Focus: Budgeting, Settings Goals & All In Financial Tools
The word that personifies the first month of All In 2 Finances for us is: Budget. The importance of budgeting our income and setting the leftover funds aside has allowed us to start working on improving our credit scores and paying down our debt. The knowledge we have gained has encouraged us to make our credit and financial future a top priority in our life. Everything we do financially from this point forward will be done with this goal in mind.
As a couple, we have committed to curb our spending on unnecessary expenses. We have had to ask ourselves, what could we do with this money if we do not put it toward unnecessary expenditures, so we are now only buying groceries and items that we HAVE to have. After meeting with our coaches, we have attempted to limit trips to Starbucks and the thrift store along with reducing all wasteful spending.
Under the guidance of our coaches, we have seen more disposable income at the end of the week, and by using our cards and credit less, we have experienced an increase in our credit score. While these seem like small victories, they are major milestones for us and a sign of things to come. We are hoping these incremental changes will result in larger ones down the road, as we overcome our financial shortcomings and manifest a brighter future for our family.
Focus: Using Credit Wisely; Platinum Rewards Credit Cards
Participating in this program and pushing toward the financial future we are hoping to achieve is akin to making a long trek up a mountain. We have learned that by working on our financial health one day, one week and one month at a time, we are inching closer to the goals we have set for ourselves. Like climbing a mountain, being dedicated to changing your financial habits can be a grueling and difficult process, but if you keep pushing and working, you will reach the peak. We have our eyes set on ruling over our finances instead of them controlling us. It is all about falling in love with the process of improving and what it takes to accomplish that. An example of the financial freedom we envision is to be debt free enough to pay cash for vacations and not put those expenses on a credit card.
Our coaches have already made such a profound impact on our financial perspective with tips and tricks that will set us up for success. We have started to make sure that we are setting aside money each week for savings so that we are constantly building up a reservoir. We have focused on paying down credit card debt and made sure that we are not using our credit card for frivolous purchases if at all. After looking at our budget in Month 1, we have been committed to eating out less when possible. An example of this in action is instead of eating breakfast at a restaurant three times a week, we have limited it to only once a week. It is a small sacrifice that can result in major dividends down the line.
The knowledge we have amassed and habits that have formed have led to many improvements in Month 2. We have seen a $300 increase in our savings, while also seeing credit card balances decrease even if it is just a little bit. A small but noticeable bump in our credit score has been encouraging to see as well because it reinforces that all the hard work and time we have committed is paying off. As a family, we are ready for the challenges and growth Month 3 will bring, as we take one more step toward our financial destiny.
Focus: Auto/Home Buying/Health Education
The realization we came to during Month 3 is that progress, no matter how small, is still a step forward. By not heavily utilizing our debt, we have witnessed balances come down, our credit score increase and we have inched one step closer to the financial independence and freedom we are aspiring for. Halfway through this program, our story is a testament to how hard work, guidance and determination can radically alter your financial trajectory.
At this juncture, we are committed to building upon the habits we have established in previous months and refining them to achieve maximum effectiveness. We continued to focus on our savings, limit spending on eating out and maintain what is available in our account. These habits have led to better management of our time and resources, and we have seen the positive correlation between what we are implementing and the objectives we have set within the program.
Speaking of recognizing and experiencing the positive correlation of the habits we are practicing, our personal credit score on Experian is the highest we have ever seen it! Not only that, but we also have more available credit at our disposal than we have in years. Seeing these significant accomplishments come to fruition has allowed us to feel relief and freedom we did not think was possible. Due to this program and the tutelage of our coaches, we feel empowered and better equipped to take on any financial obstacle in our path as we continue to relieve this debt burden.
Focus: Saving for Children/College
During this month, we learned how getting started earlier and focusing on helping our child develop solid financial footing is good for our entire family. Before meeting with our coaches, this was not a concept we had thought of, but moving forward we now know the importance of it and the positive effect it can have. We’ve learned that it is never too early to focus on retirement, even though it may be in the distant future. Another helpful principle our coaches showed us is that by paying ½ of our loan/car payments bi-weekly, we can pay down our note faster and avoid interest. It is better to pay down credit cards versus paying them off and allowing them to be unused as it can negatively impact our credit score. There were many useful tidbits of information our coaches discussed with us this month that were eye-opening and impactful.
A few habits we have made are relying on credit cards for everyday purchases and paying the minimum on credit cards. We have also become further determined to save, because it is now an every week focus for us. It’s encouraging to see the impact our commitment to savings has on the overall health of our finances, and it pushes us to keep making that a top priority.
Overall, this month was full of breakthroughs in many different aspects of our finances. Our debt total continued going down, we have more available credit at our disposal and we have more money in our savings. More importantly, our attitude toward finances has completely shifted. We are confident in the direction we are heading and have this program and our coaches to thank for that. It has given us a peace we have not felt in relation to our financial portfolio, and we are thrilled to continue learning more and expanding what’s possible.
Focus: Retirement Planning and Insurance
The All In 2 Finances program has taught us how important having a good budget in place can be for our financial health. Throughout our time in the program, we have learned how to better manage our day-to-day, while also learning how to better plan for the future. Learning about other ways to increase our credit scores has been a major benefit for us and allowed us to be more flexible financially. All In has been very instrumental in our financial growth, and we could not be more grateful.
A habit we devoted to changing this month was to not sweat when making sure there is a weekly savings donation. Making this commitment is a small sacrifice that can pay dividends down the road. We have also shifted our attitude and perspective about our retirement and financial future. Instead of not having it at the top of our minds, it is now a priority for us and something we are working toward.
It's so gratifying to reflect on all the progress we have made over the past few months, and that improvement continued this month and manifested in many different areas. We both saw an increase in our credit score and more money in savings thanks to the practices recommended to us by our coaches. We have felt less stress on making sure bills are paid, and that has led to an increase in financial freedom and purchasing power. Seeing these changes has made us feel empowered to set sail on the financial high seas knowing we are equipped to face whatever comes our way.
Focus: Giving Back to the Community
We are so grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow throughout the All In 2 Finances program and for the opportunity All In provided us over the last six months. The growth in our financial focus and budgeting has been paramount for our family’s future, and we feel more confident in our ability to get to a place of financial stability and harmony. Learning about the great products and services All In has to offer has and will continue to sustain the success and growth we have experienced. Along with the improvements in our focus and budgeting, we have learned about how to plan for our eventual retirement, how to increase our credit scores, how to pay down our debt and set ourselves up for success.
We are excited about the position we are in coming out of the program and are establishing plans on how to maintain that success. This means we are going to continue many of the habits we have implemented and enact new ones that can keep us on the right path. We have also been very passionate about our community project and witnessing how successful it has been. It could not have been as successful without the support and partnership from All In.
When we came into this competition, we were looking to make real change and thankfully, we can say we achieved that. We are so thankful for All In’s time, support, investment and education in helping us not just improve, but secure our financial future. Many financial institutions will state they are committed to providing financial education and support, but few follow through on that promise. All In 2 Finances has empowered us to walk in financial freedom like we always envisioned, and we are exhilarated at what is ahead for our family!