New Year, New Budget, New Me!

I’m only kidding (about the new me part), but how often do we treat the changing of the year to have some kind of magical ability to change us? Before I get into my new budget for the year, I want to share with you all what I’m planning for 2018 to look like. As I said in my last post, my new Commit 30 planner has really helped me to focus on all areas of my life, not just the budget part! I feel that this new year is going to be the best one yet, not just because of all the amazing things on my calendar already, but because I am striving for more balance in my faith, my marriage, my job, and my family/friends.

Here’s my vision for 2018:

Processed with VSCO with e3 preset

  • Physical Health: Work out 3x per week.
  • Mental Health: Stress Less. I stress about almost everything I cannot control, so this is going to be my biggest challenge this year!
  • Spiritual Health: Complete a 1-year reading plan, and not miss a day!
  • Personal Growth: Be Intentional. To have slow feet, and really get to know the people around me. To go deeper than just a Sunday Morning hello!
  • Marriage: Be more affectionate with Taylor. I love my husband so much, but I also love to pick at him and throw him under the bus. I’m going to try cutting back on that this year, and treating him like the king he is! ❤
  • Family/Friends: Once a month dinner/getting together with parents/in-laws.
  • Career: Promote Faith Ministry College well.
  • Home: To always feel inviting, and create a place that people can feel at home!
  • Pure Joy/Fun: Focus on hobbies (ex. blogging, crafting, painting).
  • Adventure/Travel: Go to Ecuador AND Jamaica!
  • Community: Be more involved. I want to be more a part of our neighborhood community.
  • Finances- Pay at least $500 a month on student loans.

That’s my vision for 2018- would love to know yours in the comments below!

Ok, So what about the budget?

For this past year, I have gone back and forth with different budgeting apps. Mint, and the free version of Every Dollar, but I find myself going back time and time again to the old school pen and paper… okay… not that old… the oldish school of a spreadsheet!

Google Sheets (excel sheet provided by Google) has a great monthly budget template you can use, and all you need is a Gmail email!

Untitled-2-01January Monthly budget – Transactions.                                                   Jan. Budget Page 2

As you can see, you can choose custom categories. I combined a lot of my similar bills because I didn’t see the point of each little thing getting their own category. If you are having trouble making out the words and category, click on the link below the pictures and it will take you to the PDF version in another tab.

What I like so much about this budget template is that it allows you to have a starting off balance that you have in your account at the beginning of the month. 75% of our bills come out before my husband and I get our first paycheck the second week of January, so this helps me to visualize where the money for our bills is coming from.

I also like that I can manually put in each of my transaction into the second-page sheet, and allocate it exactly where I want it to go. Then, it adds up your spending for the category you choose onto the first sheet. With Mint, I found that they would allocate it for me, and I always had to go back and put what I wanted in the category I wanted. I am sure the paid version of Every Dollar, and YNAB may be a little better, but I don’t like the idea of paying for an app to do what I can do in just a little bit of time and discipline.

To help me stay on track with each transaction (and so I don’t have a huge list to allocate) I make it a point to set aside two times out the week to track our spending. I usually do it daily, but if I forget for some reason, I have it as a “To-Do” on my weekly schedule that helps keep it in front of me.

The key to this budget and I believe any budget, is getting it done the first day of the month, if not a little before the month so you have an accurate standing of where you are in your finances, and then you never have to play ketchup. Once you create your first set of categories for the month, they usually never change from month to month, so it tends to become a well-oiled machine once you get into the habit and discipline of tracking your income and spending.

If you have any questions, please comment below, or contact me with a private message! Hope you guys all have a very…

Happy New Year!!!

Questions for You:

1.) What are your personal/family goals for 2018?

2.) Do you use any of the apps I mentioned to track your spending? If so, tell me how they are working for you!

Reflecting on the Past to Prepare for the Future!

014FAADB-9C61-4E92-86A1-1658402166B5

I can’t believe it, but Christmas has come and gone, and the New Year starts the day after tomorrow. I know I say this every year, but the years just feel like they go by quicker and quicker!

