Monday, March 19, 2018

Baby Step 0.4 - Temporarily Stop All Retirement Contributions

Good Monday evening All!  The past few weeks we've begun going through Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps.  So far in Baby Step 0, we've discussed committing to the process.  Last week in Baby Step 0.3 I discussed the importance of a budget and how to create a budget.  Please if you haven't created a budget yet, please do. The first place you can find pennies - or many, many pennies! - is looking in detail where your pennies go each month.  You may be surprised!

The next penny-sized step in Baby Step 0 is to temporarily stop all retirement contributions IF you have debt (not including a mortgage) and/or don't have 3-6 months of expenses saved. 

The key word here is "temporarily".  This will mean different things to different incomes BUT this does not mean different approaches.  We haven't discussed the phrase "gazelle intense" yet, but in essence, it means to do something as quickly as humanly possible.  So DR recommends going gazelle intense on Baby Steps 1, 2 and 3 - saving the initial £1,000 for an emergency fund, paying off all debt, then adding to the initial emergency fund to build a fully-funded emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses.   Build these "foundations" of your finances as quickly as possible to then be able to then be able to build the "roof" of your finances. DR explains that there's no point in building the roof before you build the foundation of your financial house.
What does Martin Lewis from Money Saving Expert say? If you have been auto-enrolled into a workplace pension, you can opt-out.  "Don't be afraid of opting out though if you're having financial difficulties or for other reasons. You can opt out whenever you like - however, you still won't be able to access any money you've already paid into your pension until retirement age.  Even if you do opt out, if you remain at your current place of work for three years, or move jobs, then you'll be automatically enrolled again.  So you'd have to opt out again if you don't want to join."

Although we'll discuss pensions in Baby Step 4, you may want to look ahead about pensions on, please click on this link.  There's also Pension Wise and The Pensions Advisory Service.

Consider very carefully - even seek professional advise from an independent financial adviser (IFA) - before using any money you've saved in bank accounts or investments - you can't take out money saved in a pension until you've reached the minimum age of 55, so this may not be an option for you if you're under this age.

The key in this Baby Step is to stop the contributions you've been making to retirement just long enough to blitz your way through Baby Steps 1, 2 and 3. Once you've paid off all debt (apart from your mortgage) and have saved 3 to 6 months of expenses in a fully-funded emergency fund, then you will re-commence your retirement savings. 

Again, I am not an expert at pensions or retirement savings, so please do your own research. I hope I've given you some helpful guidance and something to consider to help you in your financial adventure.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

BS 0.3 - Create and Follow a Written Budget - Part 2

Good evening All!  I hope you're doing well.  How has it gone writing down all of the expenses you can think of?  Don't worry about whether or not you've written every single item down that you pay towards each month and year, we'll check those over as we create a budget in this blog.  Keep in mind that your budget doesn't necessarily have to be the same each month, so if you think of another category to include, just add it in. Simples.

We're still in Baby Step 0.  The past couple of weeks we've taken a look at committing to never borrowing money again (except maybe for a house), committing to walking this financial adventure with your spouse and the importance of creating and following a budget.  My hope is that you're convinced that a budget is the way you and you're spouse are going to make progress through the Baby Steps.

Let's dive right in. There are many ways of creating a budget: pen and paper, an Excel spreadsheet (this is the way we do it), online and apps.  None of these are wrong; use the method you are comfortable and works for you.  You may end up trying a different method after you've tried a first!

Although I haven't used it myself, others highly recommend using Dave Ramsey's FREE budgeting tool called Every Dollar. This is an easy to use web-based budget planner, but unfortunately, the app is not available in the UK. 

No matter which method you use, follow these steps to create a budget:

First - Write down all income streams.  This includes your and your spouse's (if you're married) take-home pay - the amount that gets deposited into your bank account.  Be sure to add in any second jobs, pension income and benefits.  Add it all up. 

Second - List all of your expenses.  Hopefully you've already started this last week, but if not, take the time to look at your bank accounts for deductions, credit card statements for purchases you've made over the past few months and any receipts you've saved for ideas.  Again, this doesn't have to be perfect, but needs to be as close to reality as possible.  I'll give you more ideas in a sec.

Third - Group Expenses. Once you know what your regular expenses are, group them together into categories: Home, Vehicles, Insurance, Giving, Retirement and Other. If you're using an online budget or app, these categories may be named something similar.  If you have debt to repay, you'll want to create a category with all of the company's you owe money to and list the minimum payments next to each of these.

