Our house hunt finally came to a close this month. We did it backward – buying a house happened spontaneously and I highly recommend against that. Normal people save (and save and save!) before jumping into buying a new house – not us. And it drained our savings account.
But I’ve never been happier to be broke in all my life.
We’ve been homeless and living with my parents for the past two months. This means no mortgage payment (so you won’t see that on our expense report) and very little utility costs.
And though it’s been rough on us all – increased driving distance to work and learning to share one bathroom amongst five people – it truly was a blessing in disguise.
Out of Control Restaurant Spending
Moving in with my parents happened at just the right time. It was just a week after we moved in that Mr. Marvelous had his first five-day long hospital stay. He has a blood clotting disorder that we’ve been struggling to treat (with the help of specialists in hematology) and it produced a massive blood clot in his leg.
So massive that it required an ambulance ride to a bigger (out of town) hospital and a week-long stay.
But that wasn’t the end of it – just five short weeks later, the same thing happened. This time, he was at the hospital for seven days before he could come home.
It was stressful.
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Living with my parents provided peace during these highly emotional weeks. I knew Girl Marvelous and Furball were being taken care of while I spent long days (and some nights!) at the hospital with Mr. Marvelous.
And all that being away from home meant a lot of eating at restaurants (mostly the hospital cafe).
I am so thankful for our emergency savings to help cover this added cost. And if you don’t have one, you need to get one pronto to cover life’s unexpected expenses.
Don’t fret – for now, Mr. Marvelous is home! He’s doing mostly well and is recovering. His health is being monitored even more closely to help prevent blood clots in the future. (Watch for a cane on next month’s expense report!)
When Your Child Keeps Growin
Aside from our insane restaurant spending this month, another big expense for us was clothing. Girl Marvelous had a tremendous growth spurt this year and most (all?) of the clothes that we bought to start school were too small.
My first instinct is to hop in the car, drive to Kohl’s, and spend to our heart’s content!
But that was what we did before we realized that spending money doesn’t make you happy.
Now, our favorite way to stop is by way of second-hand items. And this philosophy applies to clothing, lawnmowers, and just about everything else we can buy used. (Note: except bedding and undergarments – I have a strict policy of only buying new for those two categories!)
So that’s just what we did. And Girl Marvelous had a blast shopping for new clothes at our neighborhood second-hand clothing store. We managed to score an entire wardrobe for a fairly reasonable amount of money.
A Note on Debt
Debt sucks, plain and simple. There is no way to sugar coat it.
Some debt isn’t bad – like mortgages, I don’t have a big problem with those – but the debt Mr. Marvelous and I accumulated is mostly in the form of credit cards, car loans, and student loans.
Bad. Bad. Bad.
We have managed to pay of $30k in debt over the past two years by using frugal substitutions and by simply going without some of life’s luxuries. For instance, we canceled our satellite tv package and use Netflix instead, and we switched to re-usable water bottles instead of buying bottled water.
It’s pretty simple and we’ve learned to enjoy the simple things in life. And that brings an immense amount of peace.
How We Track Our Spending and Save Money
Mr. Marvelous and I utilize the free and hugely popular Personal Capital to track our spending and watch our savings build.
It syncs across all our devices and has a sweet app for our smartphone for easy on-the-go tracking. And the best part is it puts everything on auto-pilot and requires very little input from us – which is a huge time (and sanity!) saver for us.
I used to be obsessed with our budget and tracking our expenses. I was a spreadsheet junkie and had a hard time letting go.
You see, I’m old-school when it comes to some of that stuff. (Plus I love spreadsheets.)
But it was taking up way too much of my time and making tracking our spending harder than it needed to be. So a friend introduced us to Personal Capital and I’ve never looked back.
Why We Don’t Use Cash
Being a big Dave Ramsey fan for quite a while, I almost feel like an imposter saying we don’t use cash. (If you didn’t know, Dave Ramsey is a huge cash-only advocate for getting spending under control.)
But it just wasn’t working for us.
We used the envelope system off and on for the past few years. It’s a great system! But Mr. Marvelous never had money to fill up his gas tank and if I asked him to pick up milk on the way home, he didn’t have the cash for that, either.
It was more hassle than it was worth for us.
That’s why we switched to using our debit card exclusively for purchases – we always have it on-hand and it puts tracking our spending on autopilot.
I don’t have to wonder where that random $20 bill went because all our transactions are imported automatically into Personal Capital for us to see. It’s easy-peasy. And if you haven’t looked into it yet, I highly recommend it.
And now… here’s how we spent our money this month:Interested in re-publishing this article on your blog or website? Awesome! All I ask is that you send me a quick note via my website so I can give you permission. Thank you!