Whether they are enjoying time at the beach, fishing or hanging out at the house, you’ll find Joshua and Diana surrounded by the four people who mean the most to them in this world – their children. During the day they might work for one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the Florida Panhandle, but if you ask Joshua and Diana, the most important work they do is within the walls of their home. Living just north of one of the most sought-after vacation destinations definitely has its perks, but it’s also accompanied by higher living costs and everyday expenses. To them, this challenge is more than financial coaching; it’s an opportunity to restart, restore and reset.
Focus: Budgeting, Settings Goals & All In Financial Tools
April has been an eye opening month for our family. The All In 2 Finances Challenge has helped us realize the importance of being financially fit, and we have learned so much already. Our coaches have helped us understand the importance of budgeting, saving and learning to say “no” to things that are not positively impacting our long-term financial goals. This challenge has also forced us to sit down and figure out “what are our financial goals?” With the help of our coaches and All In’s SavvyMoney tool, we are learning how to understand our credit scores and what is impacting them both positively and negatively. Having this knowledge and understanding how to utilize SavvyMoney is already helping us reduce debt and increase our credit scores. We are tracking our expenses, communicating before we make purchases and are already setting money aside for things we know are often big expenditures for our family, such as Christmas. Already in a month’s time, we are more aware of our spending habits and feel equipped with more financial tools than we knew existed. We know the future we want for our family. We have the tools we need to make that future possible. We have a budget and a path forward thanks to our coaches.
Focus: Saving for Children/College
This past month has been difficult for our family, with numerous obstacles and life events we’ve had to overcome, but thanks to the lessons we have learned, we were better prepared than most. Through the process our family has learned that you can’t plan for everything which is why it’s so important to have an emergency fund set up to be prepared when “life happens.” One thing our coaches have taught us is to audit our last paychecks and look for ways to improve how we spend and save our money. There are always avenues to improve the way you manage your finances, and this tip has been highly beneficial. It has allowed us to be more strategic with our finances by setting aside money for school clothes for our kids and continuing to save for Christmas. All In 2 Finances has also helped us focus on prioritization of constant communication that has allowed us to establish clear priorities and assisted us in planning our future expenditures. Because of this, we do not catch each other off guard with unexpected expenses thanks to our open dialogue and continuous feedback. Another habit we are attempting to implement is to understand that just because we have always done something one way does not mean it’s the only way. With this shift in mindset, we have become increasingly flexible and open to change. These new habits have led to multiple improvements, such as being more financially aware, better at saying no and saving for vacation and school clothes. While we still have much more to learn in the coming months, we can already see the impact this program has had on our financial portfolio!
Focus: Retirement Planning & Insurance
This month of the All In 2 Finances competition has shown us that you cannot plan for everything. A job change may be on the horizon with a possible pay cut involved but thank God All In has taught us how to budget and allowed us to be in a sound financial position. Learning the intricacies of budgeting has also helped us err on the side of caution and to be prepared for anything we might face in a given month. One primary habit we have changed is not overextending ourselves financially for others, and this has led to us not overextending ourselves with our time as well. The other major habit we have formed is how to say “No” to others, whether it be our kids, parents or friends. We are on a mission to change our lives and the future of our family, and we know being firm and disciplined is essential to that. All these components have led to a few noticeable improvements. For one, our communication has improved and allowed us to be aligned financially and to be better prepared for unexpected circumstances. We have also begun planning the next budgetary expense which will be school clothes/supplies that would normally go on the Credit Card. While this month and last month have been personally challenging, we have seen where the assistance of our coaches and this competition have allowed us to be better prepared for the storms in life and overcome them. As we said earlier, we are on a mission, and there is nothing that is going to stand in our way!
Focus: Using Credit Wisely & Platinum Rewards Cards
Change comes to those who want it. We have fully embraced that mantra this month, and our desire to dramatically alter the course of our financial future has increased exponentially. To accomplish significant change, we have had to think outside of the box at times. Using this as a guide, we decided to sell the family van we never drove, which resulted in a reduction in debt, an increase in savings, and one less payment we had to make. This decision has allowed us to have increased financial flexibility, and we are looking forward to how we can leverage it for our benefit. With increased flexibility, we continue developing new habits each month, and this month we learned the importance of patience. With our excitement and eagerness to improve our finances, we must know the improvement we seek will not happen overnight. It takes time for progress, so we continue improving and shifting our perspectives.
Along with increased patience, we have seen better communication about financial decisions between one another, which has helped us in many ways. We have also seen our credit scores improve and credit availability increase, which has been highly satisfying for both of us. We are heading into the final portion of the challenge in the best financial position of our lives, and we aren’t finished yet!