Tonight, Ian and I had a hard talk. I’ve been trying to follow the Dave Ramsey plan, but while I’ve really been terrible about leaving money in savings. Last month, we had an error with our new property management company that left us really tight for a few weeks. It forced us to take a hard look into our finances and to finally make some financial goals together.

The timing of this was perfect, because this morning he heard back from a potential new employer he’s been talking to and his prospects aren’t good. They said he was one of the best qualified candidates for the job, but they have to give preference to veterans. He applied to the same company in different locations, but none of them seem to be where we’re supposed to go. Instead of going somewhere where we would be a little too close to family or too far away, we decided to stop putting our lives on hold for a possibility and turn toward our solid future.

All in all, it was a good conversation. We sat down and took a hard look at where we wanted to be in two years and decided what we would need to do to make it happen. Here are some of the things we are doing:

  • Build up our emergency fund and moving fund. Ian doesn’t want to stay in Berea much longer, so we’re just going to make the plan that we’re going to be moving by the end of the year, hopefully by November. That gave us a solid savings goal and a deadline.
  • Deferring my student loans – we could afford to make the minimum payments on them, but we decided that saving for the move and rebuilding our emergency fund trumped that for the time being. We’ll put money into savings until we’ve moved, then anything we have after deposits for utilities and a new rental house (except for our $1,000 emergency savings) will go toward paying off our smallest debt. At that point we’ll be resuming our regular payments.
  • Separating our money into different accounts. I read a blog post a while back that changed how I saw our money. I thought that less bank accounts kept things neat and organized, but now I’m seeing that that isn’t the case. She wrote about how she has 13 different accounts. While I don’t have all that many, I actually started implementing it last month and I just took it a step further this month. It’s already helping a lot! I’ll write a post about that later.
  • Upped our Digit savings. It’s so easy to tell Digit to save more money that I’m a little embarrassed I didn’t do it sooner. It should help us find where we still have a few extra dollars in our budget, so we won’t have to wait as long to have our savings built up to where we want it.

We also decided to cut things out. Some of the cutting out was easy, some of it not so much.

  • Our Rhapsody membership was an easy thing to cancel. Although it isn’t a big, costly membership, every dollar helps. We decided to keep our Audible.com membership because Ian uses the books during his commute everyday and we also have Amazon Prime Music for making playlists and such. Since we already pay for Prime on an annual basis, we didn’t see the need for one more membership.
  • Canceling our Love with Food Membership made me legitimately sad. Ultimately, I didn’t need it with my new shopping routine that has saved us so much money because if I need to buy snacks I can just coupon and use Ibotta for rebates, but even so… when we’re out of debt you can bet your sweet stuff I’ll be resubscribing to it, and Wantable.com. Oh, how I miss those amazing little boxes coming in the mail!
  • Vacations. This was a big one that was really hard. Ian’s family lives a very different lifestyle than we do, they visit Disney every other year and the years in between they go on a trip to the Outer Banks. This summer it was a beach year and we decided not to go. Part of the reason was that Ian couldn’t get the vacation time without causing problems at work, but part of it was that we just couldn’t afford it. There was no way to make it work financially. They are taking their Disney vacation early this year and we’re also not going to that, for the same reason. After laying out our financial priorities, an expensive vacation wasn’t more important than being able to move or pay off debt. Even a trip to Disney. But once we’re out of debt, then we’ll be able to save for it and enjoy it properly without having to feel guilty for it.

There were some things we suggested that one of us said absolutely not to. I suggested we cancel Netflix and just use our Amazon Prime Movies. He looked at me like I was crazy and said he really didn’t want to do it. I figured the $8 a month wouldn’t kill us. I also suggested we sell the truck and that was when he started looking at me like I was an absolute loon. At that point we discussed my business expenses because I feel like if I suggested we cut something else out of the budget he would think I wasn’t actually his wife, but some strange alien.

Considering my business expenses was the next thing we looked at, here is how they broke down.

  • Coschedule is my social media manager and there was no way I was getting rid of it. It’s the lifeblood of my blog’s marketing and there’s no way I could do everything I do without it.
  • Post Planner was something we did decide to cut. While I was only on the Love Plan, it just was one more thing to keep up with that I wasn’t very good about, and that extra $9 a month wasn’t really doing a lot of good.
  • Aweber was something else we decided to keep. With the number of email subscribers the blog has, we decided it would be foolish to move them somewhere else. I looked into MailChimp, Constant Contact and MadMimi and they were all more expensive for the size list I have.
  • Dropbox is something else that we decided to keep. We’ll probably be moving our massive photo collection to our free Amazon Prime Photos storage, but Dropbox houses the backups of everything on my laptop as well as my client archives, so we decided the $10 a month was worth it.

We then looked at our income and decided that we would need $700 a month from my business on top of Ian’s base income to meet our savings goals by November. I’m hoping to do it by September, but we’ll see about that.

It was a long talk, but it was a lot easier because I had already been pretty organized because Dave Ramsey talks about having every dollar accounted for, so I knew where pretty much everything was already going.