Monday, November 28, 2011

A look at the budget

**I have so much going on in my head right now, so I'm posting this. I've had it ready to go for awhile, and hopefully it will be useful to someone out there!**

Seriously, isn't this what our government should have done a long time ago?!

And isn't funny that I am writing about budgeting right before Christmas?! Funny, no?

So, I've been wanting to write a post on this subject for a while.  I'm not sure why it has not came to fruition until now. 

In our home, I'm the budget master.  When Tim and I got married, I was 22 and he was 37.  Obviously, he had lived a lot of life before we had married.  He had a career and had paid bills.  
I had too, but it was just limited to my time living alone while in college.  

Needless to say, being a newlywed and young and someone who had been raised by a perpetual penny-pincher, I was tight with the money.  Very tight.  We started off our marriage with credit card debt and I was determined to one day pay it off.  And let me tell you, in this day and age, it is hard.  Especially if you are trying to pay off debt and you don't have any savings hardly either.

Thankfully, with Tim's job in education, he gets a raise every year.  Plus, I am blessed with a husband who has grown in his career, so his salary has grown over the years as well.  This along with my budgeting has been the secret to our success in paying off our debt.

We have definitely had our struggles besides those early years when it felt like check to check living.  My health has been a struggle.  I've had around 7 surgeries and 2 babies in the past 6 years.  Those things definitely will rack up some medical bills.  We put our house on the market in July 2009 when Tim got a new job in a new town.  It finally sold in March 2011 and that was after paying a mortgage and a rent for 9 months.  Those were some hard times people.  StressFULL.  

But we made it through.  I will tell you what has worked for us:

  1. We set goals.
  2. We trusted in God.
  3. We made a BUDGET.  Seriously people, budgets work.
And that is mainly what I want to talk about-  If you don't have a family budget, you should. 
I have every penny we spend accounted for in our budget-  
  • We have savings in our budget so that money goes straight to savings. (And that is another subject- you need savings too, you never know when you will need it).  
  • I budget for our groceries and household items.  It took a couple of pay periods of figuring out how much we spend on things to come up with a good figure. 
  • Gas for our vehicles, newspapers, and even stamps are in our budget along with our monthly bills! I estimate a little high on bills that fluctuate, such as electricity, to make sure there is plenty of money to spare.
  • If a bill is less than normal or we have extra money left over, it goes straight into our savings.
Now, I'm not saying that we don't spend money or go out to eat or things like that- we do! I do set some aside for things that would fall into an "entertainment" category.

At present, we have paid off credit car debt and one vehicle.  Next on the list is my student loan debt.  We don't have a mortgage currently because we are still deciding where we want to live in town and when we want to buy.

We also have some big things that we are currently saving for.  I am so thrilled that we are finally to this point I have been working so hard on for the last 8 years.  

I want to be on a solid financial foundation always.  I want to teach my children about money and budgeting.  We live in such crazy economical times and we can't depend on family or government to "bail" us out.  I want to have savings for the future.  I honestly believe that we cannot depend on things like Social Security for our futures.  We have to take control and look ahead for what we will need.

The reason I wanted to write about this is because when I read posts about how others had made budgets and had success, it truly inspired me to be vigilant about ours.  If there is even one family that this post helps then it would make me so happy.  If you have any questions on what we do or how to make a budget, please email me! My contact info is in my "About Me" section at the top.

I also did a little research and found this article that breaks down in more depth about how to create your own budget.

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