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by Nina

Nina is a wellness coach, student midwife, and writer at Shalom Mama, where she helps families simplify natural living. She and her husband live in central Oregon with their four kids on a school bus turned RV.

budgeting

3 items I won’t cut from my budget

Have you ever made a decision you knew would change your life? Maybe you’re not sure how you know, but you know. This is big. Life will never be the same.

A few years ago, my husband and I made one of those decisions. It was a simple one, yes, but the decision led us onto a path of intentional daily actions and a life of adventure.

The decision? Get out of debt. ASAP.

After years of struggling to make payments and living paycheck to paycheck, we were motivated to make the changes necessary to dig ourselves out of debt. So I began researching and implementing ways to reduce our spending.

We even made some radical changes to lower our budget and, while it was challenging, I knew as I mailed our final debt payment that all the hard work was worth it.

But there were a few budget items we just couldn’t get rid of, because they were too important to us to skip. Even though they weren’t bare necessities, we were willing to take longer to reach our goal so we could have the peace of mind they bring and the fulfillment of living in line with our values.

1. Giving

Several years ago, we decided to give at least 10% of our income to help others. By living simply, our goal is to give more. More time, more income, more love.

We currently split our giving among a few different charities each month, including our home church.

And then there’s the really fun giving, like surprising someone with a meal, a huge tip, or leaving friends some delicious micro-brews on their door step (you, too, can be a Beer Fairy).

3 things worth keeping in the budget (even when you're getting out of debt).
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2. Preventive Healthcare

Not long after our life-changing decision, I realized we were spending too much money trying to treat symptoms. As I learned more about natural health, I saw that we needed to go beyond treating symptoms and get to the root of the problem.

Since then, our family has created a healthier home using essential oils, real food, and certain supplements. We built the price of those items into our budget and as a result, we’ve saved so much money on healthcare, it’s ridiculous (our family of six spends the same amount each year as the average person).

3. Insurance

As the mom of four small kids with a husband in the emergency medical/fire services, this one is a high priority. I’ve always been more mindful of insurance than most, thanks to my mom who worked for an insurance agency as I was growing up (yes, I was that weird teen), but it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I put any thought into what types or how much coverage we needed.

After going through Financial Peace University, we checked out the insurance Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) page to make sure we were covering our bases with the types of insurance our family might need.

Through this resource, we were able to save money on insurance costs—a bonus in our race to get out of debt.

And we were pleased to see that in some areas we could even up coverage without paying more. There were certain policies that we knew needed more coverage, but we hadn’t pursued any changes because we thought it would be more expensive. Which just shows that you never know until you ask, even when it comes to insurance.

Our monthly amounts are minimal and give my husband and I the peace of mind that, should the worst happen, at least money won’t be a problem.

Worth every penny.

3 items worth keeping in the budget (even when you're getting out of debt)
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What items will always stay in your budget?

This post is sponsored by The Lampo Group’s ELP Program.

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