I'd like to give you more ideas of expenses for each of the categories by giving you insight to our budget.

  •  Home: 
    • Mortgage (or rent)
    • Utilites - gas and electricity (you'll want to divide yours if they're supplied by different companies)
    • Water
    • Cable TV
    • Line Rental
    • TV Licence
    • Council Tax
    • Neighbourhood maintenance
    • Boiler Service
    • Window Cleaner
    • House Expenditures - we save each month for upkeep, small pieces of furniture, decorations, landscaping, lighting - not that we spend towards these things each month!
  • Vehicles:
    • Tax Disks - we have 3 paid-for vehicles (2 cars and a motorcycle)
    • MOTs - for each of the vehicles 
    • Breakdown service
    • Vehicle servicing
    • New vehicle purchase - because we're committed to not incurring debt, we save money each month for a new vehicle.  This is an important category that you may want to consider adding after becoming debt free (BS2) and having saved 3-6 months of expenses (BS3)
  • Insurance:
    • Car insurance - for each vehicle
    • Home insurance
    • Life insurance
    • Travel insurance
  • Giving/Tithes: I don't feel comfortable discussing publicly who we donate to, but we do on a monthly basis and this is part of our budget.
  • Retirement Savings: this is in addition to pension contributions through work
  • University Savings: yes, we're saving now for our daughters' education. This comes in BS5, which we'll discuss when we get there in the Baby Steps series.
  • Other: 
    • National Trust Membership
    • Bank account fee
    • Travel/Holiday
    • Mobile phones 
    • Gym
    • Health
    • Hair cuts
    • Association of Project Management (Hubby's)
    • Guest Bed (we're saving for a new guest bed to buy in the next year)
    • Disney World 
    • School - field trips, PTA fundraisers, school pictures, teachers' gifts
    • Babysitting
    • Girls' Commission - similar to allowance
    • Clothing
    • Christmas
    • Birthdays
    • Gifts for Others
    • Fuel
    • Groceries
    • Restaurants
    • Play
    • Other - unexpected expenses, like post office and parking

For the items that are annual expenses, I divide the annual amount by 12 (months). and this the monthly amount that is budgeted. For example, MOTs - a MOT for one of our cars is £45. So each month, we budget £3.75. (£45/12 = £3.75). 

Step 4 - Assign Amounts - For each of your items, list the expense.  This may be a real eye opener!

Step 5 - Subtract Expenses from Income to Equal Zero - This is known as a "Zero-Based Budget", whereby you want every single penny allocated to each of the items.  Subtract the amounts from your income and - voila! - you know how much you either have still to allocate (if the difference is positive) or how much you need to cut back by (if the difference is negative).  Ideally you want £0 left... every single penny has a job to do.

Step 6 - Track Your Spending - Pretty much every day, I update my budget for anything we've spent that day. It only takes a minute or two and makes me feel a sense of control over my finances.

For more information on budgeting, you can visit other's websites:
Money Saving Expert:
Citizens Advice:
Money Advice Service:

If you have further budgeting questions, please don't hesitate to contact me and I'll do my best to help. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

BS 0.3 - Create and Follow a Written Budget

Hi Everyone!  A special hi! to everyone who started following Finding the Pennies this week.  I am so excited you're here; I hope you are, too!

Winning with your finances isn't easy.  It takes work, determination and a money-saving mindset.  By having a plan in place, we can all take steps - no matter the size - to take control of our finances.  The plan I started to share last week is one we've - my husband and I - have been following for a few years - and it's working so well for us, that I want to share it with all of you.  The control we have over our finances can be attributed to God's grace as well as following a budget - or a written plan for money before a penny is spent.

The 3rd step under Baby Step 0 is to create and follow a written budget.  Just to recap what we've already looked at over the past week.  Baby Step 0 - to commit - is an unofficial but important step in taking control of your finances.  BS 0.1 is to commit to never borrowing money again. BS 0.2 is to commit to working with your spouse on this life-long financial "adventure".  Now we're going to take a look at creating and following a budget.

Perhaps you're thinking, "Lauren, I don't have time to create a budget, let alone to actually track every penny I spend." Admittedly, creating a budget takes a small commitment of time - like maybe an hour or two - but by visiting your budget on a daily or even weekly basis, it doesn't take too much time at all.  Be honest with yourself... what do you spend your "down time" doing?  Watching telly?  Facebooking?  Surfing the internet?  Staying on track with your budget is worth every second of your time.

