We always knew when kids became a part of our story that we wanted to make it possible for me to stay at home. A year or so before I became pregnant with Chickadee we decided we would go ahead and try living on only one income to see if our dreams could become reality. What a HUGE challenge this way. We were going to start thinking about money differently. But we were determined with with a little budget tightening and cost cutting we figured out how to make it work. Fast forward about a year and a half later and I was finishing out my last school year as a teacher and looking forward to an arriving bundle of joy that fall! Let the crunch time begin!
My first step was brainstorming in the areas we could save money (even if it was just a little bit). Small savings in lots of places can really add up!
Look for where you can pay less Call all the folks you pay bills to. See if you can get a lower gas rate, a better deal on cable (or cut it all together), a cheaper cell phone plan (Costco has a counter where they will compare them all), or a deal for bundling your insurance. You can always save money in these areas. The retention folks are your best bet for how low these costs can really be!
Grocery Shopping Now you can definitely cut coupons, but I currently don’t have time for all the work involved. I do try to do the digital ones for the stores where I grocery shop. I also try and make our meal plan from what is one sale at the grocery store. I make a list and stick to it. I often buy the store brand. At my store the Buy One Get One deals….you can just by one and get 50% off. Also there are lots of options out there to buy in bulk. Take advantage of Costco, Sams, Amazon Subscribe & Save, etc. for items like paper towels, toilet paper, garbage bags, detergent, etc.
Create a Budget I married an accountant, so we’ve been using a budget since day one. We have a certain amount set aside for each category (food, clothes, utilities, entertainment, gifts, tithe, etc.) so we can see where our money is going. It helps us decide where we can continue to cut, but also lets us see our progress in saving in different areas. Seeing the fruits of your budgeting is very rewarding.
Buy Consignment We buy A LOT of things on consignment to help save money and ease the financial stress spending causes. I am a part of a Facebook group in my area where folks are all the time selling kids clothes and toys. They also sometimes sell furniture, art, books, etc. There are so many good deals out there….also check out yard sales and second hand stores! And remember, when you outgrow or no longer have a need for items you can sell them and make money as well.
Live Below Your Means Saving for a rainy day (or a sunny one!) is important. A surprisingly large amount of Americans are living pay check to pay check. Try and save with each pay check, $25 a month is an easy place to start. Then grow from there. I remember when we were looking at new cars a few years ago. I really wanted a Lexus SUV….my husband brought me down to reality “Ummm, we aren’t Lexus people.” Truth. Just because you have it doesn’t mean you should always spend it. And in the same breath, if you don’t have it…don’t spend it. DON’T get caught in credit card debt. We use credit cards and reap the point benefits. However, we pay it off every single month. Living below your means is essential to savings and alleviating financial stress.
I wanted to stay home and raise our kids. For me these are the moments in life that really matter. Can you identify with our story? So what would be your first step? SunTrust is also here to help. So take a step, then another – each action will increase your confidence and move you toward financial well-being.
Here are the facts:
Over 70% of Americans are financially stressed
12% of Americans skip going to the doctor because of financial concerns
80% of people admitted that their personal finances keep them awake at night
21% of couples who rate their financial stress as at least “somewhat high” are arguing more
32% of adults say their finances keep them from living a healthy lifestyle
Yall, this is not okay!
During the Super Bowl (on SUNDAY!) SunTrust will share for the first time their #onUp movement. They want to encourage Americans to take control of their finances and life a life well spent. Will you take the pledge? SunTrust is hoping to get 5 million Americans on board! Want to join the movement? Sign up here.
At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.
The onUp movement was created to guide millions of people one step at a time towards a more financially confident life without ever losing sight of the moments that matter along the way.
Join the growing number of people transforming their stress into positive motivation to move onUp.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.