Have you read about our family’s plan to buy a house in two years? We are really excited about our future and want to share everything we learn with you!
There are so many things that need to be done before we are ready. Two of the main items of business are 1. Paying off our debt and 2. Saving for a down payment.
In order to accomplish those goals we are going to need and be super creative on ways to live frugal and fabulous! My hope is that by sharing our family savings plan successes and failures, you can learn from our experience, which will make the process a lot more smooth and easier for you!
Last Months Goals:
• Do a deep cleaning of our budget.
• Pay $500 on our loans.
• Participate in a zero spend month. Yep, spend $0 all month long!
• Start doing meal planning on a monthly basis.
Here is our family savings plan report
I hope that you can learn from our experiences!
Pretty much we started from scratch and redefined our budget from ground zero. You can read my article series on how to start a budget to find out step by step on what we did.
In a nutshell, we calculated our income, expenses, and debts. We figured out exactly how much we needed to pay each month to get our loans paid off in the next year. Found areas in our spending where we could take money and put towards loan payments.
In one year from now when our loans are paid we will then start putting that money towards a down payment for our first house. I get so excited when I write those words “our first house!”’
Paying off our loans
Our goal is to pay $500 of loans each month. In October 2015, our very first month on this journey, we only paid about half of that. This is what we did wrong.
I made the assumption that since we weren’t spending money, I didn’t need to look at our bank account and pay attention to what was going on. I miscalculated and used some of our loan payment money to pay towards some DMV registrations.
What I learned is that we need to move our money out of our bank account and into savings as soon as we are paid. Also, I need to be paying closer attention to our bank statements. Making sure that we are sticking to our budget!
Zero spend month
Our very first ZERO spend month was a success! It was really great timing actually. Although we didn’t hit our loan payment goal we were able to pay a bunch of DMV fees that all came due within 40 days of each other.
Side note: We have now added in these annual DMV fees to our yearly budget.
I thought the zero spend challenge was going to be a lot harder then it actually was! We learned that we can actually be a lot more frugal in our spending. We found things that we can make last longer then we have in the past. We also identified things that we can live without that in the past just spent the money without thinking.
We plan on doing a zero spend month more regularly! Maybe semiannual or quarterly…
Monthly Meal Planning
My new obsession! Moving from weekly meal planning to monthly meal planning shocked me in two ways.
1. I saved a lot of money on gas! I guess I didn’t realize how many times a week I was going out to the store. I did use grocery shopping as a way to get out of the house. So I would plan to go to different stores on different days. Not efficient!
One tank of gas used to last us just under two weeks. Now with our monthly meal planning, one tank of gas will last me almost three weeks! Thats almost 50% longer!
2. Monthly meal planning has freed up a lot of time and stress from my evenings. I have more time because I am not looking up meals every week and I am not going to the grocery store 2-3 times a week. I now go to one store once a week to buy milk and any fresh produce I need for the week.
Goals for November 2015
• Get a better handle on our new budget. Take out cash and transfer money to savings as soon as the paycheck hits our bank account.
• Continue with monthly meal planning.
• Make our loan payments a priority.
• Look for ways to make extra income to pay for Christmas.
What are your goals?
Let me know down in the comments what your financial goals are for the new month! Do you have a family savings plan? Sharing goals with each other will help us stay accountable and motivated!