Tuesday, October 27, 2015

We Need to Save More Money

I know my topics keep repeating themselves:
  • We need to tighten up the reigns with our money.  
  • Motherhood is hard!
  • I need to recommit to healthier habits.
But that's the thing about life, right? It's always a work in progress. I find that in Western culture we tend to be very goal-oriented, and yet many of the most important things have nothing to do with achieving a goal and being done. 

Take muscle flexibility as an example. Being flexible is an important part of keeping our bodies in optimal health. And yet flexibility is not just something you can achieve and move on from. You have to maintain it. 

It's the same with money. 

I wrote this post about everything I needed to do (and I was really excited to do it!). And then I didn't do it. I made Halloween costumes. I made a baby blanket for my cousin's imminent baby. I went on vacation. 

And then we were barreling toward November and I was very far away from where I had hoped to be by the beginning of October. 

Luckily, I started listening to Podcasts. I'm not much of a Podcast person. My commute to work is 1.9 miles. When I'm cooking dinner, I am also usually playing with children or giving them instructions about how to help with dinner. When I do have time to relax in the evening, I would rather read something or watch something as opposed to just listen to it. 

Enter back pain. 

My physical therapy exercises now mean I have about 40 minutes a day of exercises that I need to do. I started listening to my friend's blog: Matrimoney. I talk a lot about Kelsey around these parts. Kelsey and I met because of this blog, and I am a regular reader of her blog. Now that I listen to her Podcast, I am convinced that I want to marry her (and her husband, Chris). They are hilarious and smart. And they inspire me to do more with our finances (as well as other things, like becoming a toilet paper-free household). 

So, I'm back on track! I took a couple hours to go back to our budget. I forced myself to go line by line to make adjustments. I checked our budget against our bank statement to make sure that we aren't projected to spend less than we actually spend on things that we have little control over. For example, the cost of our car insurance goes up every year, so I have to make sure to adjust it. 

I'm also horribly embarrassed to admit that I found a completely unnecessary recurring payment that was going to Care.com every month. Ugh! I canceled it right away.

Then I made sure that our income balanced out perfectly with our expenses + our savings goals. 

Then I went into Mint.com and readjusted some of our budget goals. 

Then I sat down with Matt to get on the same page about how we are hemorrhaging money and what we should do about it (more on that later). 

I am feeling so good! 

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kidderkat said...

I realize this was not the main point of your post, but how exactly does one become a toilet paper-free household?

Kelsey said...

Sara, this is so sweet and the best compliment. I love how openly you share your goals and progress and recommitting to your goals because, yes, that's life! It's so interesting how different people prefer to consume, I would much rather listen to something than watch it.

And I would highly recommend the bidet system, I love it.

Sara E. Cotner said...

A post is coming up about it soon, kidderkat!

Maureen said...

Care.com got me too - for a whole YEAR!! You're not alone, and indeed have inspired me time and time again to do a better job saving and investing. Thank you!

Robyn said...

I highly recommend You Need a Budget. I used mint for years, but didn't check it regularly enough for it to be effective. Ultimately, it didn't cause me to change my spending habits. I know I sound like a sales person, but You Need a Budget changed the way we think about money. It is slightly inconvenient to log each transaction, but that is the point. It makes me check how much I have budgeted, and if I am over budget consider the implications for other categories (such as vacation saving). Highly highly recommend.

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