Monday, January 27, 2014

Goals & Budgeting

I love the start of the new year.  Of course it's important to continually be working towards goals and self-improvement all year long.  But there is something fresh and exciting about the start of a new year. And wow....I can't believe it's already February! Since we've been married, each year we've been working towards and accomplished goals like finishing school, having kids, starting new jobs, paying off student loans, purchasing a vehicle, buying a practice, starting and continuing retirement savings, getting kids potty trained (this may rank as most stressful!), reading more books, regular temple trips, visiting Lee's mission, etc.  Looking back we've been blessed to do so much, and looking forward into the future we have even more important goals ahead.  (Like kids going on missions and marrying in the temple!) Each year brings new goals to set and new things to accomplish.  I don't think life will ever slow down! And of course this year is no different.

I don't post a whole lot about budgeting and getting out of debt, but I might start doing it a little more. My sister Lena sent me someone's blog post about their journey to becoming debt free. It was so fun to read and so inspiring!  I listen to Dave Ramsey quite bit too.  I love his show.  I listen to his radio show archives from his website.  

We have some goals this year that involve money.  One of them is attacking our house with any extra income.  I've been messing with the budget, trying to cut it down to free up even more money.  Which, when looking at our budget there wasn't a lot to cut down in the first place.  Lena and I are still in full-force working on our food storage. For the most part, my grocery budget each month will be $400 with $100 dedicated to food storage. (This is just for food....shampoo and toilet paper are in a different category.) I may switch that up here and there, but basically that is what I want to stick to.  We also canceled Netflix.  Granted we're only saving $7.99 a month, but it's also for the kids to help them feel like they're contributing to paying off the house.  Not that they're giving us money to pay off the house, they're not; but that there is some sort of sacrifice involved on their part. (They liked Netflix.) We've also cut household expenses down a little by buying exactly what we need, and will try to spend less money on kids' clothes this year.  Of course some things we'll still be doing.  Clark will still be taking piano, and Cal will start this summer. We don't want to miss out on our family reunions in Utah this summer (gratefully both are back to back!), or totally scrap our play/fun/personal money.  When the budget is tight, we need a little wiggle room and fun money so we'll be doing $30 each for play money per month.

If you didn't know I love budgeting.  Seriously it is one of my hobbies now.  I love figuring it out the envelope system each month, keeping the budget updated, counting out our cash constantly to track our progress through the month, spending the money...I love all of it! (Even though I like budgeting and keeping track of it all, I am definitely the spender in the family and Lee is the saver.) Budgeting is a way to continually have specific weekly and monthly goals for my money.  And as Dave says your budget tells your money where to go and not the other way around.  It's a way for us to be in control of our money and be intentional about it. It helps me to be a better steward over it as well because I know what's going on.  Of course I fail a lot, but I keep trying.  Like December for example, I went over budget quite a bit...not $3 either.  More like $125.  Or this last summer when we went $500 over budget on our cross-country vacation.  Thankfully we were able to cover the expenses and it all worked out. (Well, we had to...we don't have any credit cards or overdraft protection!) But I do mess up. 

My cousin Heidi will be tackling her debt this year and I am sooo excited for them!  And my friend recently told me that she and her husband paid off their two cars!  How awesome! Here's to an exciting new year and to all those fun goals to work on and accomplish! 

I saw this video clip last recently.  If budgeting doesn't get you excited (I think I might be one of those few weird ones with budgeting) then this video might.  When someone is debt free and has money to give and save, the possibilities are endless!  I am super excited about Dave and Rachel's upcoming book too: Smart Money, Smart Kids


brooks said...

I love budgeting and money-matters as well. And it's the WORST feeling ever when you fail. Am I right?!?! December is a HARD month to stay in budget w/ holidays and last minute needs.
I'm sure you're already doing this, but a few years back (maybe 5?) We (meaning Brooks), started praying for ways to pay off our debt faster....our home. We obviously were making a small income but we still set aside extra each month to pay towards the house. It just slowly chipped away though. A good portion of our tax return would go to it as well and we would save a little for something fun. Anyway, Brooks kept praying and ended up landing a "side job" w/ doing physicals for those qualifying for State Disability. It started small and took some time. We opened up a separate account just for THAT money because we knew it was an answer to prayer to pay off our debt (a noble request). Well, now in SC he has 2 people working UNDER him and making him money and he still does them 5 different locations. What's amazing is that by next year we should be on track to pay off our whole house back in Winston SAlem that we are renting out now. Then we're going to sell it and use THAT money to pay off the majority of the medical school loans.
I tell you this just because it was amazing how opportunities would fall in our lap when we prayed and showed Heavenly Father that we were SERIOUS about paying off our debt and that when we got extra money we really WOULD use it TOWARDS our debt.
Like I said though, I totally applaud you. I've found it HARDER to stay in my budget as the kids get older because I WANT them to have more, or we are busier and I WANT the things that make it easier on me. I have always admired your stick-to-it-ness with money matters.

Jenny Whiting said...

I am so impressed with your attitude about budgeting. I think it's great that you are so in control of your money. I'd love to be like you one day! :) I do actually have a lot of it in my head and I know what we can and can't afford, so I do budget mentally, but I definitely need to be more disciplined about writing it down and making concrete goals. Two days ago we paid off another big student loan and that was exciting! We are doing the Dave Ramsey method of paying off the loan with the largest interest rate first (just student loans, we don't have any other ones, except the house). So now all our student loans are at under 6% interest rate (many around 2-4%) so that feels good. We've thought about the envelope system, but I have a hard time not using our credit card (which we pay off every month, of course) because I LOVE the reward points (I just got $600 in gift cards to use for kid and spouse dates this year). But maybe I should do it at least for groceries. Thanks Ruth for your example!
I also loved reading your friend's comment. Dan has also started looking for some side-job opportunities and it was inspiring to read what she said.