As I sat down last night with my new 2018 planner preparing for all the amazing things next year has in store for me, I realized that I can only plan ahead successfully by reflecting on 2017. You see, this past year I had this huge goal to pay over 4x the amount of my student loan payment. I was able to hit that goal a few months this year, but for the most part, I only paid what was owed ($215). I found myself getting super discouraged when I failed to meet my monthly goal. Then I decided to see how much loans we were able to actually pay off instead of focusing on the amount we weren’t able to pay. After adding up our principle+interest payments they equaled up to:

$16,231.33

Looking at that number still shocks me, yes we did a lot to get that number so high (ex. draining our savings, selling my hubby’s motorcycle, side hustling, and room renting), but I never focused on how much debt we were actually paying off this year. Instead, I let the huge balance of $56,070.67 overshadow the accomplishments of Taylor and I’s hard work during 2017. I sulked over having to pay my doctor bill and paying the rest of Taylor’s second degree out of pocket, but how amazing that we can start the new year with so much loan payment under our belt, and us barely having a balance on our credit card (which will be paid off with the first paycheck of the new year).

Reflecting on 2017 helped me realized that I set an impossible goal that did nothing but get me discouraged every time I failed. This year coming up, I have a very achievable goal towards the extra payment of my student loans. A flat $500 a month that we can hit every month (because I am setting up the autopay that way), and unlike last year, we can pay it straight with our paycheck we get. I don’t have to worry about our room rental, or side hustles to hit the goal, and that takes a load of stress off because let’s face it, life does happen!

 

Stay tuned for my next post that will come out in a couple days of how to budget for the new year 

 

Questions for You:

What is your financial goal for the year of 2018?

What was your best trick/tip this year to help advance your 2017 goal?

Finishing Christmas On A Budget

TEN Days!

Well, really less than ten full days until Christmas! If you are like 90% of the population, most of you have not finished your Christmas shopping just yet. Here are a couple of tips I wanted to share with you to not only get those last minute gifts but to also stay on budget!

 

Everyone appreciates a nice homemade gift!

IMG_1803

These baskets cost less than $5 each, and they are the perfect gift for your co-workers or cousins that you want to show you love them, but you also don’t want to break the bank. I got the baskets and mugs as well as the sticks for the chocolate dipped marshmallows from the Dollar Tree. Picked up the pack of cards from the Dollar Bin at Target as well as the marshmallows and ingredients for the chocolate chip cookies. If you are not a baker, any small pack of cookies will do, and you don’t have to go as fancy on the dipped marshmallow stick that I did. This basket is so customizable, you could even add more or less depending on your style and budget!

The Gift That Keeps Giving

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 8.06.59 PM

I recently stumbled upon these cleaning supplies and I am hooked! Grove Collaborative has this amazing deal where you can order just $20 worth of product and you get a free 4  piece gift set, as well as a surprise gift (right now it is an adorable bamboo cutting board). This is a great way, to get you a little something and give a little something at the same time. Want it all to be a gift, you can easily put together three decent size gift set for each person, but be sure to order by December 17th to ensure an on-time delivery!

Here is the link: https://www.grove.co/referrer/1967743/

Giving Your Time

22528484_10155026989143994_173125265957986029_n

Sometimes, your time is so much more valuable than any gift you could give. We all have that friend, who we have been meaning to catch up with. A few ideas to consider are cards, letting a loved one know that coffee is on you next time, or maybe a “coupon” for a free babysitting service so your sister and her husband can have a date night. To some, time is more perfect than anything you can put under the tree!

These are just a few out of the box ideas that I love to give for Christmas! Hope these may help ease your mind through this Christmas craziness! Gosh, I love this time of year.

 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Questions For You:

1.) What is your Christmas Trick to stay on budget during this busy season?

2.) Any amazing budget-friendly traditions you would like to share? I am always looking for new and amazing ideas to start!

 

When The Budget Is Unrepairable…

Starting this blog, I was so excited to share my tips and tricks. To teach others how to be budget savvy like I was, and to share the insight I get from different finance books that help motivate me to stay on track. Posting once a week, every Wednesday was my goal, but then the busyness (and laziness) entered, church events, husband’s birthday, album practices, ladies conference, work, and other “unexpected” expenses completely destroyed our October budget beyond repair.

