Prepare For Emergencies

Good budgeting practices have helped kysa and derwin daniels handle a layoff

off their mortgage and start seriously saving for retirement, though they both already contribute 15% of their income to their 401(k) accounts and varying amounts to their Roth IRAs. In the meanwhile, Kysa intends to finish her manuscript, God Bless the Positive Thinker, and concentrate on motivational speaking. To achieve their personal financial goals, the couple followed three simple rules:

The Danielses use an old-fashioned pad and pencil to record their budget, and believe that there is something about documenting the flow of money that makes financial goals easier to attain. “A lot of times people don’t even know who they owe or what they owe,” says Kysa, “It helped to write things down. When you can see the goals it just makes them so much more achievable.” The couple adjusts their budget when there are major life events, such as Kysa losing her job, and they still use the dry-erase board to tackle major projects.

“I was never taught the importance of saving money and that’s what drove me into debt,” Kysa explains. While her parents did open two savings accounts for her, one at each of their credit unions, “they didn’t tell me about putting money into it,” she jokes. The Danielses have opened savings accounts for their children Nicholas, 1, and Ryan, 8. Ryan is already being taught to set aside money for his tithes and for savings.

“It doesn’t mean that you have to live in squalor,” says Kysa. “We often make the journey to financial stability more difficult because we won’t sacrifice and commit to putting [money] aside.” The Danielses put off nonessential purchases, like furniture, until they were able to afford them, and Kysa often shops at consignment and thrift stores. The couple also saves bonuses and other windfalls, rather than spending them, and they pay off credit card bills every month. But being frugal doesn’t necessarily mean doing without. The Danielses are considering a trip to Rio de Janeiro this year. Says Derwin, “Now that we have our finances under control, we can start to live a little.”

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