Google+ Badge

Friday, January 30, 2015

How Do I Make A Budget? Part 2

How Do I Make a Budget???? Here’s What Ours Looked Like

One of the biggest questions we receive is, “How do I make a budget?” We felt this way too when we first started our journey. Neither one of us had EVER made a budget before. It can be overwhelming at first. The great news is that we now really enjoy the budget and can’t go without it.

So where do you start? Here are our suggestions:

1.   Know what you make each month. Take the budget a month at a time. That way it’s not overwhelming. Add up EXACTLY what you make in a month. That’s step 1.

 2.   Figure out what comes out in bills. For example, our bills category had the following:
·         Phone
·         Car Insurance
·         Utilities
·         Internet
·         Rent
·         Compassion Child
·         Minimum Payments on Loans

 3. After we figured out what our bills were, we moved on to monthly expenses. So take the number you are at after subtracting bills and start subtracting monthly expenses. Ours included:
·         Tithe – 10% of our income
·         Gas - $400 a month  (We could usually save on this one)
·         Groceries - $400 a month (This is the one we STRUGGLED with. We won’t tell you how many times we went over budget on this one. Show yourself grace)
·         Fun Money (Money we could spend on what we wanted) $50 each
·         Date Night - $50
·         Miscellaneous - $50
·         Vacation - $80
·         Birthdays/Gifts – Varied depending on the month

 4.   After you have subtracted your monthly expenses, see what you have left. Take that and, if your emergency fund is complete, throw it at debt. EVERY penny counts.

5.  Take a good look at your budget and see what you can cut out. We cut out cable and downsized our apartment to save on rent. Debt freedom doesn’t come without sacrifice.

 6.   SHOW YOURSELF GRACE – The first month of the budget was HARD. We went over, we spent too much, we fell off track, etc. This process is hard. Don’t beat yourself up if it takes you a few months to get the hang of a budget. It takes time to learn new habits. You CAN do this.

 7.  Have monthly money meetings to look at the budget. Decide what’s going well and what you can change.
We did our budget each month by hand. We didn’t keep a spreadsheet on this, but simply kept a notebook. We hand wrote it each month, and we checked the boxes throughout the month as a payment came out.  This was the way that worked for us. Find the way that works for you. We still keep our budget this way even being out of debt.  This is what it looks like:

This is what it looked like the first month.  Notice all of the boxes . . .

This is what it looks like now.  Much smaller.  I believe this is what the kids call:  "Winning!"

This was our template, but we encourage you to get on the web and look around.  There are a million budget templates out there!  Also, if you're teach savy unlike us (just look at the blog:) you can even keep this more organized on your computer.  Find one that works for you.

You can do this. It is hard. It takes time and effort to learn. Your budget will be hard this first month. However, it is SO worth it. You will be amazed at how much money you have in a month when you know where it all goes.  Take control of your money and take control of your life.

In Christ,

Bryant and Emily Adler

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Well Kept Wallet Feature

We recently did an interview for Well Kept Wallet.  We appreciate them reaching out to us and for posting our story.  You can catch the interview at the link below:

This website is another resource that's out there if you're looking to start your own debt journey!

Bryant and Emily Adler

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

WATE News Feature

We were very thankful to WATE @6news for getting our story out to our local area.  Thanks to Cameron Taylor for coming out on a cold Tennessee winter night to talk to us about paying down debt!  You can watch/read the link at:

Keep working on debt no matter what. Hope you have great day!

Bryant and Emily Adler

Sunday, January 25, 2015

How We Got Started...Part 1

We have really enjoyed reading all the emails we have received. Our heart in all of this was to give others hope. We continue to hope our story does that for people.

We have received a lot of wonderful questions over the last week. One of the top questions we have received is, "How do I get started?" We plan to do a really in depth post about that this week. In it, we will talk about how we built an emergency fund and structured our budget. Keep in mind, our budget structure won't work for everyone. The way this journey works is to tailor it to what works for you. 

