I know what you are thinking: “Wow, Nikki. You guys must really have a lot of fun in your house. Budgeting date night. What a blast.” And I get it. Budgeting gets a bad wrap. It’s boring, restrictive, and uncomfortable.
Unless, of course, you make it fun, empowering, and inspiring. Then, budgeting takes on a whole new life and becomes PERFECT for a date night.
THAT is what we do in our house. We’ve turned budgeting into something we look forward to. It motivates and excites us. We love it so much that we do it to relieve stress and relax. If we haven’t seen each other in a while and want to reconnect, we have a budgeting date night.
It makes us financially stronger, it helps to visualize our dreams and set goals, and every time we have one of our date nights we’re one step closer to getting to our ultimate goal of financial freedom and early retirement.
So are you ready to have the best date night ever? Here’s what you need to do to make it perfect:
Want to find out the best alternatives to Cable TV so you can save a boatload of money and still see all your favorite shows? It’s easier than you think. This post lays out exactly how to watch TV without cable and lists the best cable alternatives that are currently available.
In my pursuit to be financially free, I’ve cut out a lot of things – pedicures, travel, shopping trips, restaurants, gym memberships, new clothes, etc. If it’s an expense, I’ve either cut it, or considered it. So obviously cable had to be put on the chopping block eventually.
What I didn’t realize was that by cutting the cable, I’d actually open myself up to watching way more TV (with no commercials) and save a boatload of money.
Not only is this a smart move to make, but it’s the direction we’re all headed, so you’re not alone. The younger half of the millennial generation doesn’t even sign up for cable when they get their first apartment anymore. So if you’re still paying for cable, you’re not just throwing money out the window, you’re also old. 😉
So what’s the trick to cutting your cable bill without giving up your late night source of entertainment?
I spend a lot of time writing, reading, and studying personal finance and yet I still struggle with good ole’ fashioned budgeting. It often feels boring, depressing, and monotonous. I want to be dreaming, creating, and building! Not cutting back, canceling out, and organizing my spending.
But it’s a necessary evil. And the more I’ve fought it, the more I’ve realized how important it is. Luckily, along the way I’ve found different ways to make budgeting easier…and dare I say, enjoyable. So that’s what I’ve got for you today! 5 different ways to make budgeting easier (and maybe even fun!).
I bet I’m not the first to tell you that if you quit your morning Starbucks habit, you’ll have over $1,000 in your pocket by the end of the year. We all know this, so we’ve all done the same thing. We’ve purchased a Keurig and we make our coffee at home…which means we’re all trying to figure out where to find cheap K-cups.
Even with the cost of K-cups, it is worth keeping the Keurig. The convenience, cleanliness, variety, and ease are unmatched. And like I already said, it IS way cheaper than actually going out for coffee.
So, to keep the habit cost-effective, where exactly can you find cheap K-cups? (And more importantly, where can you find Starbucks K-Cups that don’t cost $1 a pop?)
The Debt Snowball Method is the absolute best way to get out of debt when you have multiple loans pulling you in different directions. This is especially true if you actually want to get out of debt way earlier than scheduled.
Ironically, conventional wisdom tells us to get rid of the loans with the highest interest rate first. But that’s not always the best approach to take, which is where the Debt Snowball Method comes in.
My husband and I used this method to get rid of our student loans and it worked like a charm. We’ve only got one major loan left – the mortgage – and now we can focus all our resources on that.
Related post: 10 Things I’m Doing to Pay Off My Mortgage Early
Here’s what you need to know to make the Snowball Method work for you:
I am bound and determined to pay off my mortgage early. It didn’t start that way, but a few years into the loan my husband and I realized there were just too many benefits to paying it off, so it needed to happen. Since then, the desire to be debt-free has grown, while the loan balance has shrunk.
It’s an amazing feeling to watch this massive loan get smaller and smaller and I can’t wait for the day that it’s over. What’s even more amazing has been realizing that little changes can actually cut off years of mortgage payments. So, of course, when you add up all those little adjustments, you can seriously impact the length of your mortgage.
As with all major endeavors in life, the first step is always the most important, so if want to pay off your mortgage early, take one of these steps TODAY.
Here’s what I’m doing to pay off my mortgage early (and what you should be doing too!):
In my pursuit to pay off the mortgage, I’ve experimented with cutting a lot of costs. To my delight, I’ve discovered that a ton of these things we didn’t even need! In fact, the free or alternative versions have often been better.
Whether you have a financial goal you need to meet or just don’t like wasting, these are the things you need to stop paying for:
Related post: 10 Things I’m Doing to Pay Off My Mortgage Early (and the 1 Thing I Won’t Do)
There are lots of items I would consider absolutely essential as a mom, but honestly there’s only one item I can’t go 20 minutes without and that’s my phone. And it’s not because I’m playing Candy Crush or posting pictures on Facebook. It’s because of the collection of free apps I’ve gathered that tell me what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Ones that calm my baby, put him to sleep, then calm me. And ones that tell me what’s going on outside the world of baby. And for those moments when I do have time to post on Facebook, it makes the process possible (and fun).
I can’t tell you how excited I am at this discovery. I’m a total LUSH bath bomb addict, but as you may or may not know, those things are expensive! They are hands down the highest quality bath bombs you will find, but at $7-$8 a bomb, it becomes a true luxury. I can’t pay that much every time I want to relax in a bath!
When my husband and I bought our first (and current) house, we loved it because we felt like it was the perfect starter home. It is small and cozy and perfect for two people – maybe a little baby too. The plan was to live there for 3-5 years and then move onto a bigger, more spacious McMansion-style home where we’d raise our kids.
We’re now 6 years in and each additional year we seem to dig our heels in further, finding new reasons why our small starter house may actually be our perfect forever home. Because believe it or not, there are some amazing perks to living in a small home.
So before you sign up for 30 years of paying off your mansion, consider these reasons for picking a small house right from the start: