Who We Are
Oh hey! Hello there! We are the Lastella’s! My name is Ariel and I am the writer and content creator behind This Budget Life. I am an excel spreadsheet budgeting nerd, a type A, seriously calculated yet weirdly spontaneous risk taker, and I love running numbers for funsies. My hubby’s name is Dave and together, we have been serial budgeters for the past 8 years. We have an almost 3 year old daughter named Lea and a big fur pup named Phoenix. As a family, we are living life bigger and better than we could have ever thought possible with our weekend trips in our RV to the lake and the mountains any chance we get!
How We Got Here
What made us start This Budget Life and what gives us the authority to teach you our ways young grasshopper? Welp! I’ll tell you! Just about 8 years ago, hubs and I (before we were officially hubs and I), wanted to buy our first home together. We were on a mission! We started off month 1 of our house saving journey and ended up that very same month with basically only some pennies added to our account. As much planning in my head as I did, I couldn’t understand why the numbers just weren’t adding up in real life. I did 1 simple thing for month 2– I tracked our spending. We didn’t change habits, or daily routines. And guess what…I learned that in 1 month we had spent over $480 at Dunkin Donuts alone!!! &%$@!&…say what?! A $4 stop for a cup of coffee and a bagel in the morning added up to $480 that month between the two of us. From that month forward, we tracked every penny, changed our daily habits and opted for other changes in our life that didn’t mean sacrificing our overall happiness. We paid off $8,000 in debt and saved up another $20,000 in less than 9 months and bought our first home together! The same system we used then, we still use to this day (with minor tweaks and prettier spreadsheets of course!).
Because of the stuff we put in place in the early days like our family budgeting and money managing system, we were able to not only purchase our first home together, but we were able to renovate it without falling into any debt. We had our baby girl shortly after and easily made the decision to become a 1 income household after she was born. Keeping our way of life in mind, we made the decision to up and leave our home state and move south. This was our big life move! I ran spreadsheet after financial spreadsheet laying out the income vs. expenses for every scenario of our move…for literally 2 full years. We finally made the move in 2018 and haven’t looked back! I told you I like running numbers for funsies! It has paid off big time!! Moving to a different state for financial reasons is one of the biggest life changes that you can make that not many people tackle head on….And yet we did it. We were tired of paying out the rear to live in the northeast of the U.S. and wanted a better life…plain and simple. We were willing to make the change for more- more money in our pockets and just more life together as a family. We moved, sold our first home and bought our first RV. Life is sweet in an RV, let me tell you! You can say we “vacation” every other week now in that thing. Sometimes I can’t believe the life we created for ourselves! And believe me when I say I don’t make bookoo bucks to make this all happen either. (Our life isn’t one of those stories that tells you about this couple who saved a cool $1 mil in 5 years simply by budgeting….come to find out they were making $500k a year kind of story. Nope! That’s not us here folks!)
Anywhoo…the next big life event we are gearing up for currently is our first home build. You better believe we are gonna be using our sweet ninja budgeting skills and running one too many excel spreadsheets to make this one happen! We are planning on buying land here in NC and building our home 100% in CASH you guys! No construction loan and no mortgage to be had. STILL all on one income. Holy budgeting batman! You can learn more about the details of our build and our plans here. We are in it for the long haul and plan to bring you along for the ride!
The goal of starting This Budget Life is to show all of you readers out there that anything is possible if you just start putting some numbers to paper (or in excel!). I am a firm believer in awareness of your numbers. It is the first and biggest step in this budgeting game and it is addicting once you start! So just freaking start already! Start small, but start now. I want to show you how to pay down your debt, save some money, and get the ball of living large rolling. We are living proof that our system of budgeting works. We have witnessed it work first hand time and time again. We are also big believers of not changing your lifestyle– just change the way you think about your lifestyle, the way you think about money, your belief about happiness, and the rest will fall into place. Our mission over here at TBL is to lead by example and show you that you and your family can do This Budget Life too!!
We don’t sacrifice our lifestyle by budgeting. In fact, we found that we get more out of life WHEN we budget and pay close attention to our numbers. Financial awareness is freedom. Freedom gives you the choice to make amazing, life changing decisions that impact the next decision and the next decision after that.