"Ok, Lauren.  Why is it worth my time?"  You work hard for your money!  *Sing it with me!* You work hard for your money so you better treat it right! (I've slightly changed the lyrics.)  I can't understand why we would work hard and then just spend money irresponsibly and not save for the future.  It's important to know what money you have coming in and how much money is going out.  Without a budget how do you know this?  How do you know that you'll have enough money to last you until the next time you're paid?  Isn't it worth a few minutes of your time a few times a week to give yourself peace of mind?
My hope is that you and your spouse (or your accountability partner if you're single) have discussed your (plural) goals.  By intentionally putting aside (saving) money by including your goals in your budget every single time you're paid, you will be able to:

  • Get out and stay out of debt (Baby Step 2)
  • Fund a fully-funded emergency fund (Baby Step 3)
  • Pay for a holiday in advance (Baby Step 3b)
  • Put a down payment on a house (Baby Step 3b)
  • Purchase a new piece of furniture (Baby Step 3b)
  • Purchase a new-to-you (aka "used") car (Baby Step 3b)
  • Save for retirement (Baby Step 4)

There's no better way to get control of your finances than by creating a budget and following it.  I get VERY excited talking about budgeting and VERY excited talking about ways of saving money. That's what this blog is all about.  I want to help you to achieve your goals. I want to help you to be able to make it to the end of the month with money left in the bank.  I want to help you to learn ways of cutting back, good 'ol fashioned "living within your means", and stretching every penny.  Let's get excited about our finances, Friends!

If you have tried to follow a budget, but you lose motivation after a few days or weeks, let's pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and get back to it!   You may pretty successfully follow a budget, but admit that something isn't quite right or that some expense creeps up on you that you forgot about it.  Let's improve your budget!  Perhaps you've never followed a budget, but are satisfied with the fact that there's money left in the bank... that's alright, but you could be doing much better!

Tomorrow evening I'm going to share with you ways of creating a budget - yes, there are plenty of ways - and you can choose which way best suits you.  I will also give you loads of ideas for categories to include.  Your budget won't be the exact same month to month nor does it have to be perfect from the get go!  You will learn where to adjust your budget for different times of the year and think ahead to recurring annual expenses.

A year ago I wrote a similar blog to this one: The Importance of Budgeting.  I encourage you to find a few extra minutes to read it for more insight on budgeting and to look at the categories to include in a budget, which I'll discuss tomorrow evening.

Until then, get out a sheet of paper and write down every expense you can think of that you pay on a monthly and annual basis and the approximate or exact amount you pay.  Just make a list. Don't worry about categorizing it, just write it down.  Until tomorrow, take care. xo

Monday, March 5, 2018

BS 0.2 - Get Spouse on "Same Page"

If you're like me, you're ready for Spring!  All the snow and bitter cold this past week has me yearning for warmer temperatures and sunnier days.  Oh well... let's turn our attention again to accomplishing our financial goals and the Baby Steps we started following last week.  In case you haven't read the first two blogs on the Baby Steps, take a few minutes to read through them. 

We're starting with the "unofficial" Baby Step 0, which is to commit. First, commit to never borrowing money again (except to buy a house), and second, commit to talking to your spouse and getting on the same page in terms of your goals and how you're going to accomplish them.

Why is this important?  Some believe that, even though they are married, finances are still separate.  Debts are separate, incomes are separate, bills are separate.  In a marriage, however, two become one. "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh" Gen. 2:24.  Therefore, there is no "his" and "hers" with finances - it's our fiances... our income... our debt... our budget... our financial dream... our life together.

I love this quote from DR, "Marriages are either growing together or growing apart... when we're sharing our goals, we're sharing our lives."

An important point that Dave Ramsey points out is that, ladies, if your family is struggling financially, your husband's self-esteem is suffering, and even more so if he is self-employed. Gentlemen, if your family is struggling financially, your wife is feeling afraid and insecure.
The main thing that men get from money is esteem, and the main thing for women is security. It is important to know this and recognise this as you go through your life-long financial "adventure" together.  Make sure you discuss your thoughts and feelings when times are tough, like when unexpected big expenses, job losses, or when dreams are dashed.

