train and expected me to jump too without knowing anything about it. I was completely lost. The result? We fought. A LOT.
If we got too many groceries, we fought. If we bought the baby a new jacket, we fought. If we bought anything for the house, we fought. Our budget was consuming our marriage and I had no idea what was happening. It was the worst fighting we had ever experienced in the 13 years we have been together. I was completely lost, shed a few tears, and didn’t know how to move passed this hump in our marriage. I prayed through my tears for some kind of an answer and seemed to get nothing.
FINALLY, after two weeks of this, I told him to show me SOMETHING that would help me understand where he was coming from. He told me to read an article he had found from Mr. Money Mustache and that was all it took. I was on board. Mostly just to stop the fighting, but I also knew it would be good for our family and a fun journey for the two of us to embark on together.
The beginning of our journey to increase our financial state was to set and stick to a budget. The first thing to decrease was our grocery bill. We decided that I was too much of a wanderer in the grocery store (I reeeeeally like food ok?) so Chaz took over the shopping for our groceries. Being the control freak I am, I HATED this. What if he didn’t get the right stuff?! But I soon realized I was only freaking out over which brands he was buying and told myself how stupid that was. Now, I LOVE that he does the shopping. Going into the grocery store was always hard for me with our dog in the car and our one year old in tow.
The next thing we started looking over were the small bills like iTunes and HBO that weren’t really necessary. (We will turn our HBO back on when Game of Thrones returns. Don’t worry.) We found that we were spending almost $200 a month from monthly purchases from iTunes. $200!! We cut all of that way down to almost nothing.
We then set a couple budgets for each other that we could spend whatever we wanted to on. This part can be a little hazy at times. I’m generally pretty organized and keep track of every purchase I make in order to stick to my own budget. But, when you give yourself a little leeway, you brain can sometimes take over and want it all. I have to really be careful about what I’m buying and really think twice about whether or not it is a need or just a want. Something I’ve found that works for me, is I keep the object I want in my tabs on my phone and I just leave it there. I go back to it a couple days later, and if I still feel like it is a need I will then buy it. This way I’m removing the impulse out of buying. There are lots of times when I go back that I realize I really don’t need that certain thing and I erase it.
Just by going through some of these things we cut our monthly spending almost in half. Just that alone made this little journey worth it; knowing that we weren’t just blowing our hard earned dollars on something we never even saw or used. There are a few more things we’d like to cut back on, i.e. our car payment that is relatively high and it doesn’t need to be. We don’t need the nicest, most expensive car to be safe and get us from point A.
I’m not saying that everyone needs to join the financial independence train and start shutting your cable and heaters off, but it may be beneficial to just look at the bills you pay and items you mindlessly spend money on and ask yourself are they actually adding value to your life? We save around 35-40% of our income a month that we were just spending on non value items before, with a goal of saving closer to 50% eventually. We still have some discussions on our spending like any married couple, but being on the same page and going down the same path together when it comes to money is empowering for each of us and it connects us even closer together.
Life is full of adventure, why not turn your money into one too?
Thanks for being here,