How could I blog about budgets when just 10 days into October, we already doubled (pretty much tripled) our eating out budget? We didn’t just bust the eating out budget, but pretty much every single budget we have, and October was only 30% over! The worst thing about busting the budgets so early in the month is that you have one of two options.

Option A) Live like a hermit and don’t eat or blink for the rest of the month to save every penny you can.

Option B) Hold your breath, and pray you don’t shoot yourself in the foot too bad when all is said and done.

Hubby and I chose Option B, we were “too” busy to live like Hermits. We were also too busy to meal prep properly, and I hardly cooked this month (yet we still went over our grocery budget?!?!?). Here is the crazy thing about not cooking dinner, you don’t have leftovers for lunch the next day, so there were days that we BOTH ate out for lunch and dinner multiple days out the week. Then small unexpected expenses hit us. When my husband ordered a month’s worth of proactive for $33, we didn’t read the small print where they really sent us 90 days supplies worth, and now we have a $33 expenses this month (and next). Taylor had the amazing opportunity to record a live album with our church, which means a new outfit for said recording, it is also his Birthday month this month, so of course, I had to spoil him! I had a college fair I needed to dress business casual for, so there was a new outfit for me. For Taylor’s birthday we had a cookout, so myself being the “hostess with the mostest” we had to spruce of the backyard (another unexpected expense).

Are you starting to see the pattern here? Yes, we did a lot of unnecessary things, and no when you think about it, none of them were really “unexpected”. I just knew in my head we could make it work, but that didn’t stop me from internally freaking out with each extra dollar we spent. I would tell myself,

its okay, we have the money, we just won’t be able to put any this month towards debt. I would just take on a few extra cakes, and everything would balance out”.

Then, the unexpected happened…

I finally went to get a check up on my back, I have had scoliosis since I was in my young teens. I figured it wouldn’t be too bad since I wore a back brace when I was younger, we already fixed the problem, this was just a checkup. To my surprise, not only is it bad, it is actually worse than it was when I was an early teen, so here we are, already busted all the budgets, and we just added a $1,500 expense. I almost broke down in the doctor’s office but was able to keep it together until I got home. I then proceeded to cry…. a lot.

For the next few days, I went into a state of depression and self-pity. No doubt, we had to pay the $1,500, if not corrected, my back would only get worse and cause me significant problems in my later years. It was just, we were already so behind on our budget, $1,500 is two vacations for us, I would rather spend that money on vacations than my back that no one can see. $1,500 would knock out one of my student loans. I was sick to my stomach and was being swallowed up in anxiety.

Then to put the cherry on top, I had a ladies conference the following weekend. Nothing more I would rather do than hang out with ladies and listen to women who had it together talk about Jesus (can you hear my sarcasm as you read this?). Low and behold the theme of the conference was all about being free. One of the speakers, Andi Andrew, spoke directly to my heart. She said that “vulnerability before God is the only way we can be set free”. I was reminded in that conference that there is a difference in “knowing I am free” and “walking in the freedom that I have already been given”

So what did I do with this little reminder? I went to the prayer breakout session and allowed myself to be completely vulnerable with God. You see, at the root of it all, I didn’t just need to be free from my anxiety of finances, of not being able to get out of debt asap. I needed to be free of my insecurities, and the feeling of inadequacy in my life. I needed to be free from fighting and struggling against God and start being vulnerable with Him and others around me. To be free from my victim mentality, and start living each day knowing that I am free and victorious.

I am so thankful that I was able to be reminded of this at the Chosen Ladies Conference. Yes, my budget for this month maybe unrepairable, but I will not let it affect me to the point of depression. Next week starts a new month, and honestly, I am looking forward to starting a budget with a clean slate. Yes, we ended up using our credit card for the doctor bill, but we will pay it down a few dollars at a time. I will not let it take my joy like it did last week!

