When we started 2016, we had exactly zero dollars saved up. We had no cushion. We were the epitome of living paycheck to paycheck, and we actually made it work, but I don't recommend it for anyone. Because it just isn't the smart way to be an "adult," and isn't that why we are here?
So, learn from my mistake, and do not, if at all possible, live paycheck to paycheck. We all wish that at any moment, some great uncle is going to die and leave us this amazing fortune. But in reality, if you live paycheck to paycheck and something unpredictable happens, your'e screwed - your car breaks down, you lose your job, your apartment catches fire, I dunno, but like sh#t happens, so you gotta be prepared.
Our financial goal this year, is to go from $0 in January 2016, to $5,000 in December 2016.
(Of course, it's already May, so it's more like $0 in May to $5,000 in December, but rounding it out to a full year sounds better) This is a really big deal for us. I mean, realistically, you can't do much with $5,000 - if we are talking big picture, we can't do much with $5,000 dollars, but it'll be a big cushion for us! It's actually what we started out with in January 2015, and I miss having that extra pocket o' gold in our account.
But $5,000 is more than what we make in a single month together, so that's a lot of money to be saving! But I think we can do it.
"Budgeting" (if you wanna call it that) is simple for us because we are shut-ins - we just don't do anything. But, the few things that we do choose to leave the house for end up being big deals.
Like coffee. We are highly highly addicted to coffee, and no matter how much coffee I make at home, there is just something about going to get coffee that is so nice, and we both really appreciate that, so our coffee expense is quite large. And we try really hard! I mean, we don't get expensive drinks. We get the cheap stuff - we get drip coffees, americanos, and au laits . But, it racks up REALLY quickly. So that is probably our biggest expense percentage wise. A lot more of our yearly income goes to coffee than to restaurants.
And then we do a lot of like... Home Goods. Home Goods has taken all of our money in the last few months. We spend so much time and money at Home Goods. This is a new thing for us, but now that we have a home, we have to fill it!! When we first got the apartment and first got married, we had this problem, but then we nested and it was fine. But now we have a house, and every time we finish a corner, we turn around and realize just how horrible the other wall looks. So then it's like, how do I fix this? What can I buy to fix this?
And then, because I hate my job, I do too much online shopping. I have tried really hard and I think I have done a really good job with my self-control, and I just browse for hours and hours, but sometimes those sales are just too much! And I can't stop myself. I could do better. And Sean makes a fair amount of late-night Amazon purchases, so like...
online shopping, Home Goods, and coffee
Those are our splurges. But I think we can do it. I think we can save. And hopefully, having this blog and having this space to talk about money and a community to hold me accountable will be helpful.
And, thinking of all of you guys and gals, I want to come up with ways to help you maintain your budget or think about money a bit more. So hopefully I can come up with some grocery shopping hacks, or whatever you want to call them, and some super cheap recipes for those of you who are thinking about starting a cushion.
I like calling it a cushion, I don't like calling it "savings" because realistically it isn't going to savings. We aren't saving it for anything in particular and, knowing us, we won't open a separate account where its going to like..... do anything special. Really, it's just having more money in our account than we currently have, and then not spending that money.
So that's our goal for 2016, and I think it's important to have a financial goal. Without one, you end up doing things like overspending because you can.