Money freaks me out!

So I was in the shower the other day thinking about money, pretty much like I do most every minute of every day. Stressing about it, worrying if there is enough, wondering where it’s going to come from, and how much more is accumulating because of interest.  It was during my shower, being a wife and mother it’s about the only “alone time” I get, that I stared to wonder why does money make me so anxious? And is this affecting my overall view on money and debt?

The long and the short of it is..…yes, money terrifies me and it totally affects how I view money, how I earn money, and how I spend money. So how do I turn this around?  I made a decision that day in the shower that I am no longer going to be scared of money and let this debt control my life! My husband and I are in charge of our money and we are going to start making our money work for us and take control back of how our money comes in and how it goes out!

All that being said…..we absolutely SUCK at budgeting!!! We sat down and had a money talk yesterday and realized that one of our biggest expense categories “food” is a huge downfall for us. We do make a budget but we always end up grabbing more than what’s on the list, or making way too many trips and basically blowing our grocery budget out of the water.  So, we came up with what I think is a pretty genius solution! We get paid every Friday so what we are going to do is take out our weekly grocery budget in cash every week and put it in a jar, that way when we go to get our groceries we only have whatever cash is available to us from the jar.  If we don’t use all of that weeks budgeted money then it just rolls over into next week. My ultimate goal is that this will hopefully force us to plan better, make more reasonable choices, and not go overboard on the things that we don’t really need but just plain want.

Another budgeting problem that we have is that like most typical Americans in our situation, if we make more money we find a way to spend more money. Back in May I was able to get about an $8000 per year raise and sure as shit, man did we find things that we really “needed” to buy this summer and things the kids “needed” to have this summer…..jeez, no wonder we are in such a bad mess lol. Any who I interviewed for a different second job that pays WAY more than the previous one and my husband and I have decided to open a second checking account with a different bank and have all of the earnings from the second job go into that account. We can’t spend what we can’t see right? Since we can pay all of our bills and, thinks to my raise, put extra money into debt payments with our primary incomes the second account will be used only as income to go straight to paying off debt.

I guess the moral of the story is that we definitely aren’t perfect…not even by a long shot!  But we need to stop living in fear of the almighty dollar and start making that little bastard do what we say! I don’t know if there is a right or wrong way to get yourself out of debt, but I do know that trying something is better than doing nothing and keeping your head in the sand.

This is really hard…….

I don’t think my husband or I fully grasped how hard getting out of debt and changing or spending habits was going to be. Here we are more than half way through June and I don’t think that we have made any real progress.  Well, I guess the most real progress we have made is we sat down this morning and had a heated discussion about our need to change vs. our want to change.  I feel like we are both on the same page with knowing that we need to do something to change our habits and pay down our debt but we clearly are not on the same page when it comes to wanting to change our spending habits.

Part of the discussion was that I feel like I am “in charge” of the finances and my husband just agrees with whatever I say basically…which sounds pretty awesome right? Well it’s not. I feel like it has made me into Gollum from Lord of the Rings that is guarding my precious monies (it’s funnier if you say it in his voice). Where this has truly backfired for me is that I have turned into the bad guy who won’t let anyone spend “my” money and I have to constantly be the one who tells everyone NO!  Well I don’t like being the bad guy all the time…..it makes me feel bad lol. So I basically gave up over the last 2 months……or went on strike. …..whatever you want to call it. Guess what? That totally did not work at all!

In May I was able to pull off about an 8K per year raise (patting myself on the back) which will help out tremendously! However, one of our really bad habits is that if we make more money we will spend more money…and we did….a lot of it….and stuff we “needed”. ARRGGG!!!! I get so frustrated sometimes that I just want to give all of this up! I can totally see how financial problems are the number one reason for divorce in this country! But I don’t want to be that couple that gives up, we are strong and I know that we can get through this…but I’m not going to lie, this is really hard.

This morning I told him that I need help and I want off this lone island of sole responsibility for our finances. It’s kind of funny how talking about things actually helps, because he said that he thought I wanted to be in control of everything and felt like he didn’t get a say at all, so we were both frustrated with the other and where just letting it fester versus just talking about it. We need to be a partnership and be on the same page with EVERYTHING or else this is just not going to work.  It can’t just be “my way or the highway” but I have to get some input otherwise I have no other way to go.

This was definitely not our first fight about money…not even close….but I feel like this time we had the most progress towards common ground.  I think we are both to the point now where we realize that there is no alternative, this debt is not going to go away no matter how much we just “want” it to lol. We have been married for almost 10 years and it had taken us that long to get into this mess and we certainly can’t expect to get out of it overnight, not like that dude in Cali that won the $450 million dollar jackpot last week 🙂

Should you think about a vacation when you’re in debt?

Stacy B. Miller
Author
Dave Ramsey has an honest answer to this question. He says, it’s best to skip vacations when someone is in debt or trying to get out of it. Dave didn’t go for any trip for 10 years when he was in debt problems. His logic is simple. He had to pay many bills and feed his children.
You need to spend a fraction of your paycheck on vacation spending. But it shouldn’t break or trample your financial foundation.
 Most importantly, you shouldn’t get into financial problems again due to your vacation.
Can you think about a vacation when in debt?
If you’re in debt, it is better to avoid going for a vacation since it means extra expenses. Unless, your employer or someone else sponsors the trip, it isn’t wise to go for a vacation.  Since you’re in debt, this means you’re in a financial crunch. Your main aim should be to pay off your debts instead of going on vacation.
You have to save up as much as possible. First, you need to pay extra amount to get rid of your debts – doesn’t matter if you want to pay back your creditors through debt avalanche method or debt snowball method. If you have decided to enroll in a debt settlement program, then you have to set aside money for the fees too.
Second, you can’t touch your emergency fund to go on a vacation. This is an absolute no. This fund is to cover your emergency expenses like car repair, a leak in the water pipe, etc.
Third, there are few other expenses you can’t ignore. You can’t stop contributing to retirement savings accounts because it secures the golden years of your life.
What is the other way out? 
Although it is advisable to clear all your debts before traveling, but there are a few people who need a break in a year. They can’t put off their travel dream for a long period. Experts suggest them to plan a debt-free vacation in these ways:
1. Decide the tenure of the vacation
2. Decide the spot
3. Calculate the cost of transportation and hotel reservation
4. Create a budget for food and shopping
5. Calculate how much one needs to save to implement this plan
It is difficult to save money for a vacation when someone is in debt. But, it isn’t impossible. First, one should tackle the high-priority debt. Next, one should start saving for vacation. The plan is already there. One just needs to follow it.
One should avoid going to an expensive tourist spot, no matter how tempting it is. If someone can afford a smaller getaway or a road trip, then so be it.
There is yet another way to pay off debt and travel. You can get a job abroad. Make sure you choose a job that pays you enough to cover your debts and visit tourist destinations.
If none of these options work for you, then enjoy cheap fun activities with your family instead of going somewhere expensive.
Conclusion 
It is all about priorities. Five years back, I had $30,000 consumer debt. I chose to repay debt over travel. I knew if i sacrificed, I could afford to pay off debt within 1 and half year. The sacrifice was worth it.
I spent a few weekends at friends’ houses during that phase. So, I wasn’t bored. Besides, my sacrifices paid off. I was debt free in just 6 months, much earlier than what I contemplated.