Learn how these people overcame their debt.
What have you done to paydown your debt?
Learn how these people overcame their debt.
What have you done to paydown your debt?
Summer is coming and that makes me think of vacations. You might be saying, here they go again! You may be right, but not yet. There are a couple planned for later this year.
• Noodles / Rafts / Tubes / Snorkel Gear
• Soft-sided cooler – we have one that the freeze pack is a part of the cooler
(one less thing to carry along)
• Entertainment – playing cards, games, etc.
When we travel to a destination, we try to reserve a unit with a kitchen or at least a fridge. This saves us so much money by being able to make and bring our own meals. You might be thinking cooking on vacation – ugh! This can be as simple as having breakfast, beverages and snacks from a grocery store versus paying restaurant or resort prices. Picking up a bottle of water at the store is much more cost effective than buying a bottle at pool side.
Here’s an example of what we do. We bring as much as possible, especially things you won’t finish, like steel wool, paper plates, herbs and more. Next, we place an online order (if that is possible) from the grocery store before we leave. Then we either pick up the order at the store or have it delivered to where we are staying. Having some or most of your meals at grocery store prices saves money. Yes, we still do go out for some meals – just not all.
Remember that you typically cannot bring meat, fruit or vegetables out of the US and into another country. Usually, you can bring sealed items in their original packaging. Here’s one of our suitcases.
If you want a copy of my food packing list, email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will share it with you.
We love the beach. When we travel to a beach / pool destination, we bring along our own toys – noodles, rafts, snorkel gear and more. Not only does this save us money (much cheaper than buying at a hotel or destination), we always have what we want when we want it. This works because we have free checked luggage with our airline credit card. For more money saving tips visit www.JillRussoFoster.com and subscribe to our blog.
Do you want to save some money? We have replaced dryer sheets with wool dryer balls. As an added bonus these have no harmful chemicals. For more money saving tips visit www.JillRussoFoster.com and subscribe to our blog.
To start, we have been making better food choices over the past few years. As we get older, I want to still be active and healthy. This is a journey with small changes happening. We are striving for 50% of our plate to be vegetables. Our proteins are certified grass fed meats and fish with no antibiotics and non-GMO all while staying within our food budget. We shop what’s on sale and plan our meals to get the most from our dollars.
It’s that time of year to plan our garden and have fresh picked vegetables right in our backyard, at a minimal cost for organic seeds. Love this part of summer!
Here are some of our favorites to get more organic vegetables into our meals:
• Chicken Vegetable Soup making healthy bone broth with assorted vegetables. This is great to have on hand when we are short on time for dinner – just heat and eat.
• Lettuce wraps for lots of foods. Big leaf lettuce replaces the bread, wrap, taco and more. Inside can be anything from tuna to tacos – let your imagination run wild.
• Fries are one of my stress foods. But as I make these changes, there goes the fried foods. Now we bake or grill vegetable fries. Try it – avocado fries are one of favorites, but you can use many other veggies.
We are changing our food for the better. This wasn’t done overnight, just small changes (or baby steps) to gradually improve our choices. Our first step was to eliminate trans fats/partially hydrogenated oils, then came nitrates and then GMO’s. This exercise was eye-opening when I went through our pantry and even more surprising reading labels at the store.
As you can see, we are eating more at home and taking meals/snacks from home. Both are good things for our health and benefit our wallet too. More on the other areas of our lives that we have changed in the next issue.
Don’t be in credit card debt. Make a plan to pay it off.
Friendship and money – these are things we treasure, but sometimes they can be at odds. I can remember when I started my first business and money was tight. I had friends that wanted us to do what we had always done in the past – going to dinner, going to a sporting event / concerts and more – just like old times.
I remember thinking, I can’t afford this right now. Don’t they realize I just started a business and I am not making the money I used to? How could they even ask this of us to do this? All these thoughts went through my head, but I was too embarrassed to say them out loud.
One of the things I look back on and wish that I was able to share my thoughts. But I didn’t share my thoughts. I kept up outside appearances and did whatever with my friends anyway. I didn’t want to disappoint our friends. I didn’t want them to think that we didn’t have the money. In reality, we didn’t have the money then and we were keeping up outside appearances to “keep up with the Jones” instead of being true to ourselves.
This was and is a hard lesson to learn. We all want to have everything and marketing makes us believe we need all of this. Do we? I think this comes with age and wisdom and I wish I had learned this earlier in life, but I know this now. I know that I treasure time with friends and quiet time and not necessary the stuff.
