Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Freedom in a Budget

About four years ago my family was adjusting to living on one income and grew from two to three with the addition of our son. This adjustment went well on most fronts but one area in particular had us crippled, and that area was making purchasing decisions. Reducing our income stream by one and adding one to our family all at the same time made us raise our white flag in surrender and realize that we had to get our financial life on lock down, get a plan. For me personally I literally had buyers remorse for EVERYTHING, even when I went grocery shopping I would feel guilty! This was largely due to the fact that I myself was no longer bringing in an income and hadn’t learned to value my new role in our relationship and family. So we heard our church was offering a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class and we decided it was time to take the class. This was one of the best decisions we made for our family, for our relationship and for ME the family shopper!
Freedom Budget
Here are 11 Reasons Why Our Family Found Freedom in a BUDGET:
1. Agreement. My husband and I talk about finances just ONCE A MONTH! We don’t have disagreements or argue about money. After we have our initial budget meeting the first of the month we really never talk about it again, this is not an exaggeration! What freedom!
2. DEBT FREE!! We have been able to save and pay off our debt and not accumulate any new debt.
3. Focus. I can focus on taking care of my family instead of worrying about how much money I just spent on groceries.
4. Need. The budget has shown us the value of delayed gratification and has truly defined need vs. want.
5. Bargain. I’ve always been thrifty but now my inner thrifty girl is at a whole new level! Why yes, thank you, I love my dress too, I just purchased it for $6.99! Whoot!
6. Stress. I CAN’T stress this enough! WE NEVER NEVER worry about money. It is not a stressor in our life, this is not because we are loaded or have a ton of money, we are very blessed but we aren’t the swimming in the dough by any means. We do what we can afford. Sometimes we have to say no because we can’t afford things but that is ok. With a little bit of saving and planning we have been able to take vacations, have amazingly blessed Christmases, eat a largely organic diet and work on renovating our house (slowly but surely). All of these things are just JOY with the stress removed because we pay for them in cash and DON’T NEED TO THINK ABOUT IT AGAIN, like when the bill shows up in the mailbox.
7. Gratitude. We appreciate the things we have more. We realize the amount of time we actually had to save for something. This has given us such gratitude for the worldly possessions we have been so blessed to have.
8. Contribution. I no longer feel like I need to contribute monetarily to our family. Having this budget allows me to feel involved and having these discussions once a month has truly redefined the meaning of “our money”.
9. Giving. We have been able to give SO much more than we were able to give before we started following a budget. This is largely because we control our money and our money doesn’t control us. So our money goes where our hearts go. Having more gratitude for our financial blessings has also opened our hearts more to those who aren’t as fortunate.
10. Rule. We rule our money it doesn’t rule us. There are moments when I want to CURSE the budget and just buy what I want to buy but those moments are few and far between. The moment usually passes or what seems to happen more often than not is that item goes on major clearance or someone we know is selling that “thing” used or I happen to find that item on Craigslist for almost nothing. Honestly, this is one of our favorite parts of budgeting because it feels like God is giving us a little approving slap on the rear each time we score that “thing” at a price we can afford. Talk about a motivator!
11. Respect. Understanding the importance of each other’s role is extremely important for every family, when you discuss your finances side by side it brings to light the roles of each and in turn allows your spouse to understand all that you do for your family and vise versa. Being a one income family can add to that challenge increasing the divide between roles, you have one person working out of the home and one person working within the home. I guarantee when you start to discuss your purchasing plan together gone are the days of any “mine” and “yours” feelings that might exist. Not only does it get both of you involved it also brings forth all of the “duties” that each of you do that might go unnoticed otherwise like buying toilet paper or paying the trash bill.
These are just a few reasons why our family is in a better place because of budgeting. We don’t discuss our budget too often with others but there have been a few instances when someone notices we pay with cash or ask how we make it work on one income. Most of the time their first response is “What if you run out of cash” or “doesn’t that feel restricting”. The answer to both is YES, YES, YES we do run out of cash and when we do, we don’t spend any more. Now there are circumstances that may come up but for the standard monthly expenses once it’s gone, it’s gone. Yes, it can feel restricting at times but NEVER stressful or remorseful! From my seat I will always choose restricting over stress and remorse any day! When I do get to buy that colorful pillow or a cute top we have money set aside for it in the budget, I NEVER NEVER NEVER feel guilty, yes Mother’s out there I buy things for myself and I DO NOT feel guilty about it! This is solely because of the budget.
We have a few simple tricks on how we make this REALLY work long term for our family. It’s kind of like “dieting”, going on a diet will help you loose weight but ultimately you want to be free of that weight and burden for the rest of your life right?? So instead of a quick diet making a lifestyle choice is the best way to accomplish your goal FOREVER!! Structuring your budget so you can do it for the long haul will ensure that this won’t be a binge debt pay-off only to rack up more debt the next month, it is a long term lifestyle change and in the end you will have less weight to carry FOREVER!!!!
I’ll be back to share some of our tips and tricks on how we make it work soon!
That’s my Shiny ~


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