Every week, DH and I gather around the computer and put our finances together into a simple budget made up on an Excel spreadsheet. With all the amazing budgeting tools out there, we still find a simple spreadsheet the easiest way to look after our finances.
Years ago, we carried significant debt and felt bogged down by all the money we owed. When we felt bad about our finances or had a significant bill to pay (usually a car breakdown), a simple dinner out would cure any thought of financial woes….I know totally counterproductive.
At the point of being fed up with our money woes, this book fell across my path.
I was at the point where I was having sleepless nights about money and felt we were one crisis away from real financial trouble. Discussions of money led to arguments. To quote Dave Ramsey, we were “sick and tired of being sick and tired about money.”
After I read the book, I passed it to my husband, and after a period of more head in the sand behavior (both of us), we finally got on the same page. We decided to become “gazelle-focused” about our money.
Our first perusal of our money situation was enlightening, getting into debt does not have to be about buying extravagant things which we never did. Our cars were paid for, and we owned our own home. Most of our furniture was used or hand me downs. No, what we discovered is that it is very simple to nickel and dime yourself into considerable debt. You just need time, little knowledge as to where all those nickels and dimes are going to, an unreasonably optimistic outlook (it’ll be better next month)…oh and don’t forget the head in the sand mentality (if I don’t look it’s not there). =)
Things are very different these days. I no longer have sleepless nights, and my husband and I are smarter about our nickels and dimes; though, it does involve us reining each other in quite often. To be honest, we are in the middle of one of those periods right now, and though we may not agree always on the direction of our money, it feels so much better than those early relationship days.
We’re still learning though, and I may share some details of our journey with you in this year-long blog. I’m trying this on for size…money feels so personal.
A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. – Dave Ramsey
Note: The above book is from a Christian perspective. We would not describe ourselves as a religious family; however, the principles are universal, and the religious tones for us did not make the book off-putting.