B is for Budget
Posting on a Tuesday? What is this madness? I’ve got so much to say lately, I’m really back in a blogging groove I guess! I don’t know if I’ll be back to five days a week permanently yet, but I have so many post ideas it could happen!
Anyway, today I’m going to talk about everyone’s favorite subject – money!! I kid. Does anyone really like talking about money? Unless you have a lot of it, I’m guessing not. And that’s been something that’s been a bit of a problem at our house – money talks are uncomfortable, so we never want to have them. Two years ago we started the Traction program as a way of running our household (blogged here) and have been working towards figuring out a household budget. We made the budget the main task for the first quarter this year because the honest truth is, we’ve been living too long without one.
Now before we get too much further here I want to stress we are not broke, we are not in trouble (hi mom, we’re fine, don’t worry!) but we’ve been guilty of living the”play now, worry later”life for too long. And part of the problem was, while we definitely have always been aware of how much we’re bringing in, we’ve never really sat down and figuring how much is going out and where.
So, we made a spreadsheet and started tracking our receipts and bills and logging them on the spreadsheet so we could see where we were spending the most. It was eye opening to say the least. (Hint, we really, really like to eat good food). Now that we know where we need to spend (mortgage, bills, etc) we were able to set a budget for the things we want to do (eat out, activities). We also set an allowance for all three of us per month. And April 1st was our “go day”. So we are now living a budgeted life.
Now this is not to say we can’t do anything and have to stay at home and never spend money and become the most boring people on the face of the earth. We just need to be accountable and smart about what we’re doing. I honestly feel good about this, I like structure, I like having a plan instead of just blindly going about all of this. I will say we’ve been saving for retirement for several years now so I feel like we are ahead of the game in that department, but now we’ll be able to save up for other things that we’ve been putting off like home repairs. And here are several other big reasons I’m committed to keeping up with this new lifestyle.
Ollie’s education. We chose Montessori for preschool and it’s been a positive experience so far. We’d like to keep him there until elementary school – but it’s not free.
One year ago this week this was my view. If we want to be able to take more trips like our Jamaica trip, we have to actually save up for it. I have so many places I want to go – Disney World, Hawaii,Wine Country in California, more Caribbean islands, the list could go on and on….
Jen and I took a mom-cation last Fall and it was epic and wonderful and we’d like to do it again. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to say that taking a “Mom Break” can make you a better mom. I also have some friends from high school planning a rather epic trip for our 40th birthdays in five years, but it might be smart to start saving for that now!
So you see where I’m going here. Most of the above involve family and friends and time well spent. As I’m working on living a life of purpose it’s making me want to be more intentional with my time. And that’s more valuable than THINGS. And also, a budget friendly approach to living will also allow me to more easily do things like give back – which is also my goal of living a life of purpose this year.
I’m proud of us for finally taking the steps to make this a reality. We’ve talked about setting a budget ever since we started the Traction program but have had many false starts at getting it set up. I give Nate the majority of the credit here as he really did the bulk of the work. It’ll be a team effort to keep it going, but we’re up to the challenge. We are doing just fine overall, we have money in the bank, food on the table and a roof on our heads. This will just help us do better than fine. Maybe instead of a B+ we can score an A instead. Onward and upward.