April is known for being rainy. A little rain can be a really good thing. It is part of how nature renews itself each spring after a long winter slumber. Soon green shoots emerge from the ground and trees begin to bud. So if rain is a good thing, why do we call difficult times “Rainy Days”? Well, that’s because sometimes too much rain can ruin even the best-laid plans. Ask any farmer about that. The same can be said for your financial plans. Hence the term, “Rainy Day Fund”, which is just money put away for when life does the unexpected. But it can be difficult to build up a Rainy Day Fund when you can hardly fund your day to day expenses. Well, there is hope for you yet! Did you know April is National Financial Literacy Month? What better time for some self-renewal, financially-speaking. Let’s begin with a brief definition of budgeting. I do not mean to condescend. I’m sure most people know what it means. It’s just that before I began budgeting, I did not really think about the subject matter, at all.
According to Wikipedia, A budget is a financial plan for a defined period of time. It may also include planned sales volumes and revenues, resource quantities, costs and expenses, assets, liabilities and cash flows. Companies, governments, families and other organizations use it to express strategic plans of activities or events in measurable terms.A budget is the sum of money allocated for a particular purpose and the summary of intended expenditures along with proposals for how to meet them. It may include a budget surplus, providing money for use at a future time, or a deficit in which expenses exceed income.Sourcehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget
Just a few years ago, I did not have a strong financial path and I was not in control of my money. My husband and I were not super careless or anything. We just weren’t really great at communicating about our money or making plans for it. Sure, our expenses were being covered with a bit of wiggle room here and there. That wiggle room is where I got into trouble. I can look back now and see the insanity. I never stopped to track just how much money was available to me. I would often spend without thinking. I would grab a coffee and stop at my favorite store after work to take the edge off the day. Hey, I was getting insane deals because I had an in-store credit card, which always provided extra incentives for buying with the card. “Take an extra 30% off the clearance price? Um…yes, please.” Or I would go thrifting to find things I needed for my home or for my latest project. It was always a low-cost purchase, so no harm was done…so I thought.
One fateful day my hubby sat me down to talk about our finances. He found Dave Ramsey’s book called “The Total Money Makeover” and a 9-week course called “Financial Peace University” that we could do together that would teach us how to budget and get our debt under control, together. You can check out this book and course out for yourself at
daveramsey.com/ I am so in love with this book and course now, but I remember thinking, “Wait a minute, we have control of our money” and “What kind of scam did he get us pulled into?” I was worried, but I cautiously heard him out. He had all of our income, all living expenses, and debt all in one place. Let me tell you. I was so shocked when I saw it all on paper. If I could fit, there is no doubt I would have crawled under the coffee table and lay in a fetal position. People that know me well might tell you that I am a little bit of a control freak in some aspects of my life. So, I was taken by surprise with how reckless I was being in my spending. I always viewed us as “in a good place”. I weighed our success by that fact we had our home(debt), car(debt), great clothes in my closet(debt)and nice things in our house(definitely through debt). God bless my husband, Joe for holding it together and presenting all the debt I had racked up in such a loving(concerned, but loving) way. There was not a ton of judgment, but I could tell that he needed me to listen. Because he did this with such respect and care, I was with him for this ride. I was ready to make a change. And life did change from that day on.
The end of this story is a happy one. My husband and I got on the same page from that day forth and began a budget that same weekend. We spent a whole Saturday going through all of our financials with a fine tooth comb. We determined everything that we spent on every category. We called it our Budget Summit Meeting. We were so pumped to be heading in a new and promising direction, together!
Are you ready to start your budget today? All you need is a pen, paper, and some self-control. Dave Ramsey’s Website outlines how to begin budgeting in just 4 simple steps. Find it here:how-to-budget