I mean you guys, I had A KID. How on Earth would I possibly have time to figure out at budget?! I mean, seriously. Who has time for that.
Oh friends, the lies we tell ourselves...
But, I believed that lie for a lonnnng time. And the lie of, "well I certainly can't ask how much something costs. What if someone thinks I can't afford it?!" Oh, the humanity, right.
Well, over the past few months I couldn't shake this almost nagging feeling to give. Like really give. Generously. Then I realized, I didn't even know if we could and if we could, how much is 'generous'?
I don't know about you but, I personally don't like not being able to do something that I wanna do. Some call it a personality flaw, I prefer to call it 'resolute' ha!
The next morning, I was reading my devotional and lo and behold - this was the verse.
The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty." -Proverbs 21:5
Uhm. What. I mean, if you don't hear that message loud and clear - you should find the nearest CVS and check your vital signs.
Then, not even joking you guys, the next days devotion was this.
And I'm not even reading Proverbs...
So, I was like ok, this is serious. I need to call in reinforcements. I have zero clue how to budget. Luckily, I have Rainman for a husband. Bonus.
So, we sit down, I tell Justin what's up and he, of course, is all for it. That may, or may not have been because he's been trying to budget for the past 6 years of our marriage...but I digress.
Here's the real deal: I didn't want to budget. Money scared me. Like I wouldn't even look in the account. I'd just be like "oh, it's in there, it's fine." It completely controlled me.To the point that I didn't even know what was truly important to me because, if I wanted something well, I just went out and got it. I didn't want to sit down and actually be accountable for my spending. We didn't have debt other than our house so I'd be like, 'what's on the schedule today? Well, Target of course, and let's throw in some Flutter with a side of Lulu.' And THERE was the problem. It was the heart, coupled with lack of intention and stewardship behind it. Sadly, I think a lot of people live this way and I'm here to tell you, the other way, the hard(er) in the beginning way is SO WORTH IT. I have been asking God to clean out my heart. Make room for Him. And this was one of those areas of my life I hadn't given to Him. Because that meant I had to GROW UP, sit down, be a woman and budget.
And I mean, who really wants any part of this?!
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. - James 1:14-15
Uhm. No thank you. I'll just be obedient, thank you very much.
So off we went!
And what does every person do that wants to know how to do something? Why you google it, of course. Well, that pretty much sent my brain into self destruct shut down mode. Are you kidding me? Something that should be so simple. WHY IS THIS SO HARD?!
Wellll okaaayyy, so, this budget thing is no joke. That's right. Lifeline time. Phone a friend.
Said friend, to whom we're forever grateful (Wendi and Jeff!) showed us their glorious, debt-free ways. We were mesmerized. It's called YNAB. And it's amazing. It's like an electronic envelope system. I love the envelope system. We even took Financial Peace a year ago but, it never clicked until this. I couldn't wrap my mind around someone carrying around hundreds, or thousands of dollars. For someone who loses a Chap Stick every 8 and a half seconds - the cash system was not for me. The app on your phone is always with you so you always know where you're at budget-wise and you won't lose your cash!
us Justin an hour and a half to enter all of our fixed expenses into the spreadsheet. And if you don't have an Oasis on deck, go ahead and whip one of those up - 'cause experience says - you may need it.
Goal: To figure out where your money goes, give each dollar a 'job' and get control of your finances
- Step 1: put your income into "To Be Budgeted"
- Step 2: Assign appropriate amount for giving
- Step 3: Divvy up remaining amongst "Immediate Obligations" (mortgage, electric, food)
- Step 3: Followed by savings
- Step 4: Followed by "True Expenses" (Gifts, health/beauty - and oh was this one tested this month, etc. Not supplements. Ya'll know, those are up in the immediate obligations category) These are monthly essentials but not necessarily obligations, if that makes sense. These are some of the areas where we cut the fat.
- Step 5: Followed by "Quality of Life Goals" (vacations, Christmas, home projects, etc.)
- Step 6: Followed by "Fun Money"
Don't sweat, if even this lost ya. YNAB has awesome tutorials and help. Hang with me, kid.
The key is that EVERY dollar has a job. So even if your pest control is $90 every 3 months, you still budget $30 for it each month so when the time comes, it's already spoken for.
Which brings me to an important point. You may get to where there's money in your bank account and you're like "oh! yay! Shopping!" No ma'am. That money already has a job. It's paying your car insurance 4 months from now. See? Discipline is definitely required but, He doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called so, ante up baby!
The app is SO easy to use and the most notable unintended consequence is that apparently, I'm lazy and I'd rather not spend money than have to spend it and put it into the app so, there's also that.
So a little recap:
Ate tuna and pickles for the last 3 nights of January because apparently, the gourmet rice cakes and super awesome already trimmed $10/lb chicken I bought the first week wasn't exactly 'in the budget'. Hey, I'm learning. And what better way to teach me than with protein!
Mama's got this thing on lock down. And it wasn't without being tested, that's for sure but, now I'm super good at saying, "uh, ma'am. That $42 face wash isn't in the budget." (got a fun story about that one for another day) And our kids - just got a whole new wardrobe of garage sale clothes and I'm straight fired up about it. It's funny how when you want something so badly (for us it's giving and debt-freedom, for some it may be a Disney vacation or to turn the heat up past 65) that you'll do whatever you've got to do to figure it out. There is so much freedom and grown-upness in that and I'm so grateful for my freedom.
Living a life of decrease is so indescribably freeing. It's making room for the things that matter! I'll be journaling my journey of decrease and simplifying, in case you want to join me. It's a lot more fun to do with others!