Back in the fall, I read an article to the effect of “Things You Should Do Before You Turn 30.” I was reading it simply out of curiosity, but one of the bullet points really struck a chord in me. I don’t remember the specifics, but it was something to the effect of, “getting your finances under control.” After just a glance, I was convicted. “That’s what I need to do,” I thought to myself. I had a number of things going on over the next few months that necessitated that I push back my financial organization plan a few months back. I figured that it would be most realistic to start at the beginning of January 2015, and focus those next 5 months leading up to my 30th birthday on intentionally saving money and aggressively paying down my debt. I intend to continue these newly developed financial habits into my 30s so that the Frugal 5 lays the foundation for a more financially freeing life.
Although my debt is not crushing, it is to the point that it is substantial – it takes up a pretty hefty portion of my paycheck every month. between significant student loan debt, the last year of a car loan, and a significant amount of debt on two credit cards, it adds up to look like dizzying $$$$ in my brain. All those $$$$ leads me to feeling very overwhelmed, especially at the end of the month when I have paid all my bills and am trying to make ends meet. And so, I am determined to do something about it – to make progress beyond the simple paying the minimum payment every month on my debts – to pay down, and if at all possible, to pay off many off those debts in a timely manner.
My primary framework for The Frugal 5 is Dave Ramsey’s methods in his book Total Money Makeover. Although I can’t promise to follow them religiously, I will be using them as a guide to the best of my ability.
One of the reasons I wanted to start a blog to record my progress on this journey was because it is a way for me to automatically give myself transparent accountability, and a virtual check-in point. Furthermore, I am anticipating I will be learning a lot along the way, and I wanted to share that with others in my boat. Additionally, I think that being a single young professional adds a different flavor to the budget battle, with its unique set of benefits and challenges. In particular, it is difficult for single young adults, I think, to budget realistically and effectively within the entertainment category, because so much of our social and community structure revolves around GOING OUT (and spending money) with friends. Eating out, going to concerts, going on trips to visit family and friends, are all ways we connect, is an integral way with connect our social network. Many times, fellowship resolves around spending money. And if saving money means staying home and eating ramen noodles on my own…who wants to do that?!
So one of my goals, in doing this challenge, is to figure out creative ways to reformat my approach to entertainment and social activities that cost money. I am sure it will be a learning process, and I am sure I will learn a lot along the way.
Thanks for coming a long with me on this journey! I am excited and optimistic. Here’s to a frugal and fruitful 5!