This past holiday season, my favorite moment was watching the joy that my children had when Christmas morning came and they opened their presents. The second best feeling was knowing that all of the gifts, holiday meals, and holiday fun was not put on a credit card. It was a peaceful feeling knowing that we had managed our money well during the holidays, but our story goes beyond just managing our money well for one season.
In July of 2015, my husband and I got serious about our finances. We had some small credit card debt, were still paying a vehicle note, and were scrambling to pay our bills at the end of each month. We knew that our money spending habits the past of few years was no longer working. That was 18 months ago, and it was then we decided to pay off credit cards, pay off our car, and establish an emergency fund for 3 months of expenses. These events didn’t happen overnight, but instead they were possible because we stopped spending money foolishly. During this time, we also were able to pay cash for a good used family mini-van, and pay cash for improvements for our rental house as well.
Although our family has been doing a good job these past few months, it’s always a good idea to evaluate where you are and where you are going. We looked to SunTrust bank to take an onUp Mental Wealth Quiz. It took less than five minutes to answer 10 questions about your thoughts about money, how you spend, and your overall stress level caused by finances. Here are some of our results:
You need to step back from your financial flow and examine what matters the most to you. Here is one thing you can start doing right now: Weigh the cost of an impulse buy versus spending on what matters the most to you.
This advice from SunTrust banks struck home. Our focus on money had blurred our vision for what really matters. We knew that we wanted to prioritize our faith, family, and friends before money and possessions. We are still serious about our finances, but we know that our finances are not the priority that we sometimes make them out to be.
This New Year, we decided to start a N.O. spend challenge (Necessities Only). Once we established our budget, we looked for ways to stop spending on any WANT and only spend money on the things we NEED. Two of the biggest areas where we have cut back on spending are food and entertainment. Instead of going out to restaurants on a whim, we stayed within a miniscule restaurant budget, and cooked at home more. Instead of taking our kids to arcades, we went on family trips to the park.
For our family, we have reached some of our financial goals, yet there are more goals that we are striving to reach. While our N.O. spend challenge is one goal for the New Year, we also want to boost our emergency savings account so that it covers six months of emergency funds, and make additional mortgage payments.
Bottom Line: Taking the SunTrust Mental Wealth Quiz was a great chance for us to see how far we’ve come, and continue to set both family and financial goals. If you’d like to take control of your finances, check out these helpful onUp tools and resources to help you with your personal financial needs.
How do you plan to save money this year?
At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.
The onUp movement was created to guide millions of people one step at a time towards a more financially confident life without ever losing sight of the moments that matter along the way.
Join the growing number of people transforming their stress into positive motivation to move onUp.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.