Since I paid off my loans a few weeks ago, people have been asking me, “What’s next?” “Will you continue blogging?” “What will you do now that you’ve paid off your loans?”
I thought I would feel more rich now that I’ve paid off my loans, but now I see that my finances aren’t in the best place. I’ve only been contributing 6% of my salary to my retirement account and my emergency fund is down to $1,000. So after a few weeks of not tracking my spending, I feel like I’ve woken up hungover, in bed with someone I don’t know.
I never thought about saving while I was paying off my debt. I had tunnel vision, which is probably how I was able to stay focused on paying off my loans. But now I realize that not only do I want a realistic budget that allows me to have some fun, I also want to know that if anything were to happen, we would be ok. That includes getting into a car accident, losing a job or our dog needing surgery.
So, what’s next?
My fiance and I are getting married in April and now we have finally combined our budgets. It’s hard ceding control of my money. It’s the last vestige of singledom. Even though I’ll still be the one in charge of our budget, it’s weird knowing that someone else is relying on me being financially responsible. Before, if I wanted to go a little crazy, it didn’t matter. I only had to justify it to myself. Now I have to really think about not going over budget or finding ways to pay for things I really want.
So here’s what’s next: since our combined emergency fund is only $2,500, my goal is to increase that to $15,000 by next September. I’ll post monthly progress reports and write about how we’ve made extra money, how much we’re saving and how we’re still enjoying life. I’ll try to post pictures of our budget as well as our expenses, so you can see how well we’re doing.
Even though I’m debt free, I hope you’ll keep reading and following me (and my fiance) on this journey.
After paying off my debt 2 years ago, I also failed to be as frugal as I wished I was. Now I am slowly trying to get back to some more budgeting and less reckless spending (which is pretty difficult with a new baby and all).
I imagine it’s similar to athletes who train for a race and then stop training after it’s over. I’m trying hard to think about my purchases. Asking myself, “would I have bought this when I still had my loans?” seems to stop some unnecessary spending. Thanks for reading @dojo!
Jake Posey says
Congrats. You have done what so many have not yet done (including myself). I would not worry too much about “ceding control” of your money. It is not really like that. The one piece of advice is to have “money talk” dates. These are specific times you have set up to talk about the budget and spending. Otherwise, you will only talk about it when money comes up because things are not going as planned. This leads into a fight.
Thanks Jake! I think those are a good idea. I’ve always heard that money is a common factor in divorce, so I tried to make our budget as fight-proof as possible. I’ve heard of one couple who made them like dates – they would get coffee or a beer and sit down to review the budget together. Do you and your wife have “money talk” dates?