Not Enough Income? Or Just Bad Financial Habits?

I’ve been more mindful of my spending lately because my wife and I are attempting to speed up our debt reduction (debt that was 99% my fault). We aren’t big spenders by any account. My car is 13 years old. My wife’s van is 6 years old—and both paid off. We don’t have cable or satellite TV. We don’t overspend from month to month. We don’t drink or go out to fancy restaurants. But something isn’t quite right.

While we both have an above average combined income, we can’t quite get ahead on the debt. As I’ve started going through our spending, I’m seeing a trend. I call it “death by a thousand cuts”. Yes, we don’t buy large ticket items but a lot of little purchases = one large purchase.

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Fixed and Flexible Budgeting

I like to experiment with my budget. One of my latest budget Frankensteins has been to separate what I refer to as my “must pays” from my discretionary spending.

These “must pays” are bills that absolutely have to be paid. If they don’t get paid, I lose a house, the electricity goes off (not good in the south during the summer), or I don’t drive to work. So, extremely critical stuff.

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Renting vs. Buying

After two house buying experiences and three different renter experiences, I’ve come to the conclusion that renting, in the short term, is the way to go. I’ve always had an unsettled feeling about buying a home but have never expressed it because of the pervasive “renting is throwing away money” rhetoric.

Well, now I can feel at least somewhat vindicated. According to Moolanomy, there’s a “sobering” cost to home ownership in the short term.

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