Start here: give each other a hug. You're in this together.  For better or worse, for richer or poorer. Next, make a list of everything you can sell to put towards building an emergency fund or paying off debt (we'll discuss these steps in BS 1 and 2).  Make a plan of how your going to get your finances in order and start working and living towards your dreams together.  Hint: take a look at the overview of the Baby Steps; you can probably take a guess at which Baby Step you're in, or where you need to start.  Once you have a plan in place and take ACTION, men, your self-esteem will strengthen, and ladies, your feeling of security will increase.

The following questions will help you to begin to understand each other's thoughts surrounding some of the issues in each question... by the way, you don't have to have the answers to all of these or know how you're going to accomplish them at this point.

Questions to consider:
*Do both partners need or want to work? Is part-time possible, or is full-time necessary?
*How soon do we want to purchase a house? A new car?  Our next holiday? A new piece of furniture?
*Do I need to get permission for every penny I spend or is there some leniency?  What if I want to buy something for myself (that no one else in the family benefits from)?
*How soon do you want to pay off debt? And the car loan? And the mortgage?
*Do we want to help financially support our children through university? If so, how much? Some of it or all of it?
*How do we see ourselves living in retirement?
*What changes do we need to make to make this happen?

What if you're not married?  If you're single, find someone who will act as a mentor, someone you can trust to work with you and encourage you.  This may be a friend or family member, someone from your church or maybe even me. I am more than willing to help in any way I can; please just let me know.

You may be wondering about how my husband and I handle our finances, and I'd be glad to tell you.  Our finances are completely combined.  At the start of every month, we compare budgets for the upcoming month.  We talk very openly about our expenditures, concerns and goals.  If one of us wants to buy something, we discuss it first, no matter the cost.  We agree on our short- and our long-term goals: to buy a new-to-us 7-seater/ mini-van (in American) with cash, to take a family holiday to Disney World paid for in advance, to pay for most or all of our daughters' university, to pay off our mortgage as soon as we can - which is many years away - all while giving generously.

Has it always been this way?   From very early on in our relationship, we discussed finances and money, but we agree, that we have improved greatly over the years in the way we budget and decide how and when to spend money.  Because personal finance and saving money are my interests, Jeff usually goes along with the suggestion that I have, though we always discuss things before we do them. Is there room for improvement? Always, but I believe we're working together really well to accomplish our financial goals.

It is not only great for your finances, but also great for your marriage, to be working together to accomplish your financial goals, too.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Our Month in Review: February

Hi Friends! I hope everyone's staying warm in this freezing weather.  Looking out the window, you'd never guess it's the 1st of March tomorrow!  

Before we begin the next month, let's take a look back at February.  I'm asking myself the same questions I asked myself last month: what went well this month and where is there room for improvement?  Having concluded our February budget, I can easily reflect on these questions.

The only area of our budget that we really overspent on was our restaurant budget.  Any time we eat outside the home, it goes in to the restaurant budget (makes sense, right?!). This month we ate out twice: one was a planned meal out with the in-laws as their belated Christmas present and the other was not planned, but completely worth it when my sister-in-law visited.  No biggie but I had to move some funds around this evening while completing our February budget in preparation for March.

What went well?  I managed to sell £87 worth of the girls' toys and clothes which was put in their University fund.  We also sold a fan heater for £10 which was added to the House Expenditures Fund.  

Also, we came in about £27 under budget with groceries - another month under budget.  I'm quite chuffed with this!  I used to spend easily £400-£450 every single month when I was working at Sainsbury's, even with my 10% colleague discount.  Now that I don't work there, I'm spending about £100 per month(!!!) less because I'm shopping mostly at Aldi.  I may have said this last month, but I'm trying to make sure we have a meal made up of leftovers at least once a week and at least two meat-free suppers, too.  

"Lauren, do you ever treat yourself to anything?" Yep!  I bought myself to a small Yankee candle that was on sale for £4.49.  Also, Jeff and I got to see The Greatest Showman at the cinema last week thanks to having live-in babysitters (aka. Granny and Granda) and thanks to friends who let us use their Meerkat Movies BOGO voucher code.  By the way, if you haven't seen it, do... we were mesmerized every single second of the film.  

I shared a great quote from the film in the last post I wrote in 2017: "No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else" (although this may only be said in the trailer) Another one... and it could have so easily been missed... "Comfort: the enemy of progress." LOVE THIS!  You can only make progress when you move out of your comfort zone.  This quote can be applied to any area of life, but since this blog is focused on finances... the only way to achieve your financial goals is to examine your finances, find ways to save, save money, create and follow a budget, save money, plan, save money, make sacrifices and save money.  

