5 Simple Steps to Start a Budget


5 Simple Steps to Start a BudgetAfter years of wondering why I was broke every couple of months, I realized that I needed to organize my finances and start a budget especially as my student loan statements and other bills started to pile up. It took me several months to set up a budget after trying different ways to set up a budget. I also changed my payment deadlines to align with my budget. After my husband and I married in 2015, it took us over a year to consolidate our finances. Creating a budget helped us to gain a better picture of our finances. It also helped us figure out a five year plan to pay down our debt. Starting a budget is not fun but it is a necessary tool to help you and your family keep track of expenses, save money, and plan for the future. Here are five simple steps to help you start a budget: Read more

Book: “The Debt-Free Spending Plan”

“The Debt-Free Spending Plan” by Joanneh Nagler provides a step-by-step guide to figure out your budget, have enough money for your needs, pay down your debt, and save for your wants. It is a different way of looking at personal finances. Instead of just mindlessly tracking your expenses (which make budgeting so depressing), you learn how to create financial goals to achieve your dreams and gain a life of financial security. Read more

Book: “The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living”

“The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living” by Anna Newell, creator of the blog AndThenWeSaved.com, was one of the first personal finance ebooks I borrowed from our public library. Even though my husband and I are not big spenders (anymore!), the book caught my eye with the words “debt-free living”. Her book provided an honest look into the life of a spender and revealed her struggles and accomplishments in paying back close to $24,000 of debt in 15 months with little to no help from her husband, friends, and family. Anna talked practical methods of adopting a needs-only spending habit, finding new ways to earn money, paying down debt, understanding our own spending habits, and how to navigate family and social life through a spending fast. As I read the book, I realized how much of her story mirrors my own and I learned what tools I could use in my own life. Read more


Hi Everyone,

My name is Cherry Lacsina. I am 28 years old and I live in Honolulu, HI. I graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a BA in Philippine Language and Literature and an MEd in Educational Administration in Higher Education. I work in higher education while my husband does signs and banners for a local print shop. We just got married this time last year.

As our first year wedding anniversary is coming up, I began this blog to chronicle our financial journey to debt free living. We owe thousands of dollars in student loans, credit card debt, and personal loans from moving here for college, car accidents, the wedding, helping our family, etc and just poor financial management. For the past 10 years, we’ve made a lot of financial mistakes and have been juggling multiple jobs to fix it but it keeps growing. After a long hard look at our debt and our life, we are done with it all. Done with living paycheck to pay check. Done with debt. Done with letting money dictate our lives. We’ve decided to finally face our monstrous debt and pay it down more aggressively so that we can finally have control of our lives. We know it won’t be easy. There will be lot of mistakes. We have a lot of sacrifices and behaviors and attitudes to change but we have a goal to eliminate at least 80% of our debt in five years.

<img src="lacsina-wedding.jpg" alt="wedding" />
My husband, Alvin, and I got married on our 10th anniversary last year.

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