Can we do it? I'm not sure. But I sure am motivated to try my best.
My husband and I have been setting up a monthly budget for the past several months. Telling our money where to go instead of watching it disappear. We do a pretty good job sticking to it, until we go to Target or Amazon.com... Ya, we aren't perfect. But we are trying and adjusting each month. We try to pay for cash for everything (instead of using our debit card). We have different cash categories set up: groceries, out to eat, gifts, toiletries, random, and a few others. Well, this month we have swiped our card a few times and didn't look at our budget before doing it.
I was thinking about it and I knew we had 2 choices. We could either say oh well, we've already blown the budget and make more mistakes the next 2 weeks. Or I could look at my budget today, move things around and even us out.
Today I sat down and went over everything, we are almost half way through the month, but almost out of (budgeted) spending money! (This does not include our bills.) Afterwards, I text my husband and presented a challenge to him. We have $73 dollars of cash spending money to live on for the next 2 weeks to stay within our budget. Did he think we could do it? He accepted the challenge.
So for the next 2 weeks we will not be shopping online, going to Wal-Mart, Target, Starbucks, out to eat, or getting my haircut, etc. I'm interested if we can do it. I think we can. And it will be an accomplishment when we do!
(And I'm hoping no crazy budget busting surprises come our way!)
Why do we live on a budget?
We want to be good stewards of the money that God has given us. My husband works hard for our family and I have the amazing opportunity to stay at home with my kids. I want to keep it that way and to do that we have to make some sacrifices and say no to some things we want to say yes to since we live on one income. We also are working on paying off our student loans and my car loan faster!
By setting a budget we are so much more intentional with our spending. When we are not living on a budget I have no idea where our money goes and we spend everything we have plus some. I love setting up a budget. (It's probably the math nerd inside of me.) This doesn't mean we don't ever go shopping or out to eat. We have a budget set up for each of those things. It doesn't mean my kids never get new clothes, we occasionally put that into our budget when needed.
Sometimes we have to wait until the next month to get something we want or need, but that's ok. (This is one of our main struggles that we are working on. Saying, Not Yet.)
We have tons of room for improvement when it comes to budgeting. We are both spenders and stuff-likers and we don't like to tell each other no. But each month we do set up the budget, we are finding areas we can cut out to save money, pay off debt, and give more.
I recently figured out that it works better for me to have a 2 week budget. Before when I would do a monthly budget it would come to the last 10 days and we would just forget about it and spend, spend, spend. By setting up a 2 week budget we are able to see exactly where each of his paychecks is going and are able to stay focused 2 weeks at a time!
Does your family set up a family budget? Do you have any advice of what works for you?
If you don't budget, I highly recommend it.