Thursday, February 19, 2015

We Said the B-Word

Habakkuk 2:2    And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
Proverbs 29:18    Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.  

Well, my family officially sucks at making New Year's Resolutions. Here it is the middle of February, and we are just now having our first "budget meeting" of the year. So many changes basically have caused us to just start over with our budget for next month. I know I've said this before, but it's really strange not bringing in a paycheck. I have committed myself, however, to saving money wherever I can. I know it takes stress off my husband, which in turn leads to a happier household.

So, we did our budget. If you're not using any type of budget software, this is what we use, and it's
tremendous. To be honest, we've been trying to do the debt snowball for a while, but this last year has been more of a "four walls" year. Even if you're not totally sold on how Dave Ramsey operates, I recommend doing a budget of any sort. Excel spreadsheets are great. Paper budgets are great.

Anything that is written down is GREAT.

Why? For the same reason that we instill boundaries in our kids and have boundaries in our marriages: so we know where we stand! Before Hubster and I had any kind of written anything, we were convinced we absolutely HAD to make far more than what we really did. We were always broke, even though both of us had great jobs and no kids. Come to find out, we had our nemesis: going out to eat. Once we put that in check, it was amazing how much disposable cash we had all of a sudden. Once again, I think that has been our nemesis. Once we put that back in check, we're pretty golden.

I remember working with a lady who insisted that she only went "out to eat" a few times per year. What she failed to notice is that, while she may have only gone to a sit-down restaurant a few times, she was grabbing fast food almost every day. In our heads, spending only a few bucks here and there on a value meal doesn't sound like that big of a deal. But $10/day for 30 days: that's $300!!! And that's what has killed us so far. Just being honest. Is it ok to grab something occasionally, absolutely!! Everyone needs a break!

Even as tight as our budget is, (Dave recommends a zero-balanced budget; where every dollar has a purpose) we still have a small bit of wiggle room. I labeled it, "Sanity Money" but you can call it Entertainment, Play money, or whatever. It's the ice cream at the park on a Saturday; eating something cheap after church on Sunday, or just buying premade frozen pizzas so that Mom doesn't have to do anything but turn the oven on before she has a psychotic episode.

Just as a warning, the first budget meeting is stressful. PRAY FIRST. It's scary to go through the past month and tally up how much you've spent on stuff. It's embarrassing to realize how much you've spent on Crap. At the time, maybe it didn't seem like that big of a deal. Now, when you're adding everything up, the full ramifications are impossible to hide. We had more than a few "oh sh!t" moments of what we were doing to ourselves.

But make it plain. Make it easy. When you can keep your vision in front of you, it does make you happy. Even when it sucks not doing/buying/going someplace or somewhere. It's a short-term sacrifice for a long term goal. For us, it's being debt free, with a good credit score, and purchasing a home together. All of that will happen. I have no doubt. But something we've both realized is that it won't happen with a magic wand. There is no ridiculously wealthy family member that is going to give us a giant sum of cash or something that will make our troubles go away. We're going to get to earn it. And for some reason, I'm a little excited about that.

BTW, I don't get paid for the links, pictures, or other stuff I put on my blog. It's just stuff I love and that I believe in. Maybe later, I'll add more real links or adsense or something, but this is just stuff I think is neato.

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