Seven years ago (yes 7!!!), when I quit work, we had an extremely tight budget! It was so tight that frugal living was an absolute necessity! And you know what, I enjoyed it! I was even pretty darn good at it .. an inspiration to others! And we NEVER went without, even one day! During that time God blessed out efforts and we were able to pay off an incredible amount of debt. I remember thinking at that time that even if we had more money that I would never let up on my strict budgeting. But, guess what, I did .. we did! We built our house that put us over, we became complacent in our spending, lazy in sticking to our budget .. and we are regretting that now, especially with the economy the way it is! Gas prices and food prices have eaten us alive. Couple that with some medical bills and continued home improvements and it doesn't add up to a very good situation.
Now, don't get me wrong .. Rick and I are blessed beyond measure with his job and ability to make extra money, and paying our monthly expenses is not an issue. But getting that debt paid, that debt that's creeped up again, is an issue if we continue to live in excess.
If you know me at all, you know that I'm a planner, I'm stubborn and I love a good challenge! I don't like to be told what to do, especially told I can't do something. So, I've got an itching to do something amazing with our budget!
Every two weeks I receive cash to divide up into several categories: groceries and household, clothing, activities, lunches (school, primarily), allowances, hobby. I try hard to stick to those budgets. However, if I go over in one I am really "good" at just borrowing from another, etc. That's not really sticking to a budget! And it doesn't ever give me an opportunity to save my surplus from each two week period. For instance, we don't need that full clothes budget every two weeks. But, I always manage to have it spent, even if it's not on clothes. And then when summer hits and we need new wardrobes for everybody, I don't have any money saved. But, if I would just take that budget during downtimes and save it, we'd have plenty.
And, with our increase in income over the years, I have allowed our grocery and household budget to double. Yes, grocery prices have increased pretty dramatically, but we don't really need that much in our grocery budget if I just planned like I used to. I still plan meals every two weeks, but I've gotten lazy about ad-matching, using coupons, planning meals around ad specials, etc.
I have not been a good steward of the money that God has entrusted me with. And I am ashamed of that. By being more frugal, I could save money, and family vacations, etc., would be easily paid for, and those debts would get paid off quickly.
Now, I am not saying I am dreading this. In fact, I have a new mission, a new goal ... and I'm PUMPED UP! I actually plan to share my successes, and failures, here on my blog. I just haven't formulated my plan yet. I'd like for it to have some consistency, some purpose. So bear with me as I start this journey.
And I would appreciate your prayers. Although I love a good bargain, I also love to shop! So, I want to get some healthy control over this, and I'll need help to make that happen. And, who knows, I might even inspire you!