Monday, March 4, 2013

Budget, Budget, Budget

I've never been what you might call a saver. I'd like to be, but for the past five years I've essentially lived paycheck to paycheck. There was such a small amount of money left after I paid the bills, that often I would just spend it loosey goosey and have no clue where it went. 

A few years back my mom and step-dad participated in Financial Peace University when it was first offered at the church where they were at the time. They really liked the principles and wanted their daughters to adopt them as well. Of course at that time we were all basically adults, so it was a little more difficult to make us a part of that change. I went to a day long workshop and learned some valuable lessons, many of which I applied somewhat haphazardly to my own finances. So I've been more successfully treading water, but the progress was slow.

My parents decided that the right decision for them was to give each daughter an allocated amount for her wedding/marriage. Basically you can use however you want (big wedding, small wedding, elope and house down payment) but when the money is out, its out.

If we want a little extra there are things that we can do that will prepare us for marriage, make our parents very happy, and get us some extra cash to spend. One of those things is taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University Course. Jason and I are about half-way through the nine week program and it has really helped us start talking about money and planning better as a couple for the things we have coming up. Right now I have three budgets.

Monthly Budget, Wedding Budget, Vacation Budget.

One of the things that came in our Class Kit was the FPU Envelope System. I adopted the wallet style envelopes while Jason took the loose envelopes.

envelopes with ledgers to keep track of your spending
It's been an adjustment using cash to pay for everything. But there is less anxiety at the end of the month when I'm literally looking at my money in my hand and knowing what it is for versus the old 'click and pray' when I checked my bank account everyday on the 28th, 29th, 30th...

It's a great course though. It's good for couples and singles alike and it's been wonderful for Jason and I as we mentally prepare ourselves for the day when it's "our" money instead of our money.

The course is bible-based, but it's common sense principles. Both churches I've attended that offered the course opened it to the public and lots of people from the community came through.

If it sounds like something you'd like to do or could benefit from, check out for more information or to see where you can find a class near you. This isn't a promo post or anything like that, just something I'm doing that is helping me so I thought I would share!

Do you keep a tight budget? Or do you kinda go where the wind takes you and "click and pray" at the end of the month?


M. at Making Sense of Cents said...

I always love budget and money posts! We have a budget, but we don't really track it too well. We always make sure that we have a large enough buffer in our checking account though.

holli said...

My church is also in middle of these classes. Ironically, we didnt have the 100 bucks to take the class on this round. I've heard great stuff about it!!

Carrie Land said...

I love trying to budget! We've met with a financial counselor at our credit union several times and are pretty good at keeping track of everything. We rarely use cash but that's what I always hear works the best. I keep everything money related in a shared spreadsheet that we frequently consult to make sure we're on track.

Babes Mami said...

Four people on one income leaves very little wiggle!