It’s about to get real, folks. I’m holding a bit of a balance on two of my credit cards. There – I said it. We don’t normally do that. My husband is a firm believer that you should reset to zero every month. If you charge something, you better have the money to pay for it when the bill comes through your door. But, truth be told, we got a little crazy this quarter and threw our monthly budget right out the window. We booked a few vacations. We made a few impulse purchases. Hey, we are only human! I turned 40 a few months back and we are still coming out from under ALL OF THAT. It’s just been rolling from Europe to Christmas to Valentine’s Day to Mother’s Day.
That’s how debt starts.
We had a HUGE sit down this last weekend because we do NOT live our lives in the red. I don’t talk about this much, but my husband and I are currently in the process of buying our second commercial property. We are investors. We are planners. We are overachievers. We constantly think about retirement – looking at the big picture. It’s truly about numbers. In the end, we are trying to build a portfolio large enough to sustain us should we ever choose to stop working in the online space. Because nothing is forever, right? The Internet is a fickle thing and I’ve been holding my eggs in one basket for far too long. It’s just safer and smarter to diversify your income streams. And when we say diversify… we truly mean different industries. Not different Internet platforms. Commercial property is in my husband’s blood. His father owns at least a dozen buildings. This has always been our game plan. His time has come. He knows that. But 2018 got away from us a bit… and now we have to fix it all.
So, what the hell happened? Life. Love. Laughter. Shoes. Shoes happened. Hot damn…
It’s ok. Knowledge is power. I’m not upset or nervous. Because now I know. I know what we did. I know how we did it. I know the sacrifice that has to happen in order to fix it. Am I angry at myself? Yeah. But I wouldn’t want to give up any experiences that I had this past year because they were all memorable. The rest of 2018 will be about healing. The only red I want to see is on my lips!
How are we going to do that? By saying NO. Monthly budget knowledge 101… AMMIIIRIGHT?
You Have No Right Spending Money On These 8 Things If You Are In Debt: Monthly Budget Tips
It has to sting when you get out of debt. You can’t go to all the social gatherings. You can’t have big parties in your house. You know that big trip you wanted to take to Canada? Yeah… maybe next year. We want to give our children everything. We want to make every Saturday a great night out. We want to order in the latest Marvel movie as soon as it shows up on our TV. Well, guess what? Those $8.99 all add up. Those Ubers into the city all add up. Every bit counts. And we have to be conscious of our spending habits because the snowball effect is REAL.
So, here are 8 things you have to avoid when you are trying to get out of debt. Let’s go through all of my monthly budget tips – one at a time.
Monthly Budget Tip 1 – No Takeout Food: Ordering in food is so easy, right? Believe me. I am right there with you. After putting in a really long day at work, sometimes I don’t have the energy to whip up a meal in front of the stove. Well, ordering a pizza or Chinese food is not the solution. In fact, for a family of five, it can cost you several hundred dollars a month! It’s just not worth it! Start stocking up on a few great crockpot recipes and call it a day.
Monthly Budget Tip 2 – No more paid movie nights: You know and I know that there are 8,000 channels on your cable box and you can find SOMETHING to watch if you really tried hard enough. You do NOT need to rent a movie off your TV or head to the theatre. Not with that much debt looming over your head. And let’s be honest… when a family goes to the theatre, after the soda and the popcorn and the candy… you are in the hole for $150! At least, that’s how it is in NY. Not today, Satan! Not today! I am a movie FANATIC. It’s my favorite HOBBY. Yes, I tell people that watching movies is a hobby. It brings me absolute joy, but right now I have to get my life in order. So, the big screen can wait. My budget cannot.
Monthly Budget Tip 3 – No more buying books: Girl, stop. You know you have a library in your town. Stop pretending like you forgot. You know it’s free. You know everyone gets a card. You just have to put in a little effort. No, Amazon Prime is not linked up with the library. You actually have to walk in there and search for the book. Like … walk in there. Inside the building. And see people. It’s going to be hard. I know. And then you will have a deadline and will have to return the book which means you will actually have to read it. Life is hard. This planet is not for everyone… but I believe in you.
Monthly Budget Tip 4 – No more subscription-based services: OOOOOOHHHHHH I’m not going to lie. You won’t pry Netflix out of my cold dead hands. Even if you tried. It’s not going to happen!!!!! Amazon Prime neither! Those things are staying with me for L-I-F-E. However, everything else is up for grabs right now. Come on – the food boxes, the clothes boxes, the beauty boxes, the “boxes” boxes. Whatever you have going on – kill them. It’s all nonsense.
