I’m back from my honeymoon suckers, but as you can imagine, it’s a little crazy adjusting to life with Mrs. Ninja right now. We did a crap load of wedding gift unpacking yesterday. Today will be the last guest post I run before I get back in the swing of things. I miss you all desperately and can’t wait to share some wedding details.
Today’s guest post, come from my my man Ben, who blogs at Perspective of Ben. He’s a cool dude, so you should check him out.
Hello Ninja Readers!!
Guest poster Ben. I want to share my situation and some things I think I’ve learned.
First: Debt: Student Loans: $80k, CC Debt: $20k, Car loan $5k, House: We owe about what it’s worth after 6 years of payments. 🙁
We’ve recently started a 36 month plan, now 35 months, to pay off all CC debt, the car, a time share (lumped in with CC debt). The trick here is to create a reasonable plan and stick to it, no matter what. Because of this, we’re opting to put money in savings instead of paying off extra debt (right now). We always seem to run up debt whenever we vacation or have to fix a car. That won’t happen any more. Once we have our small emergency fund in place, we stick to the plan. On the plan we’re increasing in net worth at over $1500/month. Pretty good, but we have a long way to go. Estimated net: $-104,000. We can do it!
What we’ve learned: Save money where it has the most impact. If you eat out 4 times a month at $30 a pop, saving 20% nets you very little: $24. Now, if you save a little on eating at home we’re talking 450 meals when you look at 5 of us eating 3 times a day. If we can save 20 cents each meal, we’re making a lot of progress: $90. Even if you just pay attention to how much a meal costs per person is helpful. If I pay $5 for a package of 3 personal pizzas and everyone eats 2, I’m spending more than $3/person for that meal.
Don’t go out with people that you overspend with. We’ve tried changing the behavior, it doesn’t work.
Buy cheap wine. If you’re paying more than $12/bottle, you’re paying to pretend that you know “good” wine. This is probably a problem in other areas of your budget too.
Timeshares are probably not good. What they do is force you to take a vacation which can be good, but also force you to go into debt to pay for the other expenses of vacation. Better to put $350/month into a vacation account and only use money you have to vacation. If you can’t do this consistently, you can’t afford a timeshare.
Things that are still killing us: our 3 kids’ friends’ b-days. Shoes. Haircuts. Qwest internet. Regular price for people joining today after 6-month intro: $30/month. I’m paying $44.99. That’s what Qwest gives their loyal customers.