Day 18: Ballin’ on a Budget

We started out on our journey about three years ago. We set out to crush our student loan debt. Going from making minimum payments to throwing as much money as we possibly could at it.

I created a Sheet to start tracking our spending. Once we saw trends, we created our first official budget. It was tough in the beginning. Friends and co-workers inviting me to lunch or dinner… “Brought my lunch again,” I’d say shrugging my shoulders. My mom and sisters would go shopping. I’d tag along go, but I would just be there to support their spending- haha!… I was okay with it. Most times I was proud of my decisions. But sometimes, I desperately wanted to go out to eat and/or go on an all-out shopping spree. 

Since starting the journey, we’ve had two kids, purchased our first home, and purchased another vehicle. Between babies, a home mortgage, and the student loan payments, it’s like we have three mortgage payments. Yuck!

My dad worked in the mortgage business his entire career. “Fifteen year loan, Britt. And put down at least 10%.” Being one of eight children raised on a farm, my dad knows how to handle money because they barely had any. They had to spend wisely and only on necessities. We were raised on those values. Growing up, I didn’t always like it. We rarely went out to eat- only for special occasions and limited shopping excursions.  Only when I compared myself to other families did I really notice or care- family friends eating out more, shopping at Justice Limited 2, getting manicures and pedicures or their eyebrows waxed routinely. All in all, we had a nice balance, and I can truly appreciate it now. Then, in college and throughout most of my 20’s I disregarded much of the financial values my dad had taught me. Finally, by the time I was 28, Charlie and I were ready to get serious about our expenses and financial future; he had a similar upbringing as well. We were both on board to cut back on unnecessary spending.

We purchased a larger vehicle to accommodate our growing family this past summer, and we paid the last of it off as we rang in the new year. Happy 2021 to us!

Finally, the last big push. Charlie and I huddled together around my laptop. Click. Last week, we paid off the last chunk of our student loans. 

Throughout the last three years, I grew to enjoy crunching the numbers and taking a big whack at the student loans. I became proud of our progress and eventually felt content with spending less- almost a sense of joy, too. I developed a positive mindset towards our limited spending and enjoyed finding creative ways to treat ourselves. I called our clever ways of having fun on a budget  “ballin’ on a budget!” We figured out inexpensive ways to still have fun, indulged a little, and celebrated small financial victories.

The journey was tough, but it was worth it. 

18 Replies to “Day 18: Ballin’ on a Budget”

  1. Congratulations! This is a huge accomplishment. I’ve always been a tightwad so I can get behind the “ballin’ on a budget!”

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  2. I really appreciate the honesty of this piece. It is not easy budgeting and backing out of the “fun” things that are just not in the budget. We just bought a new car as well and are operating on a different budget- I love that you can celebrate sticking to it! Very inspiring to continue to be “Ballin’ on a Budget!”

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  3. Congratulations on laying off your car and your student loans! That’s awesome!

    A few years ago, when I stopped working, we also took a look at our spending and tried to figure out ways to save. We also cut going out some, although, we didn’t go out that much anyway. And then our biggest saver was moving from Meijer to Walmart and Aldi. And Walmart pickup, so less impulse buying. We saved and continue to save a ton of money! Even though Meijer isn’t THAT expensive.

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  4. We started this at our house about three years ago. When I was reading this I was celebrating with you as each thing was paid off. We have everything but out house paid off and the feeling of relief is amazing. I remember each month counting how much closer we were to each little pay-off. Congratulations!!

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