Yep! A thousand dollars …but maybe more depending on a few things.
Answer these questions for me:
How often do you and your family go out to eat per week?
What do you order to drink?
If you said anything other than water, you are wasting your money!
I am not talking about times when you are going out for a special occasion or celebration. I am talking about your typical Tuesday night at the Chick-fil-A or Zaxby’s.
(Bless your heart if you don’t have a Chick-Fil-A or Zaxby’s in your area).
Y’all I have one bad habit. Just one. Other than that I am perfect.
I LOVE me some soda! I have recently weaned myself down to one per day and plan on dropping it completely. However, I am notorious for hitting up a drive-thru just for a big gulp…that was until I realized how much it adds up!
Let’s do some math, shall we?
I am going to use my family as an example. We are a family of four and typically go out for food twice per week. This might mean breakfast on Saturday morning and dinner one night per week because we are off with the kids while they play sports.
4 people X 2 restaurants per week = 8 drinks per week
8 drinks per week X an average of $2.50 per drink = $20.00 in drinks per week (this is a low estimate by the way!)
Now let’s multiply our weekly $20.00 X the 52 weeks in the year
Drum Roll………………it comes out to $1040.00!
Not only is this practice good for your wallet, but it’s good for you waistline as well!
I love a win-win-win! The times where my wallet, my waistline, and my overall health benefit, I consider myself blessed.
I also want you to remember my motto when trying to make this switch. BE FLEXIBLE.
Maybe you like your drinks at restaurants. I am here to tell you that’s okay. How about you order water every other time? You will still wind up saving over $500 per year. I get that life is too short to limit yourself all the time, I just want to challenge you to live the best life you can live.
For me, living a debt free life is the best life I can live. Making small changes like this allowed me to have my house paid off in by mid 30’s and before my first child finished kindergarten. So, give it a try? I would even go so far as to journal about it for the first few months just so you can see the progress you make.
When I made this small switch I began tracking the savings on my phone and could not believe how suckered I was into buying one of the most marked up items in the restaurant biz!
Over time, I started seeing savings in the hundreds, and I knew I had made the switch forever.
Part of the reason why we don’t fight is because we are on the same page about financial goals (to the point where he has created a monster) but we also have some non-traditional ways of doing things.
Get Three Accounts
At the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I participated in marriage counseling.
This counseling can look many different ways, but ours was led by the pastor of our church at the time and one of the sessions was about the “F” word. Yep, you guessed it…FINANCES.
He had some great ideas, but the idea that has had the most significant impact for us has been the suggestion to open three separate bank accounts. Here is how it looks for us:
The Main Account
The Austin Account
The Sherrie Account
Every payday ALLof our money goes into one account: THE MAIN
From the “main” account every single dime is slated for something. Even if it means just adding a dollar amount to the line item called “extra,” that money is allocated.
Austin has a template that he uses to plug in all our our expenses.
2. Budget A Monthly Allowance
On a monthly basis, Austin and I are awarded allowances from our income. Now, we ain’t talking the big bucks here by any means; it’s not even 10% of our paychecks! It is a very low amount, but we can live with it and it’s enough to say we rewarded ourselves for working so hard.
This is where discipline comes into play though. You can’t go over your allotted amount! If you know a big expense is coming up, you must save the previous month (or months in some cases).
The best part about this idea is I don’t have to answer for why I went to the QuickTrip after work just to use my debit card on a $0.79 gigantic soda …just so I can feel the bubbles on my tongue.
Austin doesn’t have to explain to me why he purchased 2-3 songs from iTunes every week or why he continues to purchase Clemson Tiger paraphernalia on the daily.
You know why …because it doesn’t matter. If items are within his allowable limit, I say buy it all day long!
This practice gives us FREEDOM.
I speak for myself here, but I love the fact that I get to decide how I use my nickels and dimes without having to answer for every decision I make. That can be exhausting!
No bickering about who spent what or how much was spent when you do it this way! Save the penny pinching for the household budget. This is your little cut!
Your allowance may be $20 per month, or it could be one whole paycheck. Either way, this plan works for every scenario. Trust me, your marriage will improve when it comes to finances!
3. Have Budget “Meetings”
Look, you both need to be in the know here. Really, you need to be on the same page if at all possible when it comes to the inner workings of your household budget. There is no way around the issue.
You are both stakeholders in your home.
Look at it this way; businesses have budget meetings and many times they attribute that to their success. Is your household not sort of like a business? You have to purchase materials and supplies. You have incoming and outgoing expenses. You sometimes have employees to pay (maybe a child’s allowance). Why not make time to sit down and discuss where you used to be, where you are now, and where you want to go?
Plan for the future of your “business.”
In saying all of that, I am going to say this: keep EVERYTHING flexible. Plan how often you meet, but change it up if it is not working or is not often enough. Maybe you are meeting too much and it is causing anxiety. BE FLEXIBLE.
Set a certain amount of money aside for allowances and stick to it! Once it is gone it’s gone. If I spend all of my allowance on shoes and clothes, I will not be able to make it to that paint night with my group of homegirls.
In our case we have not given ourselves a “raise” in 11 years because we wanted to reach financial goals more than we wanted to go out and buy stuff. E L E V E N years y’all. 11. And I kid you not over that eleven years I received over $22,000 in raises alone and we stuck to our allowance budget. BUT I DIDN’T DIE DID I !?! (insert laugh cry emoji)
Finally, in 2017 I got a new job and needed more professional clothing so we did bump my budget up a little, but it wasn’t significant AT ALL. BE FLEXIBLE.
In conclusion, I urge you to focus on future goals.
A tool that Austin and I use is sticker charts. Yes, I know it seems a little silly but what a motivational tool it can be! I read a study long ago about how the majority of Americans were visual learners; some with an average 8th or 9th grade education. It made sense to me. Grocery store ads: cater to the visual, Pinterest: caters to the visual. Television ads: cater to the visual. You get my point! When you put that sticker on your chart every month, you are seeing progress. Progress feels good. But accomplishing goals…that feels amazing!
Could your marriage use a boost in the budget department?
Let me know how you keep the chaos under control in your marriage.