To make matters a little funnier, the check engine light came on in my car today so we will take that repair a few dollars at a time as well! Good thing I splurged on this necklace at the Ladies Conference to remind me that no matter the circumstances I am free!

IMG_5248

QUESTION FOR YOU:

How do you manage to get back on track when you bust the budget?

Living with a Budget Buster

Today marks four amazing years of being Taylor Clyde’s wife, so before I talk about living with a “Budget Buster” (aka my husband), I want to take the moment, to say,

 “Happy Anniversary Babe! Thank you for being my biggest support, my best friend, and my teammate for the past four years. I can’t wait to see where our marriage takes us from here!”. 

644475_10151679281596059_2061028056_n

Surprise, surprise. The main “stress factor” in our marriage revolves around finances. When I first graduated this past December, I quickly started reading any finance book I could get ahold of because I knew in six short months the FedLoan people were coming to collect from me, then six months after that, they were coming for my husband!

After reading my first couple books on finances, I decided to go with the Dave Ramsey method to get out of debt as quickly as possible! Here is the list of Baby Steps that Dave recommends for getting out of debt:

  • Baby Step 1: $1,000 cash in a beginner emergency fund
  • Baby Step 2: Use the debt snowball to pay off all your debt except the house
  • Baby Step 3: Build a fully funded emergency fund of 3 to 6 months of expenses
  • Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of your household income into retirement
  • Baby Step 5: Start saving for college (if you have children)
  • Baby Step 6: Pay off your home early
  • Baby Step 7: Build wealth and give generously

 

Baby Step 1 was easy enough considering we had more than that in our savings account. It is Baby Step 2 that is the stress factor in our marriage. In order to do the “true” Dave Ramsey method, we drained our savings account to just $1,000 for the emergency fund and put the rest of it to “snowball” our debt.

The key in Baby Step two is to get, what Dave calls it “gazelle intensified” when you are paying your debt down. Meaning, if you were a gazelle, and there was a cheetah out to get you, you would run with everything you got to get away from the said cheetah. In this context, we are the gazelle, and the debt is the cheetah, so the mindset is, get out of debt with everything you got! After reading Dave’s book “The Total Money Makeover”, I got into gazelle mode. I was ready “To Live Like No One Else, So later I could Live Like No One Else”. I became the walking poster child for Dave Ramsey, too bad my husband had a different opinion than I did.

The wonderful thing about marriage is, you know longer get to do life or make decisions by yourself. Meaning, that just because I was on board to get out of debt ASAP, didn’t mean that Taylor wanted to be the first mate on my Dave Ramsey boat. Even though I am technically “in charge” of our budget, it didn’t give me full power and control of our finance boat.

So what do you do, when budgeting is life for one spouse, but the other spouse has self-proclaimed himself as the “budget buster”? 

I believe the best and most difficult way to be successful in budgeting with your spouse is being able to compromise. This was hard for me because I wanted to be an extreme “”throw all extra money towards debt”, but my husband loves to enjoy the finer things in life a little more. Examples: going out to eat, vacations, games, anything Apple product related, etc.

When you have two extremes like this, compromising is the only thing you can do. I quickly learned this after getting frustrated over every “extra” dollar Taylor spent. Even to this day, I have to remind myself that if we don’t make triple the payment on our student loans each month,  life will go on. Now after many frustrating conversations, I have learned to budget fun money in our finances.

We have a budget labeled “Sunday Dinners” where I set aside money every month for us to go out to eat after church every Sunday. As well as Taylor and I both get weekly “Allowances” we get to spend on going out to eat or save it for a new outfit down the road. I wish I could say that we stick to the budget every month, but the reality is, we BOTH go over. Some months are great, others months we have had complete fails (thankfully we have more great months than fail months). It is because of the months we fail, I learned that we really needed to do our budget together.

By doing our budget together, and deciding together where the money goes, it is easier to stick to it because we both have invested time into it. Compromising may seem like the cliche answer to living with a budget buster, but if I didn’t give Taylor an inch, he wouldn’t have gone the mile he has on us paying off our debt.

