The rest of our story is post completing Financial Peace University...
Living Off 1 Income & Budgeting:
Once we worked the numbers, figuring out how much we had coming in versus going out, we knew living off 1 income was cutting it close but was possible. Cory’s take-home pay a month could cover all our monthly bills and still give us enough for food, gas, various necessities; but not much wiggle room for anything else lol So in January of 2017 we started the year with every penny I made going into our savings; only intended to pay off debts. The first 3-4 months were easily the toughest. Learning to say no to invites, deny myself of Target runs or any unnecessary shopping, even eating out. Shopping at new places like Aldi (which I live and breathe now) and looking for hot deals everywhere. We didn't do much of anything unless we could say it fell into the "hot deals" category. But we knew it would eventually become easier, it was just making it through those first few months.
I think I was most impacted by this life change, I’m a spender by nature and a total free spirit (FPU Term) when it comes to our finances. So this pretty much turned my life upside down! I struggled with accepting that this was our life now. Seeing our friends doing awesome things without me? Ugh, that stinks! There were days where I hated it. I could not believe I had agreed to this ridiculous budget system. Was it even going to work?! 1-2 years seems like an eternity away when those shoes I really wanted were on sale. I know my reservations and stubbornness put a strain on our marriage. Getting me to even show up to the first few budget meetings without scrolling Instagram and being completely distracted was a win in my eyes, but I wasn’t really being fair to Cory. I also had a bad habit of viewing him as the gatekeeper of the money. Which was the most absurd thing I have ever created, but still I created this monster of an idea. Basically, I had some control issues lol I did not want to submit to the idea that we were living a new lifestyle. I still wanted to do what I wanted, when I wanted and with MY money. But this is where I had it all wrong. He was never the gatekeeper, the man never even had the dang keys! Why? Because it was our money that had ultimately been given to us by our Creator. I needed to completely shift my way of thinking if this thing was ever going to work; if we were ever going to be successful. It wasn’t until about a month in when I had finally hit my acceptance level and turned my way of thinking around. It was at this time that I took the idea of leaving my then job of 3 years more seriously. I needed something more reliable, something that gave me my quality of life back, something that offered us a better future. So in April of 2017, I took a brand new job completely outside of my previous healthcare field with the hope of financial freedom in sight.
My new career was completely a movement of the Holy Spirit, really a slap in the face to me. God was saying Jill wake up and recognize what you've been given here. Taking this new job put us in an even greater position to save money; Cory and I were able to carpool which saved us tons of gas. We now work in the same building for different companies in downtown Kansas City. My career change wasn't a financial gain but it was a quality of life gain.
With time, budgeting became easier. We held budget meetings every payday on our lunch breaks in the 7th-floor cafe. We both would bring our needs and wants for that time period and we'd work through every dollar. We would discuss our bills due, what would be left over, what needed to go into savings and what we could apply towards other payments. I eventually let go of the idea what my money is being used for xyz and his money was being used for abc. It was our money and we have 1 mutual goal, get out of debt but still have a life. Yes, we completely denied ourselves of things but we didn't live dirt poor for that entire time either. When a debt was paid, instead of doing the debt snowball (another FPU term) we chose to take those newly available resources and give them back to ourselves. We didn't see those resources until about month 4 when we paid off our first car loan.
Paying off that 1st debt, man that was a FEELING!! I remember even the bank teller who accepted my check congratulated us. We paid off Karl (my Kia) and he was officially ours. Karl was our first big purchase together and it really helped jumpstart my credit. But now, driving him has a different feel. We worked so hard to make that happen and then it did, a real dream came true. And I'll be honest, I was hooked on that feeling...
(Circa 2012 when we bought Karl while home on Christmas break)
The Free Spirit