We will talk more about that later this week. In the mean time, we wanted to share with you what we read when we got started. 

This is The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. This is the book that changed our lives. We did not take the Financial Peace course. While the course is important, we felt this book was enough to get us going and sustain us throughout the journey. If you are looking for accountability in the journey, we would recommend taking the course and connecting with people. However, this book also outlines the process is detail. 

You can find this book almost anywhere. We got ours for about $4 on eBay. If money is tight, we would recommend looking at used book stores. 

We will share about our budget later this week. We hope you have a blessed rest of your Sunday. Keep paying down debt.

In Christ,
Bryant and Emily

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Most Unimpressive Spreadsheet That Guided Paying Off $92,645 of Debt

Over the last few days, we have been overwhelmed in wonderful way with the amount of questions we have received about our debt payoff. Due to the high volume of questions, we decided to break the process down in a few posts. We are going to start today with Step 1 and go from there. We hope this will help people starting the process to know where to begin.

Step 1 for us - Know what you owe

When we started this journey, we knew one thing had to happen. We had to organize our debts and write them down. We needed to know EXACTLY what we owed...down to the penny. We needed to know the minmum payments, when they were due, and how much interest was adding up as we went.

We had originially sat down with a piece of paper and pencil and totaled our debt by hand. Once we saw what we were facing, we knew we needed to keep track of it daily. Therefore, we decided to put our debts in a spreadsheet.

Here's the great news, anyone can do this. We are Excel stupid. We looked at multiple spreadsheets on other blogs and got totally overwhelmed. Therefore, we decided to create something BASIC and that we could understand. Honestly, looking back, ours isn't even organized well. We just wanted to get our debts down and start attacking them. We didn't categorize it or put it in any order. However, it worked for us. We hope it helps you.

Loan TypeMinumum PaymentInterest RateTotal Left to PayPaying per month
Car Loan321.966.80%8,645.07321.96
Credit Card 18012.00%440080
Credit Card 25015.00%488.1850*Attack First
Student Loan 1150.454.80%19,798.09150.45
Personal Loan 197.95%510097.9
Personal Loan 210015%2,000.00100
Student Loan 2114.835.00%18,982.00114.83
Student Loan 3151.274.80%21,547.18151.27
Student Loan 4211.364.80%8,732.54211.36
Bank Loan1005.00%2,000100
Medical Loan500.00%952.8550

We used this to constantly guide our progress. We looked at this EVERY DAY as a source of motivation and guidance. Every time we made a payment, we updated out numbers. We tracked our debt snowball this way as well. We started with "Credit Card 2" and paid that one off quickly. Then we took that $50 minimum payment and added it on to the minimum payment for "Personal Loan 2". That was not our next smallest loan, however, the interest rate was huge and the balance wasn't. We took that one out second and then moved on from there.

When we paid off a loan, we would change the color of that loan from black to red. Our finished spreadsheet is completely red and says "0" everywhere.  Now for most people, being in the black is positive and being in the red is negative. For the Adlers, we were debt stupid as well as Excel stupid. Therefore, we did it backwards. Again, do what works for you.

If you want to pay off debt, you have got to start by knowing what you owe. Know it down to every penny. From there, track your progress. It will keep you going to see those numbers decrease, even if it is by small amounts. You can do this.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Stay Tuned

What a few days it has been. We recently had our story published on Business Insider and Yahoo Finance. We are thankful for the opportunity to reach people and talk to them about our financial journey. 

In our last post, we stated we would not be updating the blog much. However, we were overwhelmed with emails, messages, and comments from people who connected to our story. Our mission in this the entire time was to help people who are in similar circumstances. So we plan to do that.

We will be making a post this week going more in to depth with the main questions we have been asked. We will also provide a sample spreadsheet like the one we used.

If you have contacted us with a question, we will be back in touch. Just be patient with us!

Keep paying debt down and having hope. You've got this.

In Christ,
Bryant and Emily Adler