It seems that the financial situation for my family is not getting any better, despite the many changes made this year. My husband and I are both nearing 30, and we don't want to be stuck in this rut for the rest of our lives. I sat down a few weeks ago and devised a strict set of rules that we will begin following in 2013. These are the financial rules we put in place, and how I expect they will help us to financially move forward.
No change rule
Everything must be paid for with dollar bills, not using any spare change. I have sealed a huge jar for change with super glue and made a slit in the lid for an easy insert for the coins. From this point forward, all of our change will go into this jar and stay in there. On average, we collect roughly $20 a month in coins. If we continue to save this, it will yield us $240 a year. Of course there is a possibility of much more being saved, but that would be the bare minimum.
Dining out only once a month
Right now we are eating outside our home three times a month. On average it will cost us $30 a meal, which totals $90 for the month. I have decided to scale this back to only once a month, leaving $60 back in our pockets. The reality is we spend money on groceries, and that alone should help us avoid spending excess money on eating away from home. We will pick a date on the calendar each month for our family dinner out, and stick to it.
Cut up all the credit cards
These have done nothing but create more debt for us. After the new year, we will be cutting up all of my cards and paying them down one by one. I will keep one card for emergencies and the rest will be done. I have a tendency to max the cards out, and that will only hurt my credit score, not improve it. It is going to be tough, but the scissors will come out and the problem will be dealt with.
By implementing strict rules, I am hoping we get back on track. Our dreams of owning a home are not out of reach, but we must first make sure we will be able to handle a mortgage payment. I am not willing to risk things this late in the game, especially because we have come so far and worked so hard to be where we are right now.
*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.More from this contributor First Person: Cutting Out 3 'Luxuries' Will Save Our Family $2,000 a Year