Happy 2019 everyone! It’s thatgirljen, aka the wife, once again with another guest post.
It’s a new year, and I don’t really do that whole resolutions thing. I think it’s kinda silly to make a proclamation about how “I’m going to do this one thing this year.”
What I DO want to talk about is setting goals. Now Josh, is very goal driven. He’s also super great at tracking said goals, and more importantly, following through. He even does a fairly decent job at accomplishing them. Nothing is half-assed with him.
Me, I’m not like Josh, I suppose it’s true that opposites attract? LOL
My 2019 goal revolves around our family budget. Yes, I just used the B-word.
I’m a convert! I used to dread the word budget, feared actually looking at the bills. Trying to figure out what money was going to pay which bill. It was an exhausting juggling act, and yes sometimes stressful. Not knowing where EVERY SINGLE PENNY WENT, for most of our adult lives, there was no real accountability for any spending. #fatoffanelephant
Two years ago back in January 2017, Josh and I read what we lovingly refer to as “THE GOOD BOOK” otherwise known as Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. Yes, it was Josh’s idea, and honestly, I’m thankful now. I feel like after we both read the TMM, things began to shift.
After reading the TMM, we collectively created our monthly spending and accountability spreadsheet. Every Sunday morning we sat down and discussed our money. The first quarter we just added all our spending to the spreadsheet. It was data collection, to track exactly where our money was going, and how it was being spent. This gave us a better idea of HOW to create our family budget.
Our budget included the usual life necessities like rent, utilities, food, cars, gas, insurance, which also included things that needed to be paid off, and also a little fun money, medical bills, and some extras along the way. It was a lot of trial and error in the beginning, but we now had a more clear idea of where the money was going, and where we could improve.
Second quarter, we allocated money to actual individual items, and attempted to be diligent with the receipts. EVERYTHING was tracked. If we wanted cash out to have “just in case of an emergency” it was tracked accordingly. That was such an argument! Do we just track the $20 I took out? Me- I said yes… Josh said No because it wasn’t spent yet. Those were some conversations that we never really agreed to who was correct. #agreetodisagree
By mid year 2017, we had an actual overview of our income and how we were spending. We tied up loose ends and all credit cards were paid in full, we even managed to have a little bit of cash in savings.
2018 marked year two. Josh had decided to quit his job (November 2017) and work on a project with a colleague. This was an unfunded project (read that as NO paycheck); Their objective was to either obtain funding for their project, or acquiring actual paying customers. Neither happened… Financially, we weren’t in a safe place and we realized that it was impossible to continue on this trajectory.
What helped us to keep our sanity throughout 2018 was… the BUDGET! Yes, I made sure that the kiddo never missed out on what her normal day to day was. Rent and utilities were paid and food was still on the table. Sure, a lot of extras were either scaled back, or cut out completely. It was a sacrifice, but we survived and we learned.
Nothing ever goes exactly as planned. There were a few monkey wrenches in our fairly well oiled budget machine during 2018. In particular, there were the kiddo’s hospital bills, Josh’s project that never came to fruition, and the pug’s vet bill. All of which were financial hardships… and really stressful times, and emotionally overwhelming.
But, the power of the budget really helped us.
Forget about the summer of George, 2019 is the year of the Sherman. I’ve already begun working on our budget for the year. I have set some new financial goals we’re hoping to achieve. I think our underlying mantra has become: planning and teamwork.
If you haven’t read TMM, I suggest you do. If you have an “other half”, roommate, whatever… If you share a household with them, it’s a great idea to all be on the same page. Heck even the kiddo knows all about the budget, thanks to her allowance and the fact that we’re pretty transparent about bills, money and livelihood.
Of course, I still run a budget spreadsheet and track all our spending. It’s never 100% perfect or exact. Some months we may even go over in one area of spending. It’s good to see what our spending trends are. This allows for me to plan better for the next few months and even the years to come. The budget is an ever changing, and evolving entity in our lives.
Having a budget has really become a positive part of how we live. We have a better understanding of what is important, and a better relationship with our money. I think it’s created more of a respect for what choose to do with said income. And yes, sometimes I even get a weird look from people when I reply, “It’s not in my budget this month to do that.” But it’s our money, so we choose how to spend it, and do so accordingly.
Sure, I’ll be a bit crafty and work a little magic, but the budget has become something I take pride in. I treat it like a game, better than the game of life. My 2019 goal is to be even more focused financially. Hopefully in 2020 I’ll be able to share what our successes were, and what we learned along the way.
Wish us luck!
Want to read more about me, our budget lifestyle and how we got here? Check out my blog post here!