The Arellanos happily live paycheck to paycheck because they have a plan for all of the income in that paycheck.
Living paycheck to paycheck may get a bad rap, but by having a plan in place like Alixandria Arellano and her husband, Staff Sgt. Stephen Arellano, do, people can successfully save.
How do they do it?
Alixandria, a full-time student at Bellevue University, and her spouse who is in the Air Force, make it work by keeping track of everything. They also set goals for their savings and stick to them no matter what.
“What motivates us to save is that we have learned life can be unpredictable and money is never guaranteed until it deposits into your account,” she said.
Alixandria says she has a great plan in place because she writes everything down. She and Stephen have an automatic bank draft set up to transfer $50 into their savings account each time he gets paid. In their case, this occurs on the 1st and the 15th of each month.
The couple then pay all the bills, but Alixandria leaves money in their checking account for gas, groceries and other miscellaneous items. She then takes out cash for “weekend fun money” plus about $75 to $100 for each of them, depending on what other expenses they have coming up, to spend however they would like. She says she keeps great records and sticks to a budget, but she thinks they live comfortably.
How did they get started?
The Arellanos decided about two years ago that they needed to get their savings in order because Alixandria planned to quit her job in order to go to school full time. She says they tracked everything and weighed the options of her going to school and not working. At that time, they only had about $500 in savings, and even with her quitting her job, they have built their savings over time.
What do they use their savings for?
The couple recently took a trip to Disney World and also paid for a family member’s plane ticket to visit. They are able to do such things since they have a healthy savings account.
While Alixandria would say their account is below what they deem comfortable, she says it would easily cover more than two pay periods, which is a good place to be. Also, since they track everything and have solid goals, they are able to use their funds as needed while they continue to save.
“Also, having a savings plan helps us have funds to travel and make memories with our families,” she said. “We’ve gone to New York City, done a cruise and went to Disney World all within the last three years.”
What is the plan for the future?
Alixandria plans to keep saving and never stop. Additionally, her top goal is to never have their saving account drop below $1,500.
What else is there?
When examining Alixandria, many people can see her resourcefulness. She is always seeking additional information, using benefits and planning for their financial future, such as the My Career Advancement Account that helped her complete an associate degree.
The Arellanos also only own one car, which they plan to pay off before the end of the year. They plan to continue to save the “car payment” money until they have to buy another car, likely when Alixandria starts working full time again.
“By having a financial plan, we are able to prioritize what is important to us and where we want our money to go towards,” she said, “which is traveling and seeing our family.”
Although Stephen’s career in the Air Force is five years young, he and his wife have established goals to work toward their financial future. They have proven that anyone can save successfully when living paycheck to paycheck and on one income stream.Read comments