Yesterday I gave a quick overview of the Total Money Makeover, and today I am going to talk about how I will implement my own money makeover for My Happiness Project goal of Master Money March!
As described in the book, you have to come up with a budget, the real kind. And you have to get strict with it. One of the largest areas of where we spend money in our home is our grocery bill. Over the last few months I have been working on cutting down our grocery bill, but it’s still pretty high. In January, as part of the Month of Organization, I prepped 30 healthy freezer meals; this helped us stay on budget and maintain healthy eating. Our freezer meals are gone now, and in order to save money on groceries, we are playing a little game of “what ingredients do I have, and what can I make?” How full is your pantry? How many random cans of black beans or bags of rice do you have?! Use them! Not only is this going to help the monthly grocery budget, but it will help clean out the panty and organize the clutter!
Next, we are working on our “debt snowball.” In the book, Dave discusses ways to get the ball rolling and bring in extra income, one of which is my favorite: sell the crap you don’t use! I really love doing this, and I randomly go on kicks where if it isn’t bolted down or being used in that moment I list it on Craigslist. So it’s time to say goodbye to the bow hunting gear, which hasn’t been used in years and the baby stuff we no longer need. I’ll be gathering items and pricing to hopefully get them sold and get the ball moving. We don’t have much debt, besides a car payment, but my husband and I have found ways to move money and spend alternatively and the goal is to have the fun bus paid off entirely in 2019.
After your debt is completely paid, Dave recommends fully funding your emergency fund and begin investing. This is where we won’t be entirely adhering to Dave’s plan. We currently save and invest approximately 15% of our income and I cannot imagine stopping doing that to pay off our vehicle. I understand the wisdom and thought behind paying debts before investing, and in no way do I think I have more knowledge than Dave; what I do have knowledge of, is our understanding of the importance of starting young to invest in your future.
In the Tony Robbins Unshakeable Podcast and book, he discusses the importance of investing and understanding how to maximize your return on investments. Tony explains that if you miss the top 10 trading days in a 20 year period, you decrease your returns by 4.5%; and if you miss the top 20 days in a 20 year period you only make 2.1% return on investment. Knowing this, and our goals for retirement, stopping investing isn’t an option. Honestly, the first time I read the statistics of what happens to your investment returns if you aren’t in the market, I was blown away.
Overall, I really do love the baby steps and simplicity of the Total Money Makeover. Reading it helped me organize my thoughts and create a game plan with my husband to work towards financial freedom and wealth. Often I, like many people, experience anxiety around finances and budgets, but having a clear path and clear goals helps alleviate the anxiety and create confidence.
Do you have clear financial goals and more importantly, do you have a clear plan to get there?