Earlier this year we signed up with The Financial Gym to help improve our finances as a couple. (If you haven’t already, make sure to read PART ONE of this article.) It’s been a little nutty for us schedule wise, but we finally sat down to schedule our Quarterly Review with our trainer Victoria. It was time to see how working the plan has paid off (see what we did there?) and how we are doing with our life goals. Read on to see how we did, and for the top 5 ways the Financial Gym helped us improve our finances in the last several months…
1. We Cut Costs Creatively for Lower Expenses
After our first session with Victoria we became super aware of all of our spending. We wanted to get ahead and pay down some debt while also putting more away in savings. We kicked things off by committing to a “no spend day challenge” for a month. We tracked on a calendar all of the days that we didn’t spend any money and also planned some tactics to save even more than usual to really put a dent in debt and grow our savings accounts:
We went through our freezer and pantry and made a meal plan to get through a lot of our stock pile of food. We spent less on groceries as we only bought a few things to complement what we already had.
We decided to also declutter the house. We spent some weekends organizing and cleaning. We also found quite a few items to get rid of. We ended up listing some old childhood things on eBay to make about $500 for our vacation fund.
We got creative with social outings. When friends said “let’s go out to dinner” we suggested a night in of cooking a fun meal with games or a mixology night. It actually ended up being more fun hanging out for hours at home than spending an hour or two at a busy restaurant.
We also made the choice to cut some items from our budget for the time being to really start saving. These were nice to have items, but we decided our immediate goals were higher priority for now. This included items such as a house cleaning service and Andrew’s flight club membership.
2. We Paid for Paris with Our New Vacation Fund
Another item Victoria helped us establish was a designated travel fund. Previously we just would randomly throw any money left over at the end of the month towards upcoming vacation expenses, and then look at credit card statements when we returned. We now have a designated monthly amount going into an account to pay for trips before they happen. With our hard work at cutting costs this spring we were able to beef up that account just in time for our trip to Paris. We also set a budget for the trip. While we still dined out, bought souvenirs, and had the time of our lives we were still more aware vs blindly spending for 2 weeks. We are happy to say we ended up sticking to that plan and came back after the trip with absolutely no vacation debt!
3. We Made a Big Move on a Short Notice
It’s kind of funny looking back because we initially discussed some mid to long range goals with Victoria. Some of those future goals were things like eventually getting a new house, and moving further south. During the spring Andrew unexpectedly ended up landing a new job… in Orlando! This sudden change pushed a few of those goals to be immediate. (It’s kind of crazy it happened only a few months after mentioning it!) Needless to say moving in general is super expensive and Andrew received no relocation assistance. We immediately scheduled a touch base with Victoria to discuss all things moving related. One of the things she mentioned was “don’t be afraid to use some of your emergency savings, that’s what they are they for!” She also helped up navigate the financial aspect of the upcoming move and we discussed a smart price range for a new house purchase and relocation expenses. We are proud to say that all of our hard work at saving came at the perfect time to pay for so many sudden expenses such as:
Transportation: Uhaul rental, moving teams, supplies, travel costs, etc.
New Home: inspection fees, closing costs, new car registration, etc.
House stuff: home improvement supplies, new furniture, etc.
4. We Crafted a New Budget for our New Life
Victoria was also a great asset to have on hand while figuring out this new chapter. A whole new house in a whole new state meant a whole lot was changing. We had a call to work through our budget and adjusted it line by line. While we lucked out by being able to get a bigger house for the same mortgage price, other costs did fluctuate. Many cost of living expenses did go down (income tax, gas, gym fees), while some others went up (home insurance, car insurance, etc.). We were able to rework our monthly budget based on our new needs and priorities. We even made sure to add in a new monthly line item for Disney Annual Passes, as that was a must have for both of us.
5. We are Feeling More Financially Secure and Motivated for Our Happily Ever After
Working with The Financial Gym couldn’t have come at a better time for us. What started as a New Year’s goal to get in better financial shape ended up becoming an amazing support system during a huge life transition. The next chapter in our happily ever after has begun and we really feel like we are living the dream! We are very proud to have accomplished wins such as paying off debt, saving more, and making a big move all on our own. (Did we mention our credit scores have gone up too?) We are definitely feeling more secure and in charge of chasing after our future dreams. Now we must note we are a little behind in certain areas and some of our initial goals were pushed to the side for the move (we still need to make a Will, increase retirement savings, and top off our Emergency fund). But we also realize that life throws changes at you unexpectedly and we were amazed at how prepared we felt to make it all work. The good news is we still have checked off some goals and have certainly learned to build our “financial muscles”. We are super motivated to keep going and continue working on all of our outstanding goals. We want to extend a big thank you to Victoria and The Financial Gym for helping us successfully chase our dreams and set us up for a financially fit happily ever after!
Start Planning Your Happily Ever After…
Are you interested in learning more about The Financial Gym and seeing how they can help you crush some financial goals? You can sign up for a FREE 20-minute “Warm Up” consultation call here:
DISCLAIMER: This is a partner post with The Financial Gym. We were provided 3 months of free membership to review their services. When collaborating with companies we carefully choose brands that align with our lifestyle and interests. All opinions provided are our own.