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I wasn’t always this budget savvy girl you see in front of you today. I did what a great percentage of Americans are guilty of, spending out of my means. I was a proud 20 year old when I bought my house, bought my first car and established credit. Of course with credit came those rectangle pieces of plastic, “credit cards”. Sure, at the time the promise great things with incentives and of course not having to pay at the time. It was easy to take vacations or buy high priced things and just plan to “pay it off”.
In time, these became my enemy. I remember realizing that after continuous payments the interest items we were buying were really costing us a lot more than they should have. Why the heck did I pay in credit and spend more when I could have just paid cash?! In time, I had to learn patience. I had to learn how to save. After the credit cards were paid I vowed, no more credit. My main source of monetary payment would be cash only.
Over the years with patience I developed the ability to save. By saving money, we were still able to take vacations and buy the items we wanted but it just took longer. Not only were we credit card free but our items were ours, from our money and I didn’t have to worry about who I had to pay for what. It’s a feeling of being free! Another thing that I had to teach myself through self discipline was saving when big payments came in, such as our tax refunds. As much as I would have loved to have taken those refunds and gone shopping, I just couldn’t! However, by saving we had an emergency fund when we needed it and we were still able to live within our means with that money saved up!
One thing that helps our family is we let our kids get involved and we have “jars” for what we are saving for. Just recently we were able to take a vacation to Disney, using just cash! We took our jar of dollars and change that we had saved up for about a year and made it happen.
Paying myself first, you’ve probably heard this before. I pay myself whatever I can and put it away in savings, I then use the rest for our regular banking needs (bills, groceries etc).
Spending within our means ~ If we don’t have money for it or it isn’t in the budget in the near future, it’s not happening! We don’t spend a lot on eating out, shopping for extra things etc.
The rest is basics; cooking at home, couponing, thrift store shopping and just being cheap! Who said being cheap has to be a bad thing?!
You will probably never hear me tell you about credit card incentives, I just can’t recommend something I wouldn’t do myself though the ways of your finances may be different. It works for me!