Money is a necessity of life. It helps us keep our homes warm, our bellies full and can be a source of strife in marriages.
I remember my parents telling me when I was younger that I needed to make a budget and stick to it. “Don’t spend everything you make” my parents would say. These are awesome words of advice. The problem with this is they didn’t SHOW me how to do it. I can vaguely remember my parents sharing with me that they would have a $100 bill they kept in a “hiding” place for emergencies, but that was about it. I never knew how much my parents made or how much any of the bills were. As an adult, I can look back to my childhood and see that my parents were very frugal with their money.
Recently my husband and I have have embarked on a journey that has caused us to come face to face with this question. With the big 5 – 0 coming around the corner for me quickly, we have both felt a great sense of urgency to make sure we are debt free. Becoming debt free, of course, must begin with a mind shift and a BUDGET!
My husband and I began to discuss what approach we wanted to take to tackle this.
We solicited the assistance of a financial coach. This was a really big deal for us. To basically share all of your mistakes, failures and regrets, is quite a big deal for a couple. Once we both got past being embarrassed to share some of the things from the past, we could really get down to business.
As we began to discuss how much to budget for different categories, I realized I didn’t know how much we were spending on eating out. I had my family bring me every receipt for everything that was purchased for one month and put them into categories. If you do this you will be VERY surprised where your money is really going.
I had NO idea how much my family was spending at Sonic…..just sayin’.
BUT, once I had this knowledge, I had a better understanding of the amounts I needed for our budget.
By having a budget, you are telling every dollar where to go.
Here are a few things we did to help out our cash flow each month:
- Cancelled our Gym membership – we weren’t using it much anyway!
- Budgeted one time a month for ANY type of eating out (this was the hard one!)
- Changed cable TV companies for a less expensive one.
- STOPPED USING THE DEBIT CARD!! We ONLY used CASH! You can do this!!
We have been deliberately creating a budget TOGETHER every month for a year now and we are seeing so much progress toward our goals.
If you are struggling with your finances in any way, I encourage you to follow Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze on Facebook. They both have Youtube channels and Dave has a great radio show. Listening to them and infusing these basic thoughts into our everyday life has given us motivation and accountability.
We no longer view the word BUDGET as a four letter word. In fact, it has given us direction and peace.