Day 3053 – How To Take Control Of Your Finances

One thing that Bret and I have started to be really aware of is our budget. We’ve used Mint (totally free and amazing for budgeting and goals) for about 3 years. It’s helped us have a good picture of what we’re actually spending, not what we think we’re spending. As Bret has been growing his real estate investing business, there have been a whole lot of mindset shifts, growth, and thinking about things differently (for both of us). One thing we’ve started to do is have a weekly “finances meeting.” We look at our budgets, how close we are to going over, and looking at our net worth. We’ve started to keep our “envelope accounts” (one for taxes, one for bills, one for real estate, etc) as Capital One 360 savings accounts. What’s great about that is we’re earning interest on them every month. It’s great seeing our passive income grow, just by keeping our money there. I added a section to our spreadsheet that now lists all of those envelope accounts and our Roth IRA accounts. It’s awesome seeing our total net worth going up. I’ve found keeping a weekly eye on our budgets has been helpful. It lets us see if we have room to add in something fun or not. It also lets us know if we won’t meet our budget for something, and quickly see where we’ll have to move money from another category (basically, it’s less going to savings).

So what used to give me major anxiety, guilt, and shame (because of our debt), now brings encouragement, and accuracy.

What do you do to keep track of your finances?


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Day 2054 – Sometimes Sacrifice Leads To Regret, Sometimes It Leads To Untold Blessing

I’ve blogged a lot about sacrifice. I’ve blogged a lot about what we’ve cut out of our lives to pay off our debt.

I’m the type of person that does not live with regret. I can look at things and think, wow, that was a bad decision, but I learned from it. Or I can look at something and see how God could have used the situation in one way or another. If I offend someone, I do what is in my power to fix the situation, but at the end of the day, I’m not worried about my reputation. I truly believe that if I am in the right, one day God will defend me.

I can look back on my life and think, wow, it would’ve been really cool if I could have done that or should have done that.

Regret? No sir. I have lived my life, my choices are my own and I live with the consequences.

But I will say there was one thing that I do deeply regret. What’s funny, is that this is a seemingly small thing. You would think that I would deeply regret something big.

A few years back, Bret and I had the opportunity to go see a band we both really love, Thrice. The band has moving songs and a great range of style. The concert was during their farewell tour. It was one of those “we have to go or we will never be able to see them live” type things. But, they were touring during our very hard financial times….the times when we had to cut EVERYTHING out. So even though it wasn’t an expensive show, maybe $20-30, it was still too much.

I look back and see that it was wise to not go. And I HAD seen them myself…just not with Bret.

So, I harbored my regrets but knew nothing could be done.

Then something happened.

I’ve been a “fan” of Thrice on Facebook for years. Since they aren’t touring/together, I didn’t see many updates. But one day, an article popped up, the “Thrice was mentioned in a post” type thing. By George, it was an interview with a band member saying that they may tour again. WHAT?!?!?!?! Are you kidding me??? Are you saying that I may have a chance to see this band again? WITH MY HUSBAND??? I did some research, but no information. I then created a monthly reminder to check for a show. A few weeks back, I saw a post about a festival in Canada…but it was during the week and school….so, that wouldn’t work. But I pressed on and kept checking.

Yesterday, the heavens opened wide and a post was shared by Thrice. They would be playing at the Surf and Skate Festival in New Jersey. Three and a half short hours away.

Friends, we now have two tickets to see our beloved band in a few weeks. We’re even talking about splurging to get a hotel for the whole weekend.

So, if you’re going through a time of sacrifice. Of regret. Of thinking you will never get a chance to do/see/buy/whatever something. Take heart. Sometimes God sees your sacrifice and overwhelmingly blesses you with a gift you never expected.

Heaven knows we’re jumping for joy. 🙂