March 20, 2013

Everything I know about Personal Finance, I learned from reading Blogs

That may not be totally true, but I have definitely learned a lot since I started poking around in the blog world.  6 years ago I was pregnant with Little Ripples #1.  We had money saved up for me to take 3 months of maternity leave.  But when I started back to work and we had to start paying for day care, I worked out the budget and realized, I had no idea how we were going to pay all the bills each month.  We only had about $2500 in our savings.  It wasn't an emergency fund... it was for whatever we needed it for. 

Luckily, that was the year that the company I work for started paying out some pretty nice bonuses and my husband won employee of the year at his work which came with a nice $1000 bonus.  We were able to pay off my husband's student loans, the cord blood registry costs and the brand new windows that we had installed the day before my maternity leave began.  (Really... what was I thinking, brand new windows right before I took 3 months off work?!  I wish I could blame that one on my husband... but I can't).  We still had plenty of other bills... my student loans which were bigger than my husbands, 2 car payments, a mortgage.... the list goes on.  We really had no clue.

Then I decided I wanted to be a stay at home mom and I started searching for information, reading blogs about other peoples' experiences learning how to budget, meal plan, and save money in general.  Unfortunately at the time I desperately wanted to stay home, we weren't able to make it work.  Luckily after having my second daughter I realized that I didn't want to stay home any more and that I do really like my current job.  So it's a good thing we were never able to figure out how I would be able to stay home.

When we first were able to start paying off a few bills, we really like the feeling of owing less and less companies money. We would focus on one bill at a time. I didn't worry about which one had the highest interest rate, I went with whichever one we could pay off the quickest and then we would throw most of our extra money at that. Each time we paid off a bill, it was such a great feeling and really motivated us to keep going.

Even after I decided that I would continue to work, I became addicted to the world of personal finance.  I still am constantly looking for new information and new ideas for ways to save money.  I am going to do a quick series highlighting some of the best ways to save money that I have learned about.  And some of the things that didn't work for us.  Some of it came from reading blogs and some of it was just research done on my own.  But it comes from 5 years of trial and error and these are the things that have worked for my family.

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