We still have a long way to go in paying off our debt ($57,794.43 to be exact), but that is a long way from the $75,000 we started from. I know I don’t tell my husband enough, but I am proud of how far he has come, and myself as well. If it wasn’t for Taylor, our marriage would be all work and no play. He is the perfect balance for me in not only the financial part of our marriage, but he also keeps me grounded, and help me focus on the more positive things in life.

All in all, I guess living with a budget buster isn’t as bad as it could be. At least I can say that life is a lot more colorful with Taylor in it! 

Questions For You:

  1. How have you had to compromise with your finances?
  2. What do you think is the key for budgeting when you and your spouse are on different pages?

When You Don’t Even Have 2¢ Leftover

Let’s face it. We all get a little pep in our step on payday. There is just something about our bank account getting a little fatter that has us lifting our heads a little higher!

My husband, Taylor, and I both get paid every other Thursday, so for a good 24 hours I feel like we are living large, we are so secure, and we can conquer the world. Then comes Friday, when it’s time to allocate bills, put money in envelopes for groceries, gas, and other little odd-and-ends expenses. There was a time, I would literally dread waking up the Friday after payday because I knew that once I allocated everything, we wouldn’t even have 2¢ left over for anything fun! We have all been told or read articles on “5 ways to save money”, but what do you do when you’ve already done those 5 things and more?

My husband and I don’t have cable, we don’t have car payments because we bought vehicles within our means (in cash $$$), we never ate out, used coupons when we grocery shopped, bought off brand when we did shop, used creative ideas to have super cheap or free date nights, what is left for us to cut to save money? There was nothing else we could do!

Here are the two magic words that got my husband and me through the most difficult financial time of our lives.

***Side Hustles*** 

When you don’t have any money left over in the budget, you just have to make more! Thankfully, I had experience in baking, so I started making cakes pastries on the side to make a little extra cash. Taylor had a friend with his own DJ company, so he started picking up gigs from him and working as a wedding DJ over the weekend. One of my old chefs from culinary school needed help on Saturday mornings with his farmer’s market stand, so I helped him every Saturday morning I was available. There is money out there to be made, you just need to find it! 

Those DJ gigs my husband did for his friend turned into him being able to purchase his own DJ equipment, and now we do our own DJ gigs and get 100% of the profit, my birthday cake baking here and there, turned into me being able to do wedding cakes for a bigger profit as well.

Guess what! Even though Taylor and I are at a better place financially, we are STILL hustling! What motivates us to hustle, is because we are striving to pay off our student loans as quickly as possible, but we also take the time to enjoy our extra earnings as well!

Questions for You:

What is your side hustle?

What motivates you to hustle?

Here We Go!

I have gone back and forth on starting this blog. Especially because it seems like everyone is blogging now, and who wants another random post to fill their timeline? Not saying that I let other people decide what I do, but to me, it is similar to not using a baby name once your friend used it. Sounds silly, I know, but for those of you who don’t know me, you are going to learn real quick that I am honest, almost to a fault.

My name is Elizabeth Clyde, I am 25, a pastor’s wife, and a hard core budgeter! If you were to ask me my biggest goal right now, the answer is “To get out of debt AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!” Specifically, student loan debt, followed by seeing how quickly we can pay off our mortgage! Speaking of mortgage…. today marks one year of being a homeowner! My husband and I worked hard to become homeowners at 24, and I can’t wait to share that journey in a future post!

My love for budgeting and finances came quickly to me once we were faced with about $75,000 of student loan debt. It became like a game, “how do I do this in the most efficient way possible?!?” Since then, I have read and learned so much, that I have been approached about possibly doing a small group teaching on being a millennial and budgeting.

I have even been interviewed by one of the money blogs I follow. They sent out an email asking their readers to share their stories, and they liked mine so much, Bob shared it on his blog! It was during that interview, I started thinking to myself, “maybe just maybe, I could also write a blog”. Here’s a link if you want to check it out: Millennial Money Man: http://bit.ly/2y1fVU0

So, here we are! My shot at sharing one of my passions! I hope you guys enjoy reading my two cents as much as I will sharing it! Feel free to check out the blog I was interviewed for that started it all!

IMG_0107