Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Getting the Budget Handled

In the letter written to his young friend Titus, the evangelist Paul stresses that the older women are supposed to "teach what is good" and to "train the younger women to love their husbands and children" and he mentioned they should be "self-controlled and pure, busy at home, and kind."

Managing things at home certainly requires self-control, kindness and a certain amount of busy-ness.    
Without a doubt, keeping the family budget within set limits means control!  

My dearly beloved and I had a little budget talk yesterday.   If you've ever attended Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace University" you know there are two kinds of money people in the world:  the stickler who likes every penny to be accounted for--all the decimals lined up neatly, bank statements balanced within a day or so of arriving in the mailbox, etc.  And the free-spirit who is happy to let the stickler take care of the family banking details and whose idea of balancing the checkbook means rounding off the pennies and dimes.

True confession:   I am a free-spirit, hubby is a stickler.   I'm not an airhead, I just don't get into the details down to the penny; I can add deposits and subtract withdrawals, but getting the checkbook and bank statement to actually balance?  Not in my life-time.

Anyway, after our little, um, discussion yesterday, I realize (again) that he could do with a little less stress in his life when it comes to our finances.  And (another confession) I'm part of the problem.

However, in my own defense, I want to change from being so flakey about this.   AND I want to make him happy.   So. I'm participating in a budget challenge at http://shopperstrategy.com/ .  (You can go here and read the details and join up--if you'd like.) 

However, this is MY blog....and being a Titus Two Woman who fits into the "older woman" category, I thought I should make this post sort of biblically educational, too.   So here goes.    (A drum roll would be appropriate right now)

This is MY PLAN for giving my Hubby a helping hand with our budget.

STEP ONE:   take charge of the areas for which I'm responsible.  Me?  I'm in charge of groceries and cooking and some other stuff like gift-giving, postage, books & subscriptions.   So, for January 2012, I'm going to ensure that we use up a lot of the things in our freezer and pantry.   I like to keep these two storage areas well stocked, but often there are packages that get shoved to the back or side for "later" use...and then that day never comes.   

So.  For January, I'm going to roust out these "old" packages and boxes and cans and use 'em up!   And not buy anything except fresh bananas & lettuce, milk and eggs for like two or three weeks.   We have a ton of canned fruits and veggies that "need" to be used up.  Really. 

STEP TWO of getting my budget controlled will be a better pre-shopping planning session.   Too often, I "end up" in the grocery store without a clear plan of what I'm buying.   Granted, I didn't used to shop like this--back in the day when going shopping meant a 50-mile trip to town and all-day errand-running.   Now that we live IN town, I find myself "dropping" into the store as I buzz past.   

So, I'm going to update the shopping list I keep on our computer.  AND make only "planned" trips.

STEP THREE of budget control in our home is going to be me tightening my own belt.   Going into a store without a set amount of money in mind has been a disaster on my monthly spending--and driving my dearly beloved crazy.    This is NOT a good thing.  

So, I'm going to impose a $-limit on myself--a budget-diet so-to-speak!  

STEP FOUR . . . okay, there is no step four.  As a financial free-spirit, I'm thrillingly proud that I managed to come up with steps one, two and three.  They are VERY do-able for this Free Spirit--let's not push our luck by trying to be over-achievers!  

I'll be posting weekly updates here . . . please post a COMMENT if you'd like to join in this effort.   Making a resolution is part of the effort.   Making yourself accountable means you're more likely to succeed in that effort!   

"Honor the LORD with your wealth, 
with the first-fruits of your crops;
then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine."
Proverbs 3: 9 & 10 NIV

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