After almost eight months with Grandmas jars, I definitely feel in control of my finances. I am now officially debt free!
I started working with Phil and Grandma's Jars in Sept 2013. I was in a relatively good place financially – I had a good job and wage, and minimal debt ($5000 to my parents for my car) – but I felt there must be a better way to managing my money. I was being paid monthly, and I had attempted to even this out by giving myself an ‘allowance’ fortnightly. But I wasn’t very structured about how I was doing this, and I kept ending up short (and feeling frustrated with myself). I had always been able to save money for a particular goal (mostly involving travel), mainly by just locking all my money away in a savings account and living a relatively frugal student life. I never factored in long-term expenses or thought in a very detailed way about how I was spending my money – I definitely never kept track of it! Now that I was working full time, though, I felt like I was in a different ball game.
After sitting down with Phil and learning the Grandma's Jars system, I realised I hadn’t been realistic about what I was including in my fortnightly ‘allowance’ to myself, and I wasn’t factoring in the longer term expenses, like car registration or house utility bills. Setting up my expenses as ‘everyday spending’ versus monthly or yearly expense, I saw how I could divide and allocate my money, and it was much easier to keep track of what I needed to save and what I could spend.
It was also very useful to examine where I was spending my money. Now that I have the system set up, it’s much easier to keep track of what I’ve spent my money on that month (especially with the mobile app – I have no excuse now for forgetting what I spent my money on!), and it makes it easier to be more strategic in my spending. I can see if I’ve spent a lot of money on groceries this month, and I can think about why that’s happened and what I could do differently next month. It also makes it easier to decide if I need to be more frugal on other expenses, like ‘entertainment’, or if I can afford myself that extra night out or event.
After almost eight months with Grandmas jars, I definitely feel in control of my finances. I am now officially debt free! I also feel a sense of flexibility. It’s very easy to just go online, look at my Jars and spending history, and see possibilities where I can skim more savings off an expense. My goal is to save $20,000 by the end of this year, and I’m well on my way to achieving this. I plan to go travelling for a year or more with this money, and I am sure I will find the Grandma's Jars budgeting system incredibly useful to manage my money while travelling also. And then when I get around to it, if I ever want to save for a house deposit or something grand like that, I feel empowered financially to just step right out there and do it!