It's hard to sacrifice. We're a full year into our projected five-year Debt Management Plan to get out of debt, and after all the budget cutting, downsizing, and life-simplification projects, I'm finding that I'm not yet done cutting the excess fat out of my life in order to effectively live within my means.
Across America, the sounds of school buses are again filling the crisp morning air. Children run toward the bus stop with backpacks filled with pencil boxes, folders, notebooks, and lunch boxes. School lunch proposes a dilemma for many parents. Should you send a lunch from home, or have them eat school lunch?
I would like to share with you some of the things we have done to improve our limited income situation. It has been a long journey and we have learned that to be successful in supplementing a limited income you need to change the way you think about money and everything around you.
When my wife and I really started tracking our expenses, we found that by far restaurant dining made up the largest sum of our weekly spending. Now that we have a better command of our spending, eating out is much less common; but, when we do eat out, we set a budget for each meal.
So, my savings goal has certainly changed; however, the remaining habits have stuck and should continue not only throughout the rest of the year, but for the rest of my life.
People buy used cars and houses all the time, why would purchasing other items used be any different?
When I signed on, I had A LOT of debt. When I learned I would not be debt free for five years, I was discouraged and thought about not doing it...then I figured out how long it would take me if I tried to do it on my own. Yikes. Now, in a blink of an eye, I am about two years away from being completely debt free.
Your final payment has been made, and you've contacted your CareOne representative to let them know you will be finished with your plan. Wow! You are officially debt free!
This happened only by pure luck, but was there a way to have this sort of lunch available to me all the time? As I was pulling out of the driveway, I noticed a squirrel climbing the tree in my front yard with a nut in his mouth, and my new lunch strategy was born. I was going to be a squirrel.
I find myself looking back on the last twelve months and reflecting on the experiences of the year. Our experiences make us who we are and shape how we will handle future situations.
We hear "experts" clamor daily about the importance of communication. Communication with your children, employer, and spouse are all very important for various reasons. I had always viewed myself as a great communicator. I tell my family I love them every day, I call my parents several times a week, and I'm not afraid to talk about my feelings. However, the day my wife asked me to add up our credit card debt, because she wanted to know the total, I realized that there was a major hole in my communication resume.
I never carry a checkbook anymore-it's just not convenient. A wallet is bad enough to have stuck in the back pocket of my pants, adding a checkbook is just uncomfortable. Plus, with the modern conveniences of debit cards and online bill pay, my checkbook is commonly left to collect dust in the kitchen drawer.
I walked away from our discussion feeling really good about this new budget process. For years, while I was hiding our debt problem from my wife, I had to do all the financial work myself. When we joined the debt management plan, we improved our communication with respect to individual expenditures, but in order to be completely successful in our financial makeover, we have both realized that our financial life has to be a complete team effort.
I have been in your shoes and have made the same journey that so many of your are making now. I hope when you read my story you see that I came out on top and so can you!
I've completed two marathons in my life. Training for a marathon takes dedication, self-discipline, and time. In many ways, getting out of debt by enrolling in a Debt Management Plan is a lot like training for a marathon.
The difference is that I am willing to at least try anything generic to see how it tastes or works before deciding whether to purchase it consistently. My wife tends to dismiss generic items simply because they're, well, generic.
Reading some of the forums, I see many people asking about whether or not it's possible to buy a car on the DMP. Since my car died only a few months into the program, I wanted to share my experience and some tips I learned.
If you're enrolled in CareOne's Debt Management Plan like me, you keep a watchful eye on the progress tracker to see how much your debt has decreased, and how much time you have left on the plan. Like me, you may also fantasize about the day when you become debt free, 4 years and 5 months from now, for me.
While it may seem lucky, I think most of you will agree that getting out of debt has very little to do with luck, and more to do with sacrifice, struggle, and wanting to sometimes pull your hair out of your head.
Recently, March 3rd to be precise, I celebrated a very special day. It's not the birthday of anyone special in my life, nor is it my wedding anniversary. It was, however, my two year Blogiversary.
As I pushed the cart forward I heard what sounded like something being dropped into the cart. Looking down, I saw a second box of granola bars had been put on top of the one I deposited.
I wish that I could say we have completely learned our lesson. I would love to say that everything is going so perfectly that financial struggles are nothing but a bad memory. I ache to be able to tell you we are a well-oiled financial machine.
I find Valentine's Day very stressful. I don't think I'm alone.
People who run up their credit cards again have also failed to implement the tools and habits they used to get out of debt, or failed to solve whatever problem is driving them to overspend
I have a bicycle; why don't I just use it to get to and from the gym? Sure, it would take a little longer, but I'd be exercising which is the whole point anyway. I could bike to the gym, do additional cardio or strength training, and then ride my bike home.
In addition to the blogs, be sure to check out the new CareOne Groups:
Are you finally out on your own and figuring out how to balance your finances? If so, this is the group for you. In Starting Out, you can talk about the challenges you are dealing with in a group of like-minded people.
Do you feel like you are finally understanding what being a "grown-up" is all about and are settling into your adult life? If so, this is the group for you. In Settling In you can connect with others who are just like you.
Struggling to balance all that an established lifestyle has to offer? The balancing it all group is for you. Discuss the challenges you face when your responsibilities at work, at home and with family and friends all compete for your attention.
Are you currently retired or planning on retiring very soon? If so, this is the group for you. Times have changed and so has retirement. Learn how others are redefining retirement.