8.22.2009

Money Talk

Our church is doing a financial course on Wednesday nights and the man that led it this past week used this expression "Mile by mile is a trial, Inch by inch is a cinch." Meeting goals doesn't happen in one giant leap - it really is an inch by inch thing, sometimes two inches forward one inch backwards!

At the beginning of the year Paul and I sat down and made out a list of our financial goals for this year - if everything had gone according to plan we should have comfortably been able to meet our goals. But of course
stuff happened. Doesn't stuff always happen?

We decided to buy a house. And then put in a wood floor. And then our car needed something fixed on it. And our idea of comfortably meeting our goals slowly fizzled away.

We are determined to meet the goals we set out for this year, they're just now requiring a bit more effort and sacrifice. Our grocery budget is now set in stone - while before I would make excuses as to why it was ok to spend $25 - $50 more each month (stock piling on diapers, having a special meal, having lots of company over, etc.) I now have cash only. And when it runs out, it's out. Right now we have $24 to buy food with for the rest of the month - which with the food I already have in the pantry and freezer it will be enough to make adequate and nutritious meals with for the next 8 days, albeit rather plain meals.

There are other areas in which we are sacrificing to meet our goals; we have unfurnished rooms, unpainted walls and second hand clothing. Paul's nice phone broke and he is currently using a cheap $20 flip phone someone gave him.

The other day I went to the mall to pick up a bathing suit for myself - they are currently 50% - 75% off regular price - and I found the coolest bedding ever for the boys room. It was $50 for each set down from $200 per set- and they had two sets! It was exactly what I had been envisioning for their room - but not only do they not need it right now (Wes is still in a crib and Judah doesn't sleep with any blankets at all, let alone a bulky comforter with a matching pillow!) but we had just reviewed our goals and it was forefront in my mind that we were trying to save every dollar to make our goals work. This bedding was a want that wouldn't be used for years down the road, but it was still hard to pass it up!! It was what I'd dreamed of for their room and not buying it was a sacrifice to our greater dream - that of meeting our financial goals for '09.

Having concrete financial goals for both short term and long term is so important for good financial communication in a marriage. Paul and I both know what it is we want at the end of this year, at the end of 5 years and at the end of 10 years with our money and knowing where it is that we want our money to go and what we want it to do helps us base our (financial) actions off of that and prioritize our purchases.


4 comments:

TammyIsBlessed said...

Good for you! BTW - I still need you to email me your address again so I can mail you the cd you won...

Jessica said...

Scott and I do the cash thing, too, and while it is H-A-R-D to stick to sometimes, it really does help. Having the money right there - instead of ab abstract figure in the checkbook - helps so much when it comes to staying on track.

Kudos to you two for working at this.

Kristin said...

I've been doing the cash thing too and it really works. I'm spending less than I budget now rather than more. We took Financial Peace University at our church earlier this year and have really changed our habits as a result. I feel like this is the first time in out 7+ years of marriage that we are actually talking about money and planning for the future. It's great!

Jessica The Rock Chick said...

We use cash for everything, too and it REALLY works! It's so much easier to overspend when you're sliding a card through a machine. This is the first step that everyone looking to get a handle on their finances should do.

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