What does an oversized KitKat have to do with a goal of being debt free? Gather round kiddies. The figures regarding household debt in the US are absolutely staggering.
The average American household carries $137,063 in debt, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest numbers.
Thankfully, our household has no credit card debt, no auto loans, no student loans, and we are aggressively working to pay off the mortgage. In terms of our finances, I will share some things that we do well and what we don’t do well and should improve. Why am I sharing so much?
- It forces me to think about these topics.
- It allows me to share our process publicly in hopes of helping others.
- It holds me accountable to my audience.
- For every financial win, we have a corresponding not-so-good so there is always room to improve.
- We drive older cars.
- We live in a modest and moderately priced home compared to our income.
- We bring our lunches almost everyday and try to be discerning in our eating out.
- We are conservative to buy clothes used, on sale, etc.
- I am faithful to the library. Had I bought each of the 89 books I read last year, I would have easily spent $1500+ plus hoarded all those books!
- I spend very little on home furnishings and buy most of our furniture used (think chalk painted original NC wood pieces).
- I sell/donate/trash almost everything we don’t use anymore.
Not so good
- We drive luxury cars that are expensive to maintain and insure, lose value rapidly, and are much more than we need.
- Our home has an EXTREMELY high HOA which basically equates to a rent payment even once the mortgage is gone. Location is key due to school zone and walkability to school and other amenities.
- We still eat out way too much. We rarely turn down a social engagement especially that involves food stuff.
- We still buy way too many clothes and they tend to be expensive (even if used) and name brand.
- We cycle through our home furnishings pretty quickly. I tend to tire of my home styles and then want to replace it.
- We spend crazy amounts on our gym membership, tennis club, ClassPass (use my referral link if you’re interested!), and other boutique fitness classes (yoga, barre, and more).
- We opt for easy online/convenient drive-through shopping at the overpriced local grocery store and buy bulk at Costco. We could do better and shop at less expensive stores like Wal-Mart. Oh here’s the tie-in to the oversized Kit Kat bar. We are traveling and have to stop in a local Wal-Mart which I normally avoid at all costs (but not ALL costs) because when I’m there, I’m always amazed at how it’s SO cheap. I pick up several not-on-the-original-list items because they are literally 1/4 to 1/3 the price of my local grocery store. I would say if I were willing to shop at Wal-Mart and Aldi more, I could cut 20 – 40% off our grocery bill. Where else can you enjoy the gluttony of a horrifically oversized Kit Kat bar?
- We have so many gadgets, current ones, and the expensive cellular service to go along with it too.
- We are indulgent in certain aspects of life – spa days, vacations, events, hosting friends, etc. Although we try to be frugal in those events, they aren’t exactly life essentials.
- We use Uber/Lyft a lot. It’s super convenient but tacking on $25 – 30 of ride fares to each event adds up fast!
- We are far from the biggest consumers considering we live in a townhouse and I’m a wanna be minimalist. Having said that, we still spend crazy amounts of money at Amazon and Costco. Costco is the dollar store but more like the $20 store. Most items there range between $10 – 20 so it’s multiples of that 😮
I’ll have to write another post on the balance between living for today and saving for tomorrow. For this post, it’s about cutting back on today to prepare better for tomorrow.
Of course, would you expect any less? We pretty much track every expense down to the penny and have money and budget discussions at least monthly.
This isn’t exactly a “vision board” but this is my commitment to 2019 financial goals.
Man, that’s some gorgeous photography with my post-it note. Background, composition, and subject matter are flawless!