Tomorrow is an exciting day for Nick and I. We are FINALLY making the switch (as partial as it may be...) to the Envelope System encouraged by Dave Ramsey. We took Financial Peace University when we first got married, thanks to a very generous scholarship by Cadence International, a ministry we grew to love for its service to us before Nick deployed.
We got "gazelle intense" and saved $1000 of our wedding money to have the beginnings of our Emergency Fund. We had to spend it on some repairs for the truck a few times, but that is what it is for! When our reception came around 5 months later (because we got married out in Washington and had a reception in Minnesota when we came home on Nick's leave), we got our baby emergency fund established for good and threw the rest of that income toward the only credit card debt we had. We made the very last payment the week before the beginning of the deployment, and canceled the card right after.
With Nick deployed and me back at school, living on campus and splitting a grocery budget seven ways with my roommates, our expenses dropped considerably and I began to stockpile money to take to the bank and pay off Nick's truck. There is something VERY exciting about walking into a bank with thousands of dollars of cash in hand, handing it all to the woman behind the counter and getting a ticket back with the remaining balance on your loan: $0. That was a little over a year ago on February 4th, 2010. Three days before our first wedding anniversary.
I celebrated by myself, because Nick was still in Iraq, and went back to school, spending money and bills and groceries, but saving for our life after the Army. Nick came home in June and ETSed (his Active Duty contract ended) in October. He moved back to Minnesota, where I was already living as I was working on my last year of college.
Somehow (read: because God is AWESOME!), we ended up recieving money from the Army for a lot of little things we forgot we coming (per diem pay, travel pay, etc.) and we threw all of that money into savings. Then came Christmas and our very generous families. More straight into savings. And taxes. Also to savings.
But our expenses are still higher than they should be. Not that they are higher than we can afford. We just don't have to spend as much as we have been spending.
So tomorrow, Nick and I are going to the ATM, withdrawing some cash, and moving toward the Cash Envelope system for the first time ever. We aren't going to put everything on the Envelope system, though. Just a few of the categories we routinely overspend with.
I am excited to finally live within a firm, written budget instead of treating our budget as a good idea or a guideline. I am so excited for March 1 to come so that we can get started on this new phase!
And it case you were wondering, we have one more payment coming from the Army sometime in the next two weeks. That money will complete Baby Step 3 (3-6 month of living expenses). Because God is Awesome.
At 23 and 21, Nick and I, both full-time students, will be debt free and have 3 months of living expenses set aside as an emergency fund.