So, the beginning of 2017 had started out with a bang in knocking out our financial woes, but then we hit the metaphorical wall. A whole year went by, with our focus firmly planted on everything else except money.
But then came 2018. We buckled down, and chipped away even more at our spending. And by this point I have reread MMM’s blog about three times over (every. single. post.). I was a mustachian in my heart, but had to somehow make it a reality.
Step 5: Exhaust Everything Available to You.
So, the one thing we do have going for us is that I work for a great company. We get free healthcare, and a bunch of “other benefits”. The downside, I have never totally understood those “other benefits”, so I have been wasting the past 8 years opting out of them. Its OK, you can send me a virtual slap in the face.
But the good news is, we have wised up and will be fully embracing everything my job has to offer: FSA, life insurance, Wellness Program, etc.
Aside from my job, we have friends and family with their own unique skills and wisdom that we can learn from, just have never made the time. For example, there are a few mom’s in my son’s school who are really good at couponing. We decided to open that can of worms, and have them teach us their ways.
Step 6: Eliminate to the Point of Discomfort.
I just reread that last sentence and chuckled to myself (its the little things).
Last year, we did a decent enough job lowering our bills. But now, we are looking to see which we can cut completely.
For us, the first obvious choice was getting rid of our lawn service. Last year, we lowered it from $200/month to $110/month. This year, we cancelled it. We started sleuthing around, and found a few good offers out in Craigslist for a lawnmower. But I started putting the word out to everyone we knew, and turns out my brother-in-law no longer needs his lawnmower or his weedy weedy (what we call a weed whacker). So free lawn equipment, and savings of about $1320 annually.
We would have done this sooner, but my husband had issues with his knees, and its not until recently we have been able to take on more tasks like these ourselves.
Another one we eliminated was the storage unit. We had our furniture stored up from when we sold our house in Miami, in hopes of moving out to a new house one day. This has been costing us $70/month for the past 3 years.
One day, we rented a truck, drove to the unit, emptied it out, and closed the account. We stored everything temporarily in our garage (pretty much eliminating all free space). My husband dedicated the next two weeks to selling everything on Facebook.
All in all, we made close to $400 (minus the truck rental) selling everything. And eliminated an $840 annual bill.
Step 7: Couponing
I have mixed feelings about couponing, since it has an anti-mustachian element to it. I have never couponed in my life before, and the whole thing seemed like a giant time suck.
That is until I recently got into a conversation with a few friends, and was taught the ways of the extreme couponer. It is alarming just how much money we could have saved over the years if we had started this sooner.
I will admit that it does take a certain learning curve. But once you get over the hump, it is totally worth it.
The key to the whole thing, and how to keep on the mustachian track, is not to buy things just because there is a sale, or even if its free. Only purchase those things you would have before couponing existed in your life. I have created my own spin to the whole couponing enterprise.
Step 8: Say No.
This involved some difficult conversations with a few people close to us. Most of our money was spent, as we came to find out, on things we didn’t even really want to spend it on. Presents, outings, obligations. All things that we felt forced into participating in, and have cost us thousands of dollars over the years.
As it stands right now, we are on a mission, and we have to be real careful not to fall astray. Majority of our friends and family 100% support us, but I would be lying if we didn’t get weird looks every now and then.
Stay strong, and stick to it.
That pretty much sums up everything we got accomplished in 2018 with our finances. We still have so much more to go, but I imagine 2019 will finally be the year that will make MMM proud!