Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It’s the Most Spend-er-ful Time of the Year!

We hope you and yours had a fabulous holiday season!!! Read on to find out what we learned this year.

For the past couple months, I’ve been spending money like it’s my job: boots, baby stuff, Christmas presents, a car…obviously that last one is the kicker.  I had a not-so-safe vehicle situation.  My lovely Pontiac G6 had a recall because the brake lights decided every day was opposite day: they were on unless I pushed on the break.  With Tutu in the back, I didn’t feel safe driving that car.  Why not get it fixed? Well, I tried once before the recall (naturally it wasn’t doing it consistently then), and the recall announcement informed us that they didn’t have the parts to fix it yet.  Got to love GM.  I apologize if you or someone you know works for GM.  I’m bitter.

One Friday night this fall, Mama, Tutu, and I went to the car lot.  Mama is very experienced in the area of buying cars.  She’s my representative at the dealership.  Tutu is cute and hilarious.  Together they make a formidable team.  I hate buying cars.  I like having a new car, but I don’t like what you have to go through to get it.  Anyway, I have almost no tips on how to get a good deal once you’re there. 

Before you go, it’s super important to do your research.  I ended up knowing more about the inventory that the sales person we were working with.  Know about the cars you’re interested in (most lots have the inventory online), get the Kelly Blue Book and NADA values of the new car(s) and your trade-in, and be ready to argue.   

I am the new owner of a Mitsubishi Outlander.  I love it.  Did I need it? Probably not.  Are we even further in debt? Definitely.  Now it’s time to put our noses to the grindstone and pay off a bunch of money.

2015 is the year of living WAAAAAAY below our means.  Here’s the plan: we are going to do our best to live on my income and put all of Zach’s toward debt.  If I did the math right (good chance I didn’t, but I really think I did), we can do it.  As soon as we get a Z paycheck, I’ll immediately transfer it to a designated savings account (we named it “Debt”).  When I make a debt payment, I’ll transfer the money and immediately pay the bill.  It’ll be like the money was never in our checking account. 

We’re considering getting a separate checking account that doesn’t have a debit card.  We do all our banking online, so it’s not really necessary.  Speaking of debit cards, I’m going to start leaving mine at home.  I’m going to use cash for as much as I can.

Tip: watch this Rachel Cruze (Dave Ramsey’s daughter) vlog for a way to keep a cute wallet and still do the envelope system: I’m going to do that.  Instead of just hoping to stick to my budget, I’m going to withdraw the cash at the beginning of the month in the categories I typically overspend: groceries, eating out, and personal money.  Those are the instances that I usually just swipe the debit card. Gas will still be a debit card situation.  With winter in full swing around here, there’s no way I’m spending any more time outside than I have to!

How much have we been eating out lately?  I would guess about half of our meals in the past few months have not been at home.  Well, we might have eaten them at home, but they sure weren’t made at home! January 1 means no more eating out (or very very little) and switching back to a strict, vegan diet.  Zach and I are big fans of the Skinny Bitch/Bastard series.  We have three of the books and two cookbooks.  No more excuses.  It’s time to get skinny/fit! (Zach hates the word “skinny”.)

I know this is all super cliché.  No one makes plans to change for the better in a new year! I wonder how many products exist pertaining to New Year’s resolutions.  Probably millions.  We’re hoping to stick to ours not just for the new year, but for the rest of our lives.  Here’s to New Life Resolutions! 

Happy New Year!

The Steins

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