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Let the Budgets Begin!

Welcome to the world of budgets, savings and financial goals. Compromise is the name of the game we’re playing NOW. Join us on our journey to financial freedom. Continue reading

Where We’re Starting:

A family of four poses for a photo

The Riders are so excited to begin this journey! Although we were already used to living off a working budget, having our spending habits reviewed gave us ideas on areas we could do better. Our advisor gave us some tips on how to consolidate different bills. By doing this, we will have more money at the end of the month to put toward debt and replenish our savings that we used for Hurricane Sally repairs.

Initial Goals:

  1. Increase our savings by $1000 to give us a good cushion for emergencies.
  2. Pay off our vehicle. (it’s close!)
  3. Pay off one credit card.

No Summer Vacation? No Problem!

One of the coolest things so far has been seeing our family work together toward the same goal! I (Jennifer) am definitely the fun maker. I love traveling with my family, but we have no summer vacation planned this year due to the amount of money we’ve had to spend on hurricane repairs (Thanks Sally!). Therefore, we have made it our mission to find fun or inexpensive things to do in our area.

We love hiking and the outdoors. In the last few weeks, we have hiked the Pine Beach Trail in Gulf Shores, which leads to the Gulf off of Fort Morgan. We packed a picnic dinner and walked the board walk to explore the historical D’Olive cemetery at Bay Front Park.

We’ve also introduced the girls to disc golf and played the course at Graham Creek Preserve in Foley. They loved it, so I see a lot more disc golf in our future! There are a lot of great courses throughout Baldwin County to keep us busy for a while.

A Family Affair

It’s important to our family that we keep the girls active in their favorite activities. Bayleigh and Bella are on the GlenLakes Junior Golf League. Bayleigh is also involved in dance, recreational and competition, at k.b.danz. Both activities can be expensive!

To alleviate the financial burden, Bayleigh wanted to help contribute toward her activities. She’s now making t-shirts after learning how to use a vinyl cutter and heat press. By taking orders from friends and family, she has already earned enough money to pay for her solo in the upcoming season! Her success motivated her to expand into home decor and custom order apparel with the intent to continue contributing and increase her savings.

Bella’s idea to help our family save money is to only eat at restaurants in which we have a coupon for. She also suggested ordering water instead of tea or soda. (A healthy habit we can all benefit from!) We always buy the FundRays coupon books for Baldwin county. These have great coupons for restaurants and some activities in our area. This is a fun way to visit new places while saving money while continuing to help kids in our area fund-raise for their activities. These books are available for many areas!

Compromise is the Name of the Game:

Our advisor suggested that our restaurant and grocery spending was a little high. While we do cook most of our meals at home, we do tend to eat out more when activities are in full force – convenience. Our goal is to cut back on eating out, while implementing Bella’s suggestions of the coupon on the rare occasions we dine out.

Groceries costs are growing, as is the price of gasoline! In addition to our financial journey, our family is also on a health journey, and these aren’t places we are willing to cut corners. However, we have agreed to begin shopping sales for our meats and sourcing produce from local farmer’s markets. Unfortunately, Baldwin County charges sales tax on food, where Florida does not. Since I (Jennifer) work at the Alabama/Florida line, I will make an extra effort to purchase more groceries in Florida to save on taxes.

We feel like we have a good plan in place, and we are very excited to continue seeing our progress!

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