Getting Your Financial House in Order (Frugal Friday)

Last week we shared financial goals for the new year. It was so great to read what everyone is hoping and dreaming and working toward this year. Yeah!

At the base of these financial goals, whether they be to pay off the last credit card or to head out on a Disney vacation, is to get one’s financial house in order.

I can’t stress how important this is to your mental and fiscal well-being.

You see, about 6 years ago we found ourselves in a MESS of debt. We had had a sizeable savings a few years before and through a number of unfortunate circumstances and poor decisions we found ourselves in a very opposite direction.

We had to work really, really hard to turn that around. But, today we are blessed to live without credit and pay for things with money we’ve already earned. This is a very different lifestyle than one we had ten years ago. Along with that is a sense of freedom and rest that we had never experienced before.

Our stress level, as a couple and as individuals, has greatly diminished since we got our financial house in order.

Get your financial house in order.

If you find yourself wanting that freedom, then please GO FOR IT. It will be hard, yes. And there will be sacrifices to make. But, I can promise you it is totally worth it.

This week my frugal tip is to Take Financial Inventory. If you don’t already examine your finances on a regular basis, now is a great time to start doing so. Reality is a great place to be in.

It’s hard. When we took off the rose-colored glasses back in 2007, we were so discouraged to realize how far we had let our finances fall. But, it was a good discouragement. It lit a fire in our bellies and made us ready to fight.

Take inventory!

So, before the ball drops I suggest getting out a sheet of paper and consulting all your accounts. This doesn’t need to be complicated. Simply make a list of assets (cash on hand or in a bank account), a list of liabilities (debts), and a list of where your money has been going over the last few weeks or months.

You may love what you see. Or you may not.

But, at least you’ll know where you’re at as the new year begins. And knowing where you are is the first step to going someplace else.

Go back and read this post from last year for more thoughts on a financial inventory.

My question for you today is rather direct:

Are you where you want to be financially? Why or why not? What’s in your way?

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Comments

  1. We are NOT where we want to be financially. But my DH and I were finally able to come up with a plan, and we now have the right (Dave Ramsey) attitude about being aggressive about paying off a lot of debt that hanging around our necks like a noose.

    I really like using mint.com as our financial software, because we always have a good idea of where our finances are (whether we like the numbers or not!). However, if you are good about using cash it probably wouldn’t work as well. I’m strange, I find that when there is cash in my purse I go right through it, but when I pay with the debit I mentally imagine which budget category Mint is going to put that in and am able to stay on target a little better. I guess we all just have to do whatever works for us. :)

  2. I love the Playmobil figures showing up in your photos!

    I didn’t realize we would be losing an additional $30 to taxes out of my dh’s weekly paychecks for a total of $140 monthly. I had planned on reviewing our budget amounts, and now I need to shuffle things around for this bigger loss. This fall, my ds4 is starting preschool. My plan was to build up a reserve for his schooling before August arrived.

  3. We are nowhere close to where we want to be. However, we are working in getting there. We started FPU on Monday. We reached baby step one within one week. Praise God! We are cutting cable after the Super Bowl ;) we are doing everything we can to become debt free!!! :)

  4. YOU Mrs. Jessica Fisher are the reason my financial house IS in order! Your blog introduced me to Dave Ramsey and like dominoes everything fell Ito place from there on out. We spent a year scraping every last penny together to pay off our debt and about a year ago we finished that off and continue to build up our savings. With all the wonderful changes we were even able to start our own business which is now thriving! Thank you for being so vocal and upfront about your budget and how you make sense of it all :)

  5. I wondered if you had stopped doing links to websites for Frugal Friday showing how they saved money? I haven’t been able to locate it since the first of the year. Have you changed the format for Frugal Fridays?

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Yes, I changed the format at the start of the new year. Feel free to leave your link in the comments, though.

  6. yes, that $30 extra tax each paycheck isn’t helping us. and the military not getting raises hurts us too. USAF wife here.
    we need more discipline with living within our means and not using credit. even 0 interest credit causes problems. we’re planning to cut cable and home phone and pay off credit debt and try harder not to use credit anymore so we can we pay down the two we have. we need to build back up our emergency fund, which did come in handy when cars decided not to cooperate with our plans last year.
    we hope to have more free cash to travel and use more wisely instead of on more unneeded STUFF.

  7. Since we keep our finances in MS Money (an old version), as long as I keep it updated, I can instantly see our financial status. I especially love seeing that we have 0 debt except our mortgage and that’s going down. I do wish we were able to be better off financially instead of having to spend such a majority of our funds on necessities. We’ve been struggling to build up our emergency fund – it was so much easier to pay off the debt than to build up the emergency fund.
    This weekend we learned a lesson about having access to that emergency fund while traveling. Fortunately, it was a friend’s experience of having to travel for an emergency while already out of town. But it made us realize that if it had been us, we’d have had a problem. http://imthriving.blogspot.com/2013/01/financial-preparedness-access-to-your.html

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I tried to comment on your post, but it didn’t let me. I think you raise some great points. It’s got me thinking what if one puts a blank check in the emergency travel bag. Then you wouldn’t have to remember to pack the checkbook every time.

      • Great idea to keep one check with the emergency supplies in the vehicle!
        I’m not sure why it wouldn’t let you leave a comment. I have double-checked the settings and it has comments as allowed. Hopefully it was just a one time thing.

  8. We are just starting with our debt free journey after getting hit with a HUGE unexpected medical bill last year. It scares me because my DH and I have never had debt like that before in our 15 years of marriage. My belief that we can do it without it continuing to grow is not strong today. But we have made a plan. Just afraid the plan might not be realistic…

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