I love talking money and personal finance.  Please, if there's anything you'd like to ask me about or that you'd like me to address on the blog, please let me know... like my friend did when she asked me about will writing... I'll write a blog on this when I get to it in the Baby Steps series.. but I've already answered her, because I wanted to help her sooner than later.  I want what's best for you, too.  Plan your budget for March. Save money, but also make sure to enjoy your money every now and then, too. Take care. xo  

Monday, February 26, 2018

BS 0.1 - Never Borrow Money Again

Image result for dave ramsey
Hi Friends!  Last night, I introduced Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps with the aim of giving you hope that you can achieve your financial goals by following a proven step-by-step plan.  This is not an achieve-your-financial-dreams-in-30-days-type plan... no, no... sorry... not sorry... this is a you-decide-today-to-take-control-right-now-for-the-rest-of-your-life plan.  No, it won't likely be easy. Yes, you'll most likely have to make short-term sacrifices for long-term gain.  It will require some work and effort, but very worthwhile work and effort.

If you're ready to commit and make a change or if you're already familiar with Dave's Baby Steps and, like me, want to make sure you're still on track, let's get going.

Baby Step 0 isn't officially a Dave Ramsey Baby Step, but it is mentioned on his show and is just as important as the other steps.  The first penny-sized step in Baby Step 0 is to commit to NEVER borrow money for ANYTHING (except maybe a home) EVER again.  That means you only buy what you can pay for right now.  This includes everything from your morning takeaway coffee to paying for big ticket items with cash or in full at the end of the month with a credit card.  New smart devices, new or used cars, holidays... you will commit to saving for them BEFORE you purchase them.  I know, you want it now, but you're an adult. 

DR strongly encourages destroying credit cards so that they can't ever be used again.  There's a few reasons for this; Dave says, "Getting out of debt is 80% behaviour and 20% head knowledge. Credit card companies know this... you spend more with plastic than you do with cash."

I can imagine you gasping at this realisation!  Handing over cash when you pay for something equates to pain. If you pay cash for your purchases, you'll likely spend 22% less (according to Dave) than if you were to pay by card.  That's massive!  You tend to impulse buy when you know you're paying by card and it won't hurt... but if you keep in mind that you're going to have to part with cold hard cash at the checkout, you're more likely to only buy the necessary items on your list - you do shop with a list, right?! 

I'm going to go off on a tangent for a minute.  Aren't contactless credit cards so convenient?  I never have to carry cash.  I can buy little things here and there so effortlessly!  No! No! No!  Based on the idea that parting with cash induces painful emotions, contactless credit cards induce hardly any negative emotion at all!  Credit card companies think this is great!  Customers are spending willy nilly, not realising how much and how often they're spending money!  Then the credit card statement comes at the end of the month and customers are shocked at how much they've mindlessly spent!  Then they get mad a credit card companies for being evil and forcing them to pay back the money they've borrowed... and if it's not paid off IN FULL (in Martin Lewis' booming voice) this month, they're charged interest on these practically effortless, mindless purchases.  I'm going to have to write a full blog post on this with more statistics (*note to self!).

So what can you do?  Stop using credit cards.  Ahh! That's scary!  Well, not really, but admittedly, I've been trying to convince myself to do this for at least a couple of years.  I don't love to carry lots of cash on me, nor do I want to have to go to the cash point all the time; I could use our debit card, which Dave Ramsey does himself which would prevent any interest being charged on top of the purchase price as with a credit card.  Although I am very careful with what I spend due to following a budget, and perhaps I could spend even less by only spending cash... perhaps I'll challenge myself to do this for a couple months and let you know know how I get on. 

What you can do if you're not ready to cut up your credit cards is to simply stop and think before making a purchase.  Do you really need what you're about to buy?  Is there an alternative?  Pay off your credit cards IN FULL every month. 

Do you rely on your credit cards for emergencies?  Well, if you continue to follow this plan, you will be building an emergency fund, then later a fully-funded emergency fund to fall back on in the case of an emergency... or emergencies. 

