A little less than two years ago, my husband and I had just been married. We spent almost every penny to our name on our wedding/honeymoon, and we had moved to a brand new state for me to start my PhD.
As two recent college graduates, our newly acquired cash flow from my husband’s job and my stipend felt like winning the lottery, and we were living like it. We had chosen the highest-end apartment we could afford. We spent the hundreds of dollars of cash and gift cards from our generous wedding guests filling our apartment with beautiful things. (Okay, that one was just me. I won’t blame my poor husband for my sins).
We were eating out 2-3 times a week, ordering whatever we wanted. And when we ate in, we made fancy meals that costed nearly as much as eating out. I drank lattes at a rate that was certainly keeping every coffee shop in business, and when we wanted something, we bought it. We didn’t have a budget and we didn’t think about spending. We had just taken out these fancy new credit cards to “build credit.” We didn’t have any cushion for unexpected expenses, and before we knew it, we were a few thousand dollars in debt.
Almost exactly one year ago, my husband and I decided that it was time to do things differently. Our spending during our first year of marriage was irresponsible, and although we weren’t intentionally being financially foolish, our ignorance came at a price: a credit card bill we were not prepared to pay. Thankfully, our reality check came early in our lives and, in the grand scheme of things, was relatively benign. Sure, it took us a few months to pay off our credit cards, and even more months to build up our savings. It was a learning curve, but we learned.
Fast forward 12 months to today and we are in a different financial position. We’ve budgeted, we’ve pulled back the reigns on our spending, and we’ve seen our work pay off. Sure, I haven’t completely kicked my addiction to latte’s, and we still sneak out for the occasional date night or ice-cream run. But we make these choices intentionally and within reason. We are not perfect. We are not experts or professionals in financial savings or real estate; we’re just a couple who has done the whole ‘finance’ thing the wrong way, and who has done it the right way. We’ve seen how the latter has allowed us to meet our goals of home ownership and financial freedom.
This section of the blog focuses on how to take back control over your finances. It’s never too late (or too early) to start doing things differently. Follow along with us at Budget Abode to hear more about what we did and continue to do to change the course of our financial future.