It was our very first year of marriage. At the wise ages of 20 and 21, we began to navigate the world of doing whatever it was that married people did with their money. Seriously, I had no idea. I knew how to shop for clothes on the clearance racks, buy off-brand peanut butter, and write a check when the phone bill came. Neither of us were big spenders, and because of that, in my mind, we would be just fine when it came to finances. We would simply pay our bills, buy on sale, avoid going out to eat much, and live happily ever after.
Matt, on the other hand, has always enjoyed crunching numbers. He’s also always been good at seeing the big picture when it comes to money. I will always be grateful for the day a few weeks after our wedding that he called me into the living room so he could show me the budget he was putting together for us. We knew how much (how little rather) was coming in each month, so we needed to figure out how to make it stretch.
Now if it was up to me, we would have had about six line items in that budget: Rent, Insurance, Gas, Food, Phone, Utilities
Oh it’s a good thing I married Matt. Hello, Laura? Ever heard of medical bills? Car tags? Gift giving? Trash service? A savings account, perhaps? Christmas gifts certainly weren’t on my radar. It was only September, after all. We only paid car tags once per year, so why add that to the budget? Our cars were running fine at that very moment, so why think about car repair money? And apparently, it never occurred to me that we would need money to purchase those great clothing bargains I’d find on the clearance racks. Big budget picture? I hadn’t a clue.
Matt, on the other hand, had a line item for everything and then some. A whole new world opened up to me on that 1994, first year of marriage, budget spread sheet of ours. Since we knew we needed to pay for car tags in November, we came up with a conservative guestimated total amount needed, divided by 12, then set that money aside each month so it would be available in November. In order to have money for Christmas gifts, we set aside a certain amount aside each month to be used for gifts. Just in case one of our cars was to break down, we set aside money each month in our budget for repairs. And on it went.
I thought Matt was a genius. He just thought it all made sense. And he thought I was cute for thinking he was a genius. Ah, newlyweds…
More than anything – even though we had very little income at the time – I appreciate that our budget gave me financial peace and security. The income was small, but we never had to worry about where the money would come from for expenses because we had broken everything down and put a name on it. We never spent money “just because we had it.” Nope, that money was allotted for something else – not for random spending.
This practice has proved itself to be very effective during our 19+ years of marriage. Having a line-item for each spending category really takes the pressure off knowing how the bills are going to be paid each month. It has meant that we’ve said no to many expenditures through the years in order to be disciplined and stick with the budget. It has showed us that God always takes care of us, no matter what the income level.
So let’s talk about budgets, financial security, and making it all happen easily. Seriously, budgeting can be fun – even if you aren’t a newlywed. :)
I’ve recently been introduced to BudgetFocus, an online budgeting site that takes all the difficulty away from budgeting. See there, over on my sidebar, how they are now my top sponsor? We’ll be working together, helping you get your budget on track, because that’s a major part of heavenly homemaking. I really love how BudgetFocus breaks everything down, creates line-items for everything, takes all the pressure off, and provides a simple way for you to manage your family’s household expenses.
Truly, no matter how much or how little you have, you can prosper. Prospering doesn’t mean you’re rich and have everything you want (from a worldly perspective). Prospering means you can breathe easy, trust God to take care of you, and let your budget help take away financial stress. BudgetFocus is all set up to help you with this. I very much encourage you to give it a try.
I’ll be sharing more about BudgetFocus soon as we continue to work together to help you achieve financial peace. For today, I highly encourage you (whether you already have a budget set up or not) to head over to BudgetFocus and get all set up with their 14 day free trial. Signing up just takes a few seconds. They don’t ask you to give them a credit card or any other personal information. Simply let BudgetFocus help you walk through the basic steps to put together a workable budget.
Get started with your free trial. Right away, you’ll be given a free eBook on How to Make a Spending Plan and Stick to it. Free trial, free eBook – you can’t go wrong!
Happy budgeting! (Seriously, it can be happy. You’re in charge of your money – it’s not in charge of you.)