Monthly Budget Tip 5 – No more $5 coffee: This is another argument I am willing to have with you, but I am a realist and I can see very clearly how $5 a day adds up. Make the coffee at home. Brew a pot – it lasts all day. You can even get snobby about how you make it. No water. Light whip. A sprinkle of cinnamon. I don’t care what you do. Get weird. But do it on your dime and save that money for the RED. Always think about that red.
Monthly Budget Tip 6 – No more in-app purchases: My children are always running to me and begging me for $.99 to buy gems or gold or kryptonite. I don’t know what they are saying. And sometimes, if they catch me on a good day… I cave into them. But I have THREE KIDS and if I do for one … I have to do for all of them. It all adds up. It’s stupid. These purchases are literally digital. They aren’t real. They aren’t tangible. My son now has a stronger barricade. What? How has that helped my family? I rather have used those few dollars on milk. Think about every dollar spent.
Monthly Budget Tip 7 – No more impulse purchases: I am the queen of impulse purchases. Actually, I am the queen of impulse decision. I call my husband my rock. But it is a double-sided term. He is my ROCK because he is the only solid foundation that I’ve ever had in my life. He is that strong thing that I know that I can lean on through tough times and I know he is always going to be there for me. But… he is also my boulder and sometimes he doesn’t let me SOAR when I get a little manic and want to fly to France and open up a crepe shop because I had a vivid dream about desserts. Either way, it’s good he is around. The running joke is that he has prevented me from either being homeless or a billionaire because my impulses are MASSIVE AND EXTREME. Either they would have TOTALLY worked or we would have lost our home trying to launch them all off the ground. So, I am thankful for my rock either way.
Back to the impulses –> don’t buy the random rug you see at Target while you are walking through because they have the oxygen pumping extra high and the colors are super bright and it’s the LAST thing you need to finish up your living room because you know you’re lying. You’re never going to finish up your living room. Impulse purchases end marriages. Just bring a list and stick to it. Otherwise, your monthly budget will suffer – big time!
Monthly Budget Tip 8 – No more summer camps / extracurricular activities / after school clubs that are outside of your monthly budget goals: I ended with this one because it is the hardest and most difficult one to hear. We want to give our children everything. EVERYTHING. Everything we didn’t have and everything that their friends do. This summer, we signed our children up for all types of camps. I would say that we spent around $10,000 doing so. And you know what? We had no damn business doing that. It is actually disgusting to think that my husband and I spent that kind of money knowing that we owed what we owed. But the thought process was that we had to put them in camp with their friends. It’s a hard call. I want them to be happy and engaged and surrounded by joy, but at the same time, I need to be responsible and show them that our family comes first. Personally, I think we made the wrong decision. We can’t go back on the move now. But I regret it.
I grew up in a different time. I know this. I grew up in a different neighborhood. I recognize that, too. NYC was so different. The streets were our camps and there was nothing wrong with that. There was just as much “trouble” to get into back then. I don’t want to hear it. I mean… I hung out under a bridge. We played basketball. We swung on swings. We rode our bikes. We came home when the lights came on. I didn’t need $4,000 worth of entertainment. I didn’t need a day of pool, then crafts, then horseback riding, then soccer, then whatever else. It’s just so absurd. And yes – I am happy that my children get to experience this life, but I don’t believe they need to be handed all this entertainment. They can just do it all themselves if we let them. So, to spend 5 figures on these camps with this sort of resentment knowing that the money could be used elsewhere just saddens me. I wish there was another way. I wish we were a stronger family that could just say no to it all. But we don’t want our children to be the only people to NOT participate. How fair would that be to them? But the REAL answer to all of this is to NOT include these sort of things in your monthly budget. If your monthly budget cannot accommodate such camps, then you shouldn’t enroll your children!!! Period. It’s a hard and cold fact. However, you and I both know that it’s harder to do when it comes to our babies. Thus… our montly budget went right out the window. UGH.
I guess because of this… I’m going to give you one more BONUS example in case you can’t do number 8 either….
Monthly Budget Tip BONUS – No More Cab Rides: I know Uber is easy. I know the yellow cabs seem inviting. But the train is cheap and it gets you there just fine. I was standing in the pouring rain yesterday in the middle of Manhattan and the surge prices were soaring for Uber. Everything in my body wanted me to hit the button and grab that $158 ride home. Yes, you read that correctly. But I didn’t because I knew that living in the red wasn’t worth it. Instead, I made my way to Penn Station and took my $12 LIRR ride home instead. I was soaking wet. I was angry, but I was an adult doing adult things. The $136 I save will literally go straight to my credit card balance. One little digital chip at a time. That’s how it works.
Do you have any monthly budget tips that you’d like to share? I would love to hear them! Share them below.