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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow Day #3

When I am stuck in the house for days on end, literally without even stepping outside once (even to get the mail ... I had Dawson sled it down to me yesterday), I start to get antsy and I start "thinking".  I am also sure it's because of the time of year.  I always get a little bothered by the excess we experience with Christmas, but this year it has really weighed heavily on me. When you ask your kids what they want for Christmas and they really can't come up with anything, but you spend your limit on them anyway, having to work really hard to come up with something they might like, then you've hit that disturbing "excess" I'm talking about.  I've been reading other people's blogs, total strangers, women who take their home budget and simple living to a level I haven't experienced.  And, although it's challenging, it seems so peaceful!  It inspires me!

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!

1 comment:

  1. Nicole - - I certainly hope you are not referring to little me in this blog... ha ha.

    My husband and I have just started Dave Ramsey - - if you haven't heard of him - look him up. We had a situation where my husband (bless his sweet heart) had his license suspended for 6 months and we had started Dave Ramsey in early November. Three weeks later - - his employer told him that they were letting him go and if he had his license by Dec. 1 then he could come back. In the past I would have freaked completely out - instead we just had the money sitting in the saving account! It was awesome - - but seriously look up Dave Ramsey - and you can always email me!

    You're in my prayers!!!!
    - - a sister in Christ,


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