Thursday, March 19, 2009

Flying Without A Flight Plan....

That's how my personal life feels right now. I know where I want to go, but I have no clue how I am going to get there. That's really how Irv and I have done things our entire married lives. We just went with the flow and what happened...happened. Not always a bad way to live, except where finances are concerned.

So, now we find ourselves utterly tired of working....yearning for a glimpse at retirement....with no chance in hell of that happening any time soon.

Irv has had some nice jobs over the years, but none of them offered a decent pension plan. I was a SAHM (stay at home mom) until Matt was in high school except for selling Avon and cleaning houses. No pension plans there.

Most of our married lives we barely made enough money to pay the bills, so saving and investing weren't even in our vocabulary. Don't get me wrong, we had some great times living on what we made until things like birthdays, Christmas, medical emergencies, house disasters or any unexpected expense popped up, and then our survival mechanism was plastic and even today at times, it still is. We have a very large amount of credit card debt that we are trying to pay down.

Unless we sit down and take a serious look at where we are and where we eventually would like to be and figure out a way to get there...we will continue to flounder and retirement will forever be out of reach.

Getting out of debt is difficult when every penny you earn goes to pay bills. I know that we have two options...we either make more money, or we spend less money....or a combination of the two.

My plan is for us to write down how we spend our money...every penny of it. Once we see where our money is going, we will need to decide where we can cut our spending. Making more money will come through my etsy business down the road....neither of us would have the energy to work a second job right now, so etsy is our best option. It's something I love and I can see it being a big help at some point.

We don't spend a lot of money on clothes, jewelry, fancy dinners, movies, cars and "toys" so our cutting will mean sacrificing the little things that we enjoy and that isn't easy. You feel like you are working so hard, but yet you can't afford to spend $15 a week on Starbucks and that sucks...but it is what it is, and if giving that up will get a bill paid faster....I know I can do it.

It's all about accountability and responsibility and sacrifice AND how badly we want to reach that ultimate goal, which is a debt free retirement before we are too darn old to enjoy it! I am not upset about it so don't feel bad. We made choices along that way that made sense at the time. It doesn't matter now if they were the right choices or not. What matters is the present and how what we do today can help us in the future.

So, if you have any little money saving or expense cutting secrets.....I am all ears!!

7 comments:

aliceinparis said...

I hear you!
I've heard that you concentrate on the card with the highest interest first, just paying the minimum on the others and pumping whatever you can onto the high card until it is gone and then do the next one and so on.
I consolidated my debt and got a line of credit from the bank which has a much lower interest rate.
Also, you can call the credit card companies and see if they will lower your interest. I have a friend who did that and it was lowered.
It is hard, I cut corners all the time. I saw a show on grocery shopping using coupons and a woman got $100 worth for .25 cents! She said you cannot be loyal to a brand when you use coupons.

Angela said...

I am the best at saving money and paying off debt! I would suggest one investment first...a book by Dave Ramsey. His system of "snowballing" debt really works.

A couple of years ago, Aub and I were way in debt. We did not have cable television for over 3 years! We ate at home, we had an envelope system and we were just downright cheap! I would suggest cutting anything that is not a need. Start paying off debts smallest to largest.

In fact, I have a copy of Dave's book. I am going to find it and mail it to you!

Kala Pohl Studio said...

Consolidating all credit cards is a great plan. Definitely shop around for lower interest rates. Every time I think I have things under control, up pops an unexpected expense. Like today, the maintenance guy came around to service the air conditioners (which we desperately need here in Florida in the summer). It ended up with us paying $400 for some parts that had worn out - argh!!

Lanyardlady said...

I'm in the same predicament...trying to get the smaller bills paid off and then focusing on larger ones. I kinda wonder why each American can't get a personal bailout plan instead of giving it to the big companies.

Beth Jaffe thequeenofcups said...

OOOOhhhh, I hate money so so so much! It is so much a thorn in our sides right now. It sucks when you deposit the dh's paycheck and it doesn't even cover the overdrawn monies you've already spent. We are so screwed right now, too! Best of luck and I think I may have picked up some tips from your friendly comments!
Happy day and stay in love with Irv1

whyte said...

We were hit really hard when our construction-related business hit a wall in FL 3 years ago; after saving all our lives to retire, we're now prematurely living off the savings to exist. And taking what jobs we can find to supplement.

If you really look around you can cut back and not feel the pinch. We turned up the A/C several degrees, took a few weeks to acclimate but we did, turn off the hot water heater, turn on to shower, laundry and dishes at once. The water gets hot amazing fast - 15 min. Cut out land line and fax line. No meals out, no fast food, cut back on grocery. We stay home lots, entertainment is a Sun ride on the motorcycle cause $10 gas will last all day, pack a lunch. Buying clothes at thrift shop and consignment, really nice stuff for pennies, in fact I'll probably never go back to retail again.

It actually becomes a passion and fun to quit shelling out and get money coming in.

sherry said...

It sounds like you've gotten some great advice.
I've always been a saver, and now etsy is my day job.
We've paid off our house, because what we do without is what people think they need to have. We've never had cable TV, for example.
Good luck, you can do it.

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