- I got an account through mint.com and uploaded all my financial accounts. Mint.com is free, safe, and entirely too easy to use.
- Using mint.com, I tracked our spending habits for the month of July. I was SHOCKED to see how much I spent on shopping. (Don't get me wrong: I knew I spent a lot because I have the books, clothes, and shoes to prove it. But I didn't know I spent that much.)
- I noted that after paying all our bills (including gas and groceries), we had a hefty bunch of money left over at the end of the month (that I had been spending like it was going out of style).
- I called Sallie Mae to see how much debt I have for my student loans and to find out my monthly payments.
- Then I added my new income to the mix and found that we could very easily pay all our bills on Mr. J's income while using my income to a. pay off my student loan in under five years b. create an emergency fund
We are four days into August, and so far I am sticking to the new budget. I allotted $50 for fun money this month because Mr. J is still the only one bringing home a paycheck, but in September we will probably up our fun money to $100. We also were able to sell Mr. J's hauling trailer, so we came into some fast money that we've put up into savings.
As the experts say, you have to pay yourself first. Here's hoping we can save, pay off the debt, and take a cruise this summer!