For many, this long weekend is a time of national celebration. The Winning Williams love to celebrate the 4th of July Holiday. We love the freedoms afforded to us by living in this amazing country and appreciate the sacrifice and dedication of our military, past and present, to give us the amazing opportunities that we have. Thankfully our national independence day falls right after another awesome holiday. That’s right July 1st- officially halfway through the year, start of Q3. It’s quarterly review time baby!
As a couple that is dedicated to reaching financial independence we look forward to our quarterly budget reviews to see how well we are doing with lowering our discretionary expenses, saving towards our retirement, and assessing where we stand on our personal goals as well. As we head into the holiday weekend we plan to celebrate the success we have made towards our goals with a movie date night (scored free tickets from donating blood a few weekends ago).
Reviewing our budget is more than just an excuse to pat ourselves on the back though. We want to consciously take stock in where we are and where we are going. If we need to refocus or refine our larger goals, this is a chance to do that. As a couple that is dedicated to reaching FIRE (financial independence, retire early) and had mastered many money-saving techniques, we still find ourselves saying “we spent how much?” No matter how experienced you are at budgeting, there is always room for improvement.
The timing this year has been uncanny. We’ve both read articles in the past week about how many couples have no clue what their partner earns. I’m sorry, are you in a real relationship? Are you planning on building a life together or just playing house? Part of being an adult and being in a grown-up relationship means having uncomfortable discussions (if you can’t even say what you make, how do you ever expect to be able to say what you’re feeling?) Or how about those that are too scared to even find out what their total debt is. Again, are you an adult? Do you want to be taken seriously? It’s time to own your personal finances so that you can be free from the worry, stress and anxiety of not knowing if you have enough to live on now and if you will have enough in retirement.
Since you’ve already started a budget (if you haven’t started a budget and have questions, feel free to ask us) be sure to do more than just write down what you are spending. Set a baseline of what you think you’re spending in each category, or maybe what you think is an appropriate amount to spend in that category each month. Looking at our budget from 2014 to 2015 we made some big reductions in a few places, but still struggle to get below a certain number in other categories:
We’ll go into our awesome reduction in gas and tolls soon (stayed tuned!)
Knowing where you are financially is the key to enjoying your life and being independent from the tyranny of anxiety and having the ability to make informed decisions that can have a positive impact on your financial life. If you really want to honor what our forefathers did for us on this holiday, don’t squander the amazing opportunities they have provided us by letting yourself get bogged down in debt and financial anxiety. Here is what our famous forefathers had to say about debt and money:
“Think what you do when you run in debt; you give to another power over your liberty.” – Benjamin Franklin
“Never spend money before you have earned it.”- Thomas Jefferson
“There are two ways to enslave a country, one is by the sword, the other is by debt”- John Adams
“He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.” – Benjamin Franklin
“To contract new debts is not the way to pay old ones.” -George Washington
Own your finances, make a budget, stick to it, and experience the life-changing power of getting rid of your debt and being financially free.
And probably go watch some fireworks too!