I personally have grown over time from this young woman and now am more able to express my feeling / situation to others. I can turn down invites, that I don’t want to do. I can say, that’s not something I really want to spend money on. I can request separate checks versus splitting the bill 50/50. All of these are choices that you get to make because it’s your money and time.
Don’t be afraid to express your thoughts out loud to your friends. Be gracious in your words no matter which side you are on. Friendship and money are always going to be a part of your life. Be comfortable with your friends and money and be willing to share your feelings with others. Maybe they are feeling the same and can’t express it.
As you know, Dave has been home for three months unpaid, with his shoulder replacement and my position ended with Norwalk Community College. It’s summer time, there is so much we wanted to do and we need to do this on the frugal side.
Summer is perfect here in CT. We have access to great beaches, parks and entertainment. So this is the place we want to be.
So this is what we have done so far.
We have gone to the Stamford Museum for free, the Connecticut Beardsley Zoo for $5 each (66% discount over the regular pricing) and walked at the Audubon Center (free). All this thanks to our local library which offers free or discounted admission to many local attractions. That’s a great budget saver for us and could be for you too.
One thing we crossed off our bucket list was the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat. On one of those hot days, we took the train ride from the shoreline into CT, then took the Riverboat from Deep River, CT and back on the train to were we began. It was a great day trip and a surprisingly cool way to spend a half day.
We have gone to our local beaches. One of our beaches (an island) requires a 20 minute ferry ride and we brought a picnic to the island. It was a beautiful day so we rode the ferry an extra trip – love the sunshine and the salt water! This is a minimal cost as a resident.
One of my favorite things to do in the summer months, is to watch a movie in the park. Our town, as well as other towns in the area, do this. We bring a picnic dinner or take out, sometimes the dog and watch a movie under the stars.
We have dinners outside at home with the vegetables from our garden. There is nothing better than growing your own, picking it and having it right away – just delicious. Salad is always from the garden. Our tomatoes are starting to turn red and the string beans are there for the picking. All for the minimum cost of a packet of organic seeds.
We are exploring our area and doing some of the stay-cation things in town and across the state. With more nice weather weekends ahead, there is so much more on our list of places to explore so stay tuned. What are you doing this summer?
We’ve all heard the saying “Don’t keep up with the Jones”. What does it really mean? You are fine with your sofa and all is well with your family. Then your friends gets this really nice brand new sofa that is gorgeous. Then you start to think, my sofa is older, starting to look its age, maybe had a stain in the corner, you start to rationalize that you need a new sofa too.
Just because someone else gets something new, you don’t necessarily need that too. That’s keeping up with the Jones’. All of these steps are hard to do. You have friends and family showing you their new things, marketing showing you the bright shiny items that you love to own, but do you need it?
Needs and wants are a hard subject to learn. You have to come to some balance of what you want and what you can afford. So in my example above, you can do some thinking – there are choices in etween the current sofa and the new sofa:
See how many choices that I just wrote out between the current sofa and the cost of a new sofa. Some of these in between steps may work better with your budget. You don’t always need to have the latest, greatest new item.
If financial independence is something that you aspire to, then you need to work on all three of these steps, to get your finances in order once and for all.
This is part 2 of 3 of obtaining financial independence.
Spending less than you earn, sounds easy – but is it? The basic principle is if you earn $100 then you need to spend less than $100. That’s the general rule. But there are times in our lives that this isn’t possible. When you are just out of school and your rent, utilities and student loans are almost your whole paycheck, you may experience times when you are not working – in between jobs, can’t work for medical issues etc., these make spending less than you earn a challenge.
If you have been reading this newsletter, you know that my husband had been home from work after shoulder surgery and is not getting paid while he is recovering. So what is our household supposed to do to spend less than we earn? The answer for us is to reduce our expenses and to fund the shortfall with our savings. Luckily this was a planned surgery, so we had time to plan ahead to save. But this may not be possible for everyone. First, you have to have a savings to fall back on to get through whatever life throws at you.
Spending less than you earn is critical to financial independence, as you have to save on a regular basis, putting a regular amount from each and every paycheck into savings first – pay yourself first.
Here’s how to start:
There are some suggestions to making this work. Make sure not to link your savings account to your ATM card. You may want to have this savings account in another bank or credit union – not where your checking is located. You want to have access if you need the money but not have easy access to use if when you just want something. It’s too easy to transfer money without thinking.
So for that $100 you earn, you will want to save money first – pay yourself first, then live off the rest. The rest is what you pay your bills with, shop for your necessities and the money to have fun with. Yes, that’s a lot, but I know you can make it work. You want to be conscious of what and where you spend your money, so that you can make choices. Do you want to purchase that now or have that money saved for later? The choice is yours.