Soooooo…. as I was kindly reminded a couple days ago…I haven’t blogged since February 2nd…oops! But seriously thanks so much to the three people who reminded, encouraged, and inquired about me blogging! I really do need that…obviously!!! And I apologize to all three of you people reading this…hehe. For some reason the time just got away from me. I’ve had two blogs planned in my head since February 2nd… so there really is no excuse.
Anyway I wanted to write a little blog about what Luke and I have been doing to continue faithfully on this debt paying journey, but not completely isolate ourselves from friends, family, and well, frankly fun! As I mentioned before we plan in our (twice monthly) budget money for eating out, date nights, and personal “spend however you want” money, but there are somethings that don’t fit in any of those categories, pop up when we’ve already spent our budgeted money, or are just too expensive to fit in them. When that happens we have three choices: abstain from the activity, spend money that is supposed to go to student loans, or find it somewhere else.
We’ve made all three choices at different times. Recently we’ve tried to abstain when we need to…there was a specific Sunday a week or so ago where we had to say no to lunch with some friends after church and it SUCKED!!! But it was what needed to be done. So we sucked it up and did the RESPONSIBLE thing (I lecture 7 years olds daily on being responsible so I thought I should try it ;).
And on a couple
bad days we made the irresponsible choice of spending money that should have been for student loans. Thankfully those have been few and far between. The irresponsible choices we made were on very small things and just as a note I’d like to be the first to say that those little tiny unplanned purchases add up and cause the most trouble (that cup of coffee, a quick dinner, or the like). These things usually happened if we ran out of budgeted money for that area of spending or forgot cash at home. Mostly we’ve been trying to find the money other places to escape those little deadly purchases and to save for any big things we really want to ddo.
One of the BIGGEST and most helpful ways we have been able to do this is by planning ahead of time. This month we had two things that we REALLY wanted to spend money on that we didn’t have money for: go on a weekend trip to a cabin at Hume with some of our dearest friends and doing something to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We knew in advance that we were going to do both of these things so we were able to plan for them. So instead of taking money away from student loans to go and do these things we decided to take money each week from our cash that we pull out each pay period and set it aside.
*Side note: We use the envelope system. This is where we pull out all of the money, in cash, we plan to spend that pay period from our bank account, except for bills. All of our bills are paid through automatic withdrawal or we plan them online the day we do the plan for that pay period. The rest of the money comes out of the bank in cash and is put in a labeled envelopes (groceries, gas, date night, dogs, eating out, etc).
Back to our regularly scheduled programming…. so each week I went into our envelopes and took $10 or $20 dollars from the gas, groceries, eating out, or miscellaneous money and put it in a special envelope for our trip. We hardly noticed the money missing and in the month or so that we did this we were able to save enough money to go on the trip! It was such a fun trip and such a blessing to be able to spend quality time with people we dearly love…and we did it without dipping into our student loan money at ALL!!! Whoo HOOO!
For Valentine’s Day we did something similar, but instead of taking money out of other envelopes we just went on less or cheaper dates to save money. Then took the extra date money we saved to buy a nice dinner and dessert! We ate yummy food, watched cheesy romantic movies, ate more dessert and chocolate than should be allowed, and such for no extra money!
As for those dangerous little purchases that are made when the budgeted money for that category runs out…like I said earlier we’ve been trying to abstain or we have again taken money from other envelopes to make room for any area that we overspent in instead of taking money that should go to paying off the student loans.
I am trying to be creative and prayerful in all that we do with money so that we can optimize saving, fun, and servicing others. It has been very exciting to find ways to still participate in fun stuff! Let me know if you have any fun or creative ways to still have tons of fun and payoff debt.
With all that in mind there are still situations that can’t be planned for and must be paid for… more on that later.