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by Erin Odom, Contributing Writer
With a new year always comes new talk goals, whether it be for your spiritual life, your health, or, for many people, your finances. Thankfully, besides our house, our family doesn’t have debt.
But while we haven’t used credit cards since we were married nearly 7 years ago, there are still plenty of mistakes we made in our newlywed days. I hope you can learn from our mistakes!
1. We didn’t live on as strict of a budget.
Yes, we actually did live on a budget–even in our newlywed days. However, our budget left LOTS of room for eating out and entertainment (far more than we could ever fathom now!). If we had chosen to simply eat out one less time per month (or week!), we could have tucked that money aside for when we started a family. Now, we rarely eat out–because we don’t have the extra money in our budget to do so.
2. We didn’t save my salary.
What? Am I suggesting we should have saved my entire salary?! Yes, I am! My husband and I have both said many times we wished we had done so. We were young and naive in this matter, and we truly thought our income was modest at the time. Even though we both only worked full-time for one year (he then went on to seminary and worked part-time at our church, while I continued to work full-time), that one year could have put a HUGE, huge dent in our savings account. We were both teachers, and we were bringing in twice the amount of money we have lived on ever since. This is one of our biggest financial regrets.
3. We would have rented an apartment and/or home longer.
We started out renting a home owned by some of our friends. We ended up buying that home when they decided to sell it. It was 2006. No, we had no idea the market would crash just two years later, but we also should have thought through that our down payment was very little and that it would take us a very long time to pay the house off.
In retrospect, we should have rented longer, so we could have saved more of a down payment, which would have us owing less now. We currently owe more than the house is now worth, and it’s a sickening feeling. We had to move for several reasons and have tried selling our home unsuccessfully for almost 4 years. We’ve been through 3 renters and are currently seeking a new renter or buyer. No matter what happens, we will lose money on this one.
The house is a two bedroom with no garage–not the best investment. Three (or more) bedroom houses sell much better. If we are ever able to buy another home, we will stick to one with three bedrooms.
4. We would have taken Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University Class and read Barry Myers’s From Debtor to Better eBook.
Ramsey’s class goes far beyond setting up a budget. It talks about insurance, investing, paying of debt, and much more. Barry, hubby to the famous Stacy of Stacy Makes Cents, just came out with his eBook. I’ve been able to preview it, and let me tell you: He’s the next Dave Ramsey! If you can’t afford to shell out the cash for the Dave Ramsey class (it’s a little pricey), do your family a favor and buy Barry’s book. You won’t be sorry!
*I have included an affiliate link in this post.