Thursday, January 3, 2013

$$$$ and the New Year: part 1

Let's talk about the dreaded BUDGET!!!!  Each new year I am determined, and say to my husband, "This will be the year we get out of debt and save money!" And every year, it seems like we end the year in same financial situation in which we began.  Well, no more!!!!  I'm determined and ready to take charge of our finances, and I'm sure some of you have the same determination and goal as me, so let's have a conversation about it!  For the record I do not use credit cards for spending sprees, but just like some of you, our cards are used for car repairs, or this year it was used for our new bundle of joy that came in June.  Maybe it's medical bills, family emergencies, or shopping, but debt is debt no matter how you look at it.

This will be a series of posts through this month.  Both Jennifer and I will be posting ideas about what works for us.

There are so many options when it comes to how you manage your money.  Some do cash, some use only their debit cards, some freakishly organized people use just credit cards and are disciplined enough to pay them off at the end of every month to rack up airline miles, or other rewards.  Whichever plan you use, if it works for you, then USE IT!!!  I'm not here to tell you my plan is superior to your way, but if you find yourself reflecting on the past year and realize that you could do better, or you want to try a different way to organize your finances, then keep reading....

First of all, I'm sure you've heard of Dave Ramsey and we use a modified version of his plan.  When I say modified, I just mean we do what works for us.  And just like Dave Ramsey we are going to take this in baby steps.  My baby steps are going to be very similar to his, although I'm not qualified, nor will I attempt to go into the investing and retirement side of that.  (Maybe we will have Jennifer's husband do a guest post since he is a financial advisor.)  Hehehehehehehe!!!!  Do you like how I rope unsuspecting people into our blog?


I'm a weirdo.  I like doing our budget.  I like seeing where our money is going and I like feeling in control of where our money is going.  Look at it in a positive light.  Instead of feeling like your budget is a prison, not allowing you to buy and spend money as you please, look at your budget as a source of control that allows you to tell your money where to go.  For example, if you have $75 in your clothing budget for the month, and you decide you want to buy a new scarf, if there is money in the budget for it, then you don't have to feel guilty and wonder if you should have made that purchase.  Having a budget, for me anyway, has eliminated a lot of guilt in my purchases.  If the money is there, I know I can use it, if it's not, then I know there will be more next month.

I found some great budgeting worksheets that I printed for our budget, and a great place to start is Dave Ramsey starting place  because there he gives you ideas for how much you should spend in certain areas based on your take home income.

The main thing is, even if you have to use a good old fashioned pencil and blank sheet of paper, WRITE IT DOWN.  You may surprise yourself and realize you are doing great, or it may be a wakeup call.  Either way, the road to organizing and being in charge of your finances begins with having a budget.

In a few days, I will discuss Baby Step 2.  Stay tuned.......

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