Focus: Budgeting, Settings Goals & All In Financial Tools
Our coaches kicked off our first month in the program by immersing us in the budgeting process with the 50/30/20 method to assist in breaking down our needs, wants and savings. Having this understanding is paramount to building the foundation we are aiming to establish and is a benefit in our quest to manage debt and keep track of personal spending better. Learning these skills has led us to establish a budget and be more aware of where we are spending our money each month. We are also striving to create a savings lifestyle that places more of our funds in our savings account. All the knowledge we have gained and habits we have formed has led us to better understand our priorities as a couple. Forming a plan helps us stay motivated, and we are excited with the sense of achievement we are gaining by reaching our financial goals. Thanks to the work of our coaches and the modules we have completed in Everfi, we are excited about the growth, knowledge and progress that is on the horizon in Month 2.
Focus: Using Credit Wisely; Platinum Rewards Credit Cards
In only two short months, our financial perspective has changed dramatically, and we have a newfound determination and commitment to achieve the goals we have set for our family. Our coaches emphasized how paramount it was for us to create an emergency fund because it’s not if life hits but when. When it happens and obstacles come our way, we want to be prepared and equipped to overcome them. To expound on this, we know how vital it is to begin saving now and to set clear financial goals that will provide direction for each decision we make. This allows us to chart a path forward that will lead to tangible progress and will enable us to have the future we are aiming for. We have also learned to be realistic about our budget and by adhering to it, we are reducing the risk of overspending and digging ourselves into a financial hole.
To accompany our commitment and creation of our budget, a habit we have formed in Month 2 is to write down everything we spend money on. We have also created a debt plan with the assistance of our coaches. The creation of these habits has led us to review where we are at the end of the month, so we can evaluate how we cut costs and better utilize our money.
Putting these principles into practice has led to an increase in the surplus at the end of the month that we are able to contribute toward our savings. We have been able to put more toward our debt, and we know if we stick to following our financial plan, we can and WILL attain financial freedom. There is still much work to be done and many goals we have yet to accomplish, but we know the dreams we have are within reach!
Focus: Auto/Home Buying/Health Education
The opportunity to learn about home ownership excited us heading into this month, and the information we gained from our meeting with an All In loan officer empowered us with the expertise needed to make crucial decisions in the future. Meeting with a loan officer opened our eyes to all the different loans you can apply for to get a housing loan. Knowing the options we are afforded allows us to make the wisest decision possible for our family. We also learned how to calculate what we can afford when buying a house, so we avoid overpaying.
Writing everything we spend money on is a practice we began in Month 3, and it was a very revealing experience for us that allowed us to ascertain where our money is going and identify opportunities to limit spending. Our coaches also encouraged us to consolidate all of our credit card debt with the All In Mastercard. This assisted us with paying the high interest on some of the credit cards.
We have been thrilled to see our credit score increase during this month. This is a milestone for our family and could not have been done without our coaches’ expertise. Another improvement is being able to put more money toward savings and continue building it up to what it was early in our marriage. Our resolve has never been higher, and we cannot wait to learn more exciting financial concepts and skills in the final three months of this program.
Focus: Saving for Children/College
In Month 4, we learned about the importance of creating our son a savings account. Since we have been on this journey, our eyes have been opened to things we have not thought about and creating a savings for our son is at the top of that list. Establishing a foundation for him now will pay dividends down the road. We are excited about the opportunities that will present.
We have continued to practice many of the same habits we have talked about throughout this journey. Examples of this are writing down what we spend money on and keeping a realistic budget that meets our family’s needs. When we do purchase items, we research and find it for the lowest cost to ensure we are staying within our budget and are searching for the optimum value possible.
A few of the improvements we have experienced this past month is the ability to put more money into savings than we have in the past. Along with this increased commitment to saving, we also opened our son a savings account and are excited to see him build up his savings over time.
Focus: Retirement Planning and Insurance
It is almost unfathomable to think we only have one more month left in this program. It’s not hyperbole to say it has been a life-changing and lifegiving experience for us as a family. Thankfully, we continue to discover new practices we haven’t known about previously. This month, we learned the importance of preparing for retirement. Financial readiness is one of the most important aspects of retirement preparation and understanding our current financial situation. We are learning how to evaluate our savings and pension income, which will enable us to better discern when we could retire comfortably. Also, we learned the importance of managing and minimizing debt before retirement, as it will reduce stress during our retirement years. We found it is crucial to take into account potential increases in the cost of living, so we can better determine our long-term plans.
We both have been committed to doing regular financial check-ins by looking at our debts and establishing plans and tactics to eliminate them. We have also set debt repayment goals by paying off a certain amount in a time frame. By doing this, we can better ascertain our progress and maintain motivation. While working on paying off existing debt, we avoid taking on new debt whenever possible. This allows us to better focus our efforts on reducing what we already owe.
We have continued to witness improvements in many aspects month after month. One improvement we have experienced this month is a reduction in stress because managing debt can be emotionally and mentally taxing. When you are empowered with knowledge and possess confidence in the decisions you’re making, you can experience true freedom without a feeling of apprehension. As we have paid down debts, we have noticed an increase in cash flow and feel a sense of accomplishment from the increase in our financial literacy and the progress we have made. There is no doubt in our mind that the decision to participate in this program has been one that has left an indelible mark and has improved almost every aspect of our life.
Focus: Giving Back to the Community
Our time in the All In 2 Finances program has been rewarding and life-giving, as our coaches have taught us many valuable principles we will implement and continue to execute well past the completion of this competition. With so much being poured into us from All In, it was enriching to be able to give back to the community this month through our donation drive for Meredith’s Miracles. Giving back to the community is a meaningful and fulfilling way to contribute to the well-being of society and make a positive impact on the lives of others. One of the fundamental principles of giving back is that it should be selfless. It is not about personal recognition or gain but about helping those in need. You do not have to do something grand or monumental to make a difference. Even small acts of kindness and support can have a significant impact on individuals and communities. Giving back to the community is a journey and you can continually learn and grow as you engage with different communities and causes. The impact you make, no matter how small, can have a ripple effect, making the world a better place for everyone.
Along with organizing and putting effort toward our donation drive, we have continued to schedule regular financial check-ins with one another by looking at our debt and making plans to eliminate it. We have also set debt repayment goals by paying off a certain amount in a set time, which leads to tangible progress and improvement. Stacking up small victories is a great source of motivation that pushes us to remain steadfast on our path. Changing these habits and adopting healthier financial practices has significantly improved our financial well-being and helped us press toward our financial goals. It is important to tailor your financial habits to your individual circumstances and priorities while keeping a long-term perspective.
Like every month we have had in this program, we continue to see consistent improvement across many aspects of our financial portfolio. We experienced an increase in savings and have reduced financial waste by tracking our expenses and budgeting. Tracking our spending has helped us identify areas where we may be overspending or making unnecessary purchases. Cutting down on wasteful spending directly contributes to an increase in savings, and this is a fantastic reminder of how every decision you make financially can impact your entire situation. If these decisions are made with the same goal and mindset, you can achieve optimal success. We cannot believe our time in this program has ended, but it has been such a life-changing experience for our family. Our goal coming into the program was to alter our lifestyle and establish a better path forward. With the help of our coaches, we have accomplished that. Even when financial adversity hit, we viewed it as an opportunity to adapt and find creative solutions to the problems we were presented with. Through overcoming adversity, we possess renewed confidence and resilience for whatever challenges come our way. Even though our journey in the program is over, the quest for continued financial freedom and empowerment is not!