I feel a little bit of background information about us might help to profile our situation. I am 26, and graduated last fall with my Master of Arts in Kinesiology. I work as a self-employed Mental Skills Trainer/Sport Psychology Consultant. I complete personal, one-on-one consulting, as well as contracted out consulting for various sport development organizations. My income is variable, and depends on the work I am able to arrange each month. My husband is 27, and a first year teacher at a local middle school and loving it! He loves his job and puts more than all he has into each day in the classroom and on the court. He teaches, coaches, and volunteers for whatever he can within the school. His contract is for the remainder of this school year, and his goal is to land a probationary contract with the same school next year.
|Our for sale sign! You can't actually see our house in this picture, just the neighbour's!|
In August of this year, my husband and I bought our first home. He was in a mutually owned townhouse with his father and siblings while going through post-secondary, but we've since branched off and purchased our first home. Following the withdraw of our first mortgage payment, we began to seriously discuss our need for a budget; what is our game plan?? My father-in-law has been mentioning budgets to us for a while now, and it's always something we've put on the back burner. Now we realize that this is something that we need to get on top of to keep ourselves in line. So last week we outlined all of our fixed costs, variable monthly spendings, savings, and investments, and realized we needed to start some extreme budgeting! Following a few tears, minor panic, and reassurance to each other that we're fine and it'll just be 'tight' for a while, we've taken a fun (yes, I said it!) approach to budgeting. For anyone who has seen the TV show "Til Debt Do Us Part", we're following Gail Vaz-Oxlade's use of Mason jars to store our savings. We've often watched her show and thought "How do these people get to that point?!" In realizing that we never wanted to get to that point, this was our first step to saving!
|First month jars.|
It has been a week of our money jars, and so far it's going well. For me, I have to get used to not using my debit card to pay for things. We take the money from the jars we've set aside and use that money to pay for whatever it is we need to purchase. The receipts go back in the jar, along with any change leftover from the purchase(s) made. At the end of the month, the remaining cash and receipts should add up to the original amount that was budgeted for each category. I like it! My husband always says he prefers to pay cash because you visually see the exchange of money and it doesn't fly under the radar like debit or credit card transactions. I'm totally finding this to be true! I hope that we can stay on track with these jars andI can't wait to share at the end of the month, how they really worked for us.
As a challenge, I encourage you to try out the jars too! Use something you have in your house, whether it be old Mason jars, or your great-grandmother's prized teacup set, DON'T SPEND MONEY ON THE PURCHASE OF JARS! Use what you already have! Label each jar and fill it with your agreed upon monthly spending for each category. If you don't budget for it, it's something that you'll have to sacrifice this month. Remember to keep your jars in a hidden, locked safe. This is your bank now, so take care of it! Please share what your experiences are with this or something similar!