Beth, Nate, Traction

B is for Budget

Posting on a Tuesday? What is this madness? I’ve got so much to say lately, I’m really back in a blogging groove I guess! I don’t know if I’ll be back to five days a week permanently yet, but I have so many post ideas it could happen!

Anyway, today I’m going to talk about everyone’s favorite subject – money!! I kid. Does anyone really like talking about money? Unless you have a lot of it, I’m guessing not. And that’s been something that’s been a bit of a problem at our house – money talks are uncomfortable, so we never want to have them. Two years ago we started the Traction program as a way of running our household (blogged here) and have been working towards figuring out a household budget. We made the budget the main task for the first quarter this year because the honest truth is, we’ve been living too long without one.

budget-cartoon

Now before we get too much further here I want to stress we are not broke, we are not in trouble (hi mom, we’re fine, don’t worry!) but we’ve been guilty of living the”play now, worry later”life for too long. And part of the problem was, while we definitely have always been aware of how much we’re bringing in, we’ve never really sat down and figuring how much is going out and where.

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So, we made a spreadsheet and started tracking our receipts and bills and logging them on the spreadsheet so we could see where we were spending the most. It was eye opening to say the least. (Hint, we really, really like to eat good food). Now that we know where we need to spend (mortgage, bills, etc) we were able to set a budget for the things we want to do (eat out, activities). We also set an allowance for all three of us per month. And April 1st was our “go day”. So we are now living a budgeted life.

Now this is not to say we