In the beginning (of our marriage circa 1994):
So, if I remember correctly. Wayne first found Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover book at the bookstore in the mall when we lived in New Jersey.
We had read the stories and followed the advice of Mary Hunt from Cheapskate Monthly and Steve & Annette Economides AKA America’s Cheapest Family.
Back in the 90’s when there wasn’t internet, we had TV shows like Oprah and Phil Donahue to introduce us to money management. Any money related articles were typically found in Better Homes & Gardens and Redbook. (I think I am aging myself quite a bit!)
Our interest was piqued at these money saving “gurus” so we searched for more money savings books to read. We knew eventually we would buy a house and our goal was to save enough money to do so.
Money was so tight when we were stationed in the Navy. The Naval Base was situated right in the middle of the most exclusive area of New Jersey, Colts Neck. Equestrian country.
There were no close markets for groceries. Military families were not “welcomed” in that area when we went off base. We would travel to the closest commissary at Fort Monmouth which was about 20 miles from the Naval Base.
Wayne and I would plan our one night every other Thursday to eat out at Boston Market. (It was Boston Chicken then). Then we would head to the commissary to spend our budgeted $125 for two weeks of groceries. Good Times! Ha!
I still have the pink watercolor “Budget Book” we used to sit down each month and budget our money.
It was a journal I found at K-Mart, but looking back it was our
budget, marriage lifesaver.
We got paid on the 15th and the last day of the month. We would have the left side of one page for the 15th and the right side of one page for the last day of the month. We would divide the bills by due date and whichever date fell in the first half of the month got written down on the left side and so on.
At that time (around 1994 -1995) we were newlyweds and didn’t really have savings at all. Gosh, we tried to save, but it was hard for us when we had two car payments, a furniture store credit card (we just had to have new couches) and a few other store credit cards. Needless to say, we struggled.
Baby makes three!
In 1996, our daughter Hannah was born and that caused a mind shift.
This is when we really started to think about our money and the legacy we wanted to leave our child.
We bought life insurance (fortunately we were smart enough to get term life insurance), opened a savings account for Hannah and made a regular automatic deposit for our house down payment savings.
We knew Wayne was discharging from the Navy in 1998 so we started planning for the future. We saved and paid off the furniture store and other credit cards and one of our cars.
Our First Home
We went house hunting in the outskirts of the expensive area we lived in. We found Neptune, NJ! We loved it there.
Our first house purchase was in 1998 about 10 minutes from the ocean pier. It was a split level with no kitchen. A dream! Ha! We fixed this house up after work and on weekends with Hannah playing in a playpen.
We put all of our savings into that house.
So, what do you think happened after we moved in and had no money saved?
Until next week…..
Baby Step 1: $1,000 Emergency Fund
Baby Step 1 is to save $1,000 in your beginner emergency fund.