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The last few weeks have been a bit boring on the debt pay down front as I am still just tracking expenses before I create a budget.   However, a couple things have already been revealed to me through just the tracking process.

1- We need to increase our income.   This is a really tricky one with my vision situation and not being able to drive.  Realistically,our debt payoff will be really slow if I don’t come up with a solution, because there is not a lot of excess to roll over.

2-We need to decrease our expenses.   While this goes hand in hand with #1, I think this is actually going to be the easier one to tackle.   Grocery and entertainment spending seem to be the easiest way to do this as far as what the numbers say so far.    The key to getting those expenses down is definitely going to be planning, from meal planning to planning on the go snacks and meals while we are out and about in order to decrease eating out expenses.

3-In order to jump start our emergency fund, we need to utilize our tax refund well!

4-We need to reconsider needs vs need right nows vs wants more thoroughly,   While we are not particularly frivolous spenders, we don’t always think twice when it comes to certain purchases, and we should!  For example, we had a heat register cover in our home that was beat out of shape and really did need replaced…..but I gave no thought to whether or not it needed replaced  right now.   It wasn’t a planned for expense, and even though it was a minor cost, I feel I should have waited until there was a specific budget for it.

5- The hubby and I are not as much on the same page as I though we were!….More to come in another post!

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  • Reply Walnut |

    Expense tracking provides SO much information. I’m glad you’re finding this to be a valuable tool!

  • Reply Laura |

    Good job tracking. I firmly believe you can’t budget unless you know where your money is already going.

  • Reply Kili |

    Hi Amy,
    Thanks for The Update.
    Is there a way you could Work From Home?
    In your field are there Jobs that you could mostly do From Home?
    Or could you Look into Jobs at companies where your husband could Take you on his way to work?

    • Reply Amy |

      I do make a small amount from home providing childcare, however because of my field, our rural area and hubby’s work schedule, the other options would not really work for us.

  • Reply barbolarb |

    HI Amy, so glad you started out by tracking your expenses! It really is an eye opening experience. When we cut back on our eating out budget, that was an adjustment and there were a couple things we did that really helped. First, I started keeping a frozen pizzas on hand so on the nights where you’re running late or things don’t go as planned you have a good back up option that’s not eating out. Also, I started figuring out the eating-out times/things I missed the most or were continuing problems and found substitutes I like. One time we kept slipping up was lunches at work so I stocked a few frozen lunches in the freezer at work for days my lunch isn’t big enough or gets forgotten at home. We also really liked going to a diner for weekend breakfast, and replaced that with special breakfasts at home. Good luck as you start looking for ways to cut expenses. It’s hard at first, but soon it will be your new normal and you won’t even miss it 🙂

    • Reply Amy |

      I totally have already started working on having the back up emergency meals! I seem to have a major energy slump every day right around the time I need to start cooking, so I am also working on doing as much meal prep as I can early in the day.

  • Reply dh |

    I’m a little disappointed that you have decided that working out of the house will not work for you, but that’s your choice, obviously.

    There are a lot of meals that you can batch cook. There are two of you at home. There are a lot of meals that can be prepared for 6-8 people, divided and put into tupperwares or baggies, and frozen.

    If you could cook just 3 times a week, and freeze half, within a few weeks you’d have a bunch of homemade, healthy meals in your freezer. I do that a lot with lasagne, meatballs, chili, and soups.

    We have 4 kids, but only one still lives at home, and she’s rarely here at dinner time. I still make large quantities of a lot of the meals I make, but I freeze the rest.

    I also buy frozen meals for when I get home late or I’m too lazy to cook. Of course that’s more expensive than cooking from scratch, but it’s still much less expensive than getting takeout or going out.

    Freezing leftovers immediately also helps with portion control, if that’s an issue.

    Good luck!

    • Reply Walnut |

      To be fair, finding work with a disability is not an easy task. It also seems like Amy is in a more rural or lower population area, so public transportation is probably nonexistent. Her husband’s job is the key income generator, so using him for beck and call transportation during the day is not an option. A work from home job would be ideal, but finding this unicorn job is likely a job in itself. It’s certainly worth hunting for good income generating options, but it’s certainly easier said than done.

      • Reply Amy |

        Thank you Walnut, those are very much the issues that I face. i think I will address this further in a post.

  • Reply Catherine Lyle |

    I feel like from my own personal debt journey the beginning is the hardest and needs to be so to really change people. My husband tracked, we disagreed, sacrificed the most, and nothing stayed the same. But we have a healthier marriage now and much better finances. Sacrifice has to come from both partners or there will be resentment and holing back. Maybe let your husband openly share what needs to be sacrificed, whether food quality, a room in your house, no more presents (my husband and I have not exchanged gifts in 5 years), or something else. But talk openly and accept the pain, it’s worth it in the end…

  • Reply Donnie Gardner @Eliminate Your Liabilities |

    Amy, yes increasing your income would help. My wife and I paid off our mortgage by picking up extra hours at work. We also did odd jobs like make wedding cakes…that was all my wife I was the go for boy. We started a side business online but really didn’t see any income from it till we paid off the mortgage. But the good news is if you start an online business like your blog once it starts to take off you’ll be debt free and ready to quit your day job and work for your self! I like the sound of that.

  • Reply Heather |

    Doesn’t Amazon hire to work from home? Didn’t Hope post that a bit back? Maybe a job like that would be something you could do.

So, what do you think ?