Hello everyone, I hope you are getting the beautiful weather we are in Oregon right now! I want to discuss a very touchy topic for me and probably many others as well. We have a budget made out but sticking within that budget is another story for multiple reasons. First big reason is because my income lowered by almost $700/month and our medical insurance premiums started coming out of our pocket rather than a paycheck so we make out 2 checks for that each month $461 and $230. That was the biggest problem… Next is that I spend money on unnecessary items (the biggest are my cigarettes and diet coke, both terribly bad for me), I used to spend a ton of money on clothes and crafts and I have really almost stopped doing that except when necessary. When I first got sick I became really depressed and tried to fill that void of feeling like I didn’t add up anymore with shopping and spending sprees.
Getting our budget under control has not exactly been easy on us and I will admit that I carry most of the bad spending habits. I’ve been working really hard to break this dangerous cycle and have been getting a lot better about it. I am working on quitting smoking (I have made a goal to reduce smoking 3 cigarettes/day every four days if that makes sense: and a final end date of no later than June 1st.) I have also reduced my spending habits tremendously. My constant addiction of reading blog posts on budgets, finances, how to snowball debt, I’ve even taken Dave Ramsey’s class. My husband and I didn’t really see eye to eye on our debt and finances for a while but handing it over to him was a good start.
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I'm sure he will be on board with this as he is the one telling me I'm doing better but still over spending our budget (and he is right).
In marriage, financial burdens are the biggest cause for disagreements, fights over money and even divorces in the United States. We have enought burdens with my health and the bills that follow, we don't need to have financial burdens adding to the pressure that is already there.
During our "No Spend Month" we will track things out separately for mine and his and anytime we spend money on anything other than bills, gas, groceries and prescriptions; we are to track, item, price, & category so that we can see where to make changes in our budget and where we can make cut backs to save money.
My problem is that I can get really organized and motivated to do these things and then I fizzle out and don't always follow through with them. I do have some organization going on with meal planning and medical bills; I also have a couple of projects that I need to get done. I am making Dianne 2 aprons; I'm making cutains for under the sinks in Toni's bathroom and I'm making a small throw quilt for a friends birthday. I have plently of things to keep me busy that I already have fabric for so I won't be spending more money to do any of these projects.
Each week I have been meal planning and either Chris or I will go to the store and get only what's on the list (unless we see something we need that I forgot to add). The majority of the nights I stick to my meal plans and make enough for him to take for lunch the next day, that is much cheaper than eating out as often as we were. The nights I don't cook are on the nights I am not feeling well and to be honest some weeks that 2-3 days and other weeks it's 5-7 days that I am completely down for the entire time.
The house is by far not cleaned out yet but I've made steady forward progress on it and that what Chris asks for. I still have a lot to go through and get rid of, I'm hoping I can sell some of it to earn extra cash.
Anyways, sorry I get easily side tracked. I really think this "No Spend Month" will be a kick off to a great beginning for Chris and I to work towards our financial goals. It could be really fun to see if we can beat each other by having spent the lowest amount each month, and beat our own lowest scores. We could even have fun little prizes at the end of each month to make you both realize how great you're doing. (they don't have to be anything expensive or even something that you have to you pay for, things like: 1 free car wash & detail from your spouse, 1 free back massage from your spouse, if he wins cook him his favorite dinner and wear something a little risky to bed…you get the drift).
In the beginning, when you're not seeing the impact your hard work is going towards yet; I think coming up with your own little game that works for you and going for it is a sound idea. Not only does it give you something to work towards and look forward to doing something that's not easy or fun but it really motivates you. As you begin to track your expenses and see just how much money you're throwing away each month, it will become easier for you to cut back those expenses that you don't need and motivate you to stick to a budget to make it easier to tell your money where to go. If you're anything like me the past few years I've let my money tell my money where to go with the idea of getting things, "I thought I needed or just had to have" it is time that I sit down and know where every penny of our money is going and when, so that I can be the boss of my money rather than the other way around.
I think that kicking off with a "No Spending Month" will help us to clearly see where the bulk of our money is going, where we can make cut backs so that we can try to stay within budget, and it will motivate us to do better at it each moth. I will keep you posted as to how well it works for us. I will also write posts for Meal Planning On a Budget, Beginning Your Budget, and Snowballing Debt When You Live Paycheck to Paycheck.
I appreciate y'all stopping by to visit my blog, I am really wanting to learn to grow my blog and get sponsers and advertisers. If I was to start getting paid for my blogging even if was just a little bit, I would start working on my blog for a couple hours every day.
So now that you know all my future plans, I hope you can help hold me accountable to quit smoking and motivate me to do well with our budget. Maybe this will kick start you as well if you are getting lazy in your budget or not working with a budget at all yet. I've been thinking of teaching some online classes for budgeting, meal planning on a budget, and how to snowball your debt.
Thank you for joining in with me and dropping by today. I appreciate all of your love and support!