This last quarter of 2019 was a doozy for our household. We’ve had two major appliances breakdown (one decided to go out twice) and our septic system is on the outs. You are probably wondering, “Why is this an issue when things break?” Well, we built our house four years ago and no way were we expecting things to start to go downhill in a major way. Let alone, all at the same time. This has had my husband and I sitting down and figuring out what the heck we were going to do. Because let’s be serious, no matter what others think, we aren’t rolling in dough. My husband is active duty military and I’m a recent housewife who is trying to figure out this entrepreneural world. With 2020 and a new decade here, it’s the best time to work on our budgets.
Been through some bad shit, I should be a sad bitch
Who woulda thought it’d turn me to a savage?
I’ve always had a love for numbers. I’m pretty sure it’s a love that was passed down from my grandmother to my father and then to me. When I was 14, a family member started a business and I took on the role of bookkeeper. I also started to help manage my family’s household budget. I was able to get an understanding of what it took to run a home. I learned about mortgages, credit cards, and groceries. It may be different now but in the early 2000’s they were not teaching these things in high school. I did discover accounting while in high school and enjoyed it so much I made it to a leadership conference for the state. I honestly couldn’t tell you why I didn’t pursue that path. But I did start working with finances and eventually financial institutions a week after high school. Most of the time I was pursuing a college degree, it was connected to Finance, Financial Planning, Business or Human Services. (I may talk about that path one day but I am honestly still trying to figure it out myself). But when my job shifted to project management, I put finance on the backburner when it came to my dreams.
I want it, I got it, I want it, I got it
I want it, I got it, I want it, I got it
Personally, when we got married, we made the decision that I would handle the finances. Combining our money was easy enough and paying the bills was the same. We didn’t have any major issues. When we planned on building our house, we knew we wanted to pay off all of our debt. It would make it easier to get a loan and a good interest rate. So that was our goal. We paid off all my student loans, two car notes, and a couple of credit cards we had. All in all, the total was over $50,000. We then saved a bit to have a down payment (even though one wasn’t needed) and pay points (and I still don’t know if this was the best idea). Then when we decided that I would quit my job and start a business three years later, we did the same thing. We paid off all credit card debt we had. And while I know that debt (especially credit card debt) isn’t that great, it didn’t stop us from accumulating it each time. We were impatient with things we wanted and used credit cards as a cushion. Over and over again.
I don’t mean to brag, but I be like, “Put it in the bag,” yeah
When you see them racks, they stacked up like my ass, yeah
Fast forward to my Sabbatical in 2019, I was burnt out on all things including managing our household. When I left to travel, I turned over everything to my husband. I was being emotionally irresponsible but I was at a breaking point. But the lesson I learned through that time was how not to spend money on things I didn’t need. And even my idea of what I needed, changed. It took months but I feel like I no longer cared about material things. When I came back home, I didn’t take over the finances. I was still very overwhelmed with life and trying to figure out my next steps. I needed to know what my new normal would look like after being gone for five months. That brings me to the present. We decided instead of one of us having a hands-off approach to our finances we really need to do it together. And this is where our goals and new routines come in.
Whoever said money can’t solve your problems
Must not have had enough money to solve ’em
They say, “Which one?” I say, “Nah, I want all of ’em”
Creating a Budget
I have a spreadsheet that I created from a Facebook post that inspired me back in 2016. I decided to bring that back and update it. I added new categories based on our current bills and expenses. And thanks to a YouTube channel (review coming soon), I also added a yearly budget in addition to the monthly budget I normally do. Having this spreadsheet alleviates me having to remember things from month to month. Most of the due dates and amounts of our bills don’t change. The hardest part each month for us was remembering all of those details including bills that didn’t happen monthly but we still needed to plan for. Not to mention some type of savings to handle incidentals, goals, and wants. Having a budget allows us to plan for our future and then follow that plan.
Buy myself all of my favorite things
Initial Conversation About Goals
While I created our spreadsheet, I needed to make sure Chris was apart of creating it. Which was helpful because I forgot things, he remembered. I remembered things, that he forgot. We also talked about what our goals were and realized they were just a tad bit different (after almost ten years together, that happens). He wanted to immediately pay off debt and I wanted to build a savings cushion first. I wanted to start planning out ways to generate income without us having to go to a job every day. He didn’t want to have to wait to buy the things he wanted. We need to get on the same page and create our short and long term goals. We need to break them down into monthly, yearly and lifetime goals. Then decide what actions we need to take to make those happen.
Yeah, my receipts, be lookin’ like phone numbers
Regular Conversations About the Budget
I’ve always heard that finances are one of the biggest problems when it comes to marriage. We didn’t have that problem because we didn’t talk about it. When we both were working this was easy because we didn’t really have to say no to anything. If we didn’t have the cash, we put it on a card and worried about paying it off later. When we moved to one income and had to hear no more often, it really didn’t bother us too much. But when things started to happen with appliances in the house, we didn’t have a way to say no without it really impacting our lives. I like washing clothes daily. I cooked way too much not to have a working refrigerator and I liked flushing the toilet after use. All first world problems that I have become used to. With broken appliances, comes repair or possible replacement cost. And with costs moving into the thousands, we need to figure out how to come up with this money and quick. Which means we need to start talking about money. What expenses did we have that we can get rid of? What ways can we make more money without compromising our time and other goals we set for ourselves?
You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it
I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it
Turning Plans Into Actions
After we create our budget and then talk about it on the regular, we need to actually make sure we are hitting our goals. There are two ways to eliminate debt and save money. One way is to decrease spending and the other is to increase income. There are many financial gurus out there who advocate for one way or the other. I plan on doing a bunch of research to find what are some of the best ways for us to do one or the other or both. We also will start to include our finances in our prayers. I know for me, I sometimes don’t want to bother God with those types of things. Outside of praying to hit the lottery, I don’t talk to God about helping me come up with the money for an unexpected expense. And that has to change. I’ve seen God do some amazing things and my faith in Him needs to extend into all areas of my life including our finances.
I’d rather spoil all my friends with my riches
Think retail therapy my new addiction
Let’s Do This
Like previous months, keep an eye out on my stories on Instagram and Facebook to see how we plan on doing all of this. I’ll share books, podcasts, and YouTube channels that I am diving into. I’ll even share my spreadsheet. Two major holidays just passed in December for us. My birthday and Christmas. Christmas is a major spending holiday and for the past two years, we have been able to avoid making purchases the focus. Truthfully, my greatest gift would be for us to find financial freedom. So I can do without all of the crazy spending that we normally do. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. Plus, we can always plan for next year.
Enjoyed the quotes throughout this post? Check out 7 Rings by Ariana Grande. Let’s continue the conversation in the comments below!
Music video by Ariana Grande performing 7 rings. © 2019 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.