Learning to Save and Spend Wisely

Almost a year ago my husband and I cut up most of our credit cards. I say most because I couldn’t bear to cut up my Discover card nor our Navy Exchange Star card.

The Discover card I worked hard for when I was younger and I now use it to build up my credit and earn points. I use the “points” I earn with the card to help pay off my debt (no Starbucks cards for me!). The Navy Exchange (store) card is good to have for a “just in case” (like when our washing machine decided to ‘go’ and we needed a new one).

We’ve been reading the book “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey and I have to admit – it’s an easy read and I am learning SO MUCH from it. We’ve also borrowed the Financial Peace University DVD’s from my husband’s office so that we can hear Dave speak and learn even more. It’s great to be able to have this information – I know others (like my friend Drew) are benefitting from Dave’s teachings also. I have enjoyed reading Drew’s blog posts about what he’s learning too!

We’ve slowly but surely been paying off credit cards and paying down our consolidation loan (a little word of advice – don’t bother with a consolidation loan if you aren’t going to CUT UP YOUR CARDS!) We’ve got a nice bi-monthly budget (it’s flexible) and we’ve got our “Gazelle” budget (just a speedy and smart way of paying off credit cards). We’re working it out and it feels awesome.

My mom also sent me a link yesterday to a website called SmartyPig which is a unique savings program that was designed to help you save for a specific savings goal and then spend the money you save as smartly as possible when you’ve reached your goal. Goals are funded with a required monthly recurring contribution from your existing checking or savings account. You can also make additional one time adds of money to your goals and receive contributions from your friends and family members.

Once you have met your savings goal your automatic monthly contribution will stop. Your funds will continue to earn interest until you choose to stop your goal. When you stop your goal, you’re given the option of receiving your savings plus interest on the flexible SmartyPig MasterCard® Debit Card (Which can be used anywhere MasterCard® is accepted, including ATMs – for withdrawals only) OR to stretch your savings dollar even further, receiving your savings plus interest on the gift card from
some of the country’s top retailers. You may also choose to have your savings plus interest returned to your funding source via ACH.

I’m going to be creating an account there for a couple “big ticket” items that my husband and I would like. My personal “Wishlist” item is an iPhone! The phone itself won’t be too expensive because I will be qualified for an upgrade from AT&T in another month or so. It’s the $30 per month data plan that makes me flinch. My phone bill will be around $960 per year with that data plan and I’d like to save $300 (at least) before I go ahead and make that purchase. The other big ticket item is a flat panel 36+ inch television. We have a 36” television right now but it’s not a flat panel and we’d love to have one! We plan on saving and paying for the new tv with cash. We want the best deal of course!

So that’s my story! I’m trying to save – of course I slip up (a lot) and so does hubby. But we’re committed to getting out of debt so that we’ll be better able to tackle my student loans once I graduate from school (in less than a year! EEK!)

How are you doing financially? What are you doing to save money? Please share your story! Inspire me and inspire others :)

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  1. [...] the ‘net. One of my friends Christine over at Starryskye.org mentioned me in her latest post Learning to Save and Spend Wisely. She’s working on a Total Money Makeover of her own. And I was interviewed over at the New [...]

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