By Jessica Doty
SpouseLink Ambassador &
There’s no better time than the present to start making moves towards financial freedom. For you, financial freedom may mean paying off debt, saving or investing more, or saving for a dream vacation. Whatever the reason, financial freedom starts with a budget. A budget should include and track all of your expenses. Yes, ALL of them. Lucky for you, we have a downloadable Excel spreadsheet ready for you to plug in your numbers.
Whether you use our spreadsheet or create your own, here are a few tips to keep you on track:
- First, list all of your expenses beginning with the largest expense and working your way down. This includes (but not limited to) mortgage/rent, car payments, insurance, electricity, water/sewage, cell phone bill, internet/cable, gas, and streaming services. Do not forget to add in average costs for dental, vision, and reoccurring prescriptions.
- Second, tally up your average expenditures on groceries, daycare/babysitters, gas, grooming (chances are both spouses need haircuts), etc.
- Third, include your investments, if any, and desired savings amount to be set aside each month.
- Last, assess your entire budget and decide what is a reasonable amount to set aside as your discretionary income. A discretionary income should cover all the “fun” stuff such as clothes shopping, eating out, manis/pedis, and any nonessential purchases. (I know, I know. Wouldn’t it be nice to just win the lottery?)
Now the fun can begin! Where can you cut back to add more to savings? Do you need all of those streaming services? Is it time to start cooking more and eating out less? Small changes now will add up to big savings later. That being said, sometimes spending money IS a step toward financial freedom. For example, a life insurance policy is a way of securing your financial future. Outsourcing your investments to a reputable, fiduciary company such as AAFMAA is another way to grow your wealth.
Tell us how you and your family are making moves towards financial security this year!
Meet SpouseLink Ambassador Jessica
Jessica has represented us at Camp Lejeune, NC and Stuttgart, Germany. Connect with her for more insights about the area!