|This photo has absolutely nothing to do with budgeting.|
It's just cute. And this blog post really needed
something cute to redeem it from the scary B-word.
Enter my cat sitting on my newly delivered Christmas presents.
No, not that one. In our house we call the word "budget" the B-word. As you can tell, we have a love-hate relationship with budgeting. Mostly hate. As in we hate it so we don't do it. In my house I pay the bills, we always have enough money, so all is right with the world. (I know some of you may have to take a moment to pick your jaws up off the floor at the idea of me being in charge of my family's finances rather than Hubby, but that's just how our family works because I hate the job only slightly less than Hubby)
I come from a family of "money" people. Hubby likes to joke that it wouldn't be a family get together without a discussion about finances. My whole family follows a budget and gets a weird glee out of investing money. I, on the other hand, like to stick my fingers in my ears and sing LALALA at the top of my lungs whenever such conversations come up. I like to save money. But budgeting? Yuck.
Until recently. When I have felt very convicted in my prayer times to concern myself with money. Not making money, but in being wise with the resources God has given us. Despite not really being a big New Years Resolution kind of girl, I have decided to make 2015 the year that I put my family on a budget. Without crying. Or screaming. Or hiding under my blankets and hoping it will all just go away.
So I unplugged my ears for just a few seconds over Christmas dinner in time to hear my sister and brother discussing what they use to track their budgets. They both use a program called You Need A Budget (henceforth to be called YNAB). I pretended disinterest--didn't want to shock them or anything. But when I got home, I looked it up online and signed up for a free 34 day trial to see how I liked it.
I admit it was a little confusing at first, but I watched the intro videos to learn the program and set up a very un-exact budget. How do you guess the amount you should budget for clothes when you have no earthly idea how much you spend on clothes for your family? Or home repairs? Or car repairs? I have always just had a chunk of money automatically transferred to our savings account every paycheck which we use to cover future expenses and repairs. So the money has always been there, just not with a name or in special budgetary categories. And I don't keep track.
This style of money management is apparently called a Spending Plan. We have a "budget" for the essentials, set aside enough money every month to cover annual bills (ie. car insurance) and unexpected expecteds (ie. car repairs, appliance repairs/replacements, medical bills), and whatever's left is either put into long term savings or used for wants. (I will note that we have a health savings account and a retirement account, but those funds are taken out of Hubby's paychecks so we don't have to think about or budget for them). So we aren't complete financial losers. We are what I would affectionately call "middle of the road money managers." Which has worked for almost 13 years without us ever running into a problem. But we could do better. So...
Ya, B-word. Hmmm....
But I am determined to do this. Because it's important. Or so everyone else seems to think. Yesterday I bought the real deal YNAB program. I skipped right over the next 30 days of free demo and just bought the whole program, for better or worse. Because it was on sale. And I am hoping having that little icon on my phone with a handy dandy App will remind me to enter my purchases and keep our budget up to date.