So Baby Step 0.1 is to commit to never borrowing money again (except for a home).  How do you feel about this?   Please let me know.  The next penny-sized step is that I'll be examining in a few days is to get on the "same page" with your spouse.  Take care.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Let's Get Started: DR's Baby Steps

Happy Sunday evening, Friends. This is the moment I've been waiting for.  I have been wanting to share with you something that may just change your life forever.  Let me just ask you: Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?  Are you ready to take control of your finances?  If you are ready to make changes to your spending and saving habits that will not only impact you for the rest of your life, but will also have a lasting impact on your children, I want to invite you to join the millions around the world who are following Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps to financial freedom.  

I am sooooooo excited to share the plan with you that is making a HUGE impact on so many and which has made such a huge impact on my mindset and our finances.  Each week for the next month or so I will be taking an in-depth look at each of seven baby steps and breaking them down to the best of my knowledge for those living in the UK.  

Why the UK?  Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps is written for a US audience, and so far, isn't written for those living in the UK.  "But Lauren, I'm sure there are some big differences between the UK and the US in terms of taxes, savings and retirement."  There are some differences, but there are also similarities, especially when thinking of mindset.  No matter which country you live in, you must have a money-saving mindset. You must want to make a change.  You have to be committed.  But most importantly, this plan works... no matter which country you're in... as long as you do the work.

As I've said many times before, I am not a qualified professional.  I am simply a friend who wants to help you, no matter who you are and no matter where you are in your financial adventure.  I want to give you hope that you can get out of debt (if you have any), build wealth and reach your goals.  I truly, truly believe that by combining Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps, advice and guidance from Martin Lewis (and others) and penny-sized mindset changes that I share with you, you will be able to accomplish big things with your money.  

It's tough love time.  If you have been spending money like there's no tomorrow, it's time to stop doing that.  If you don't have a fully-funded emergency fund saved, it's time to save for one. If you haven't been saving for retirement and believe the money will simply be there when you retire or that you can rely on the government to support you - ha! - it's time to get your head out of the sand.  It is up to you - no one else - to get your finances in order.

I am here to share with you what I know to the best of my ability.  I invite you to message me with any questions you have or guidance you need, and I will do my best to guide you in the right direction.  If you don't feel you want to make a change, that's fine by me.  If you don't think this is worth your time and energy, that's fine, too.  But if you have that desire deep down that now is the right time and now you are ready to make a change or even just make sure you're going in the right direction, please keep reading.

Let's get started: Dave Ramsey has created these 7 Baby Steps as a guide to financial freedom.  What does financial freedom mean?  To most it means to live your best life without debt and finance-related stress and worry.  You can find Dave's Baby Steps on by clicking here, and as follows: 

Baby Step 1: Save £1,000 for a beginner emergency fund

Baby Step 2: Pay off all debt, except your mortgage, using the debt snowball

Baby Step 3: Build a fully-funded emergency fund of 3 to 6 months of expenses

Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of household income into retirement

Baby Step 5: Start saving for your children's university

Baby Step 6: Pay off your home early

Baby Step 7: Build wealth and give generously

Oh yeah, and there's Baby Step 0: Commit

I will be breaking these baby steps down into smaller penny-sized sub-steps every Monday over the next 8 weeks, again, combining information from various UK-based sources.

Below is an animated, yet informative, overview of the Baby Steps on YouTube. 

There is also a great UK-based Facebook page called "Dave Ramsey UK Based Support Group" that I am a member of and encourage you to be a part of, too, to gain support from other followers of the DR plan.  

If you know a friend or family member who could benefit from these steps and the guidance I give, please invite them to subscribe to this blog and/or follow Finding the Pennies on Facebook.

Perhaps you're wondering where my husband and I are on this plan.  We're on Baby Steps 4, 5 and 6, which are done simultaneously; however, to be honest, we do owe family friends some money which will be paid back in full by May. We have a fully-funded emergency fund in our current account.  Although we do contribute a good chunk of money towards our pensions and extra retirement savings every month, we haven't actually checked whether this is 15% of our household income - we definitely need to do this!  We do save towards our girls' university fees - more on this in the next few weeks.  We would absolutely LOVE to pay off our mortgage early, which seems so far off at this point, but that is our goal.  We already give generously as part of our Christian beliefs every month - again, more on this another time.

As you can see, we also have some work to do on our finances... I often say that there's always room for improvement!  I truly hope you join me on this plan.  If I can support you in any way at any time, please let me know.

I hope you join me tomorrow evening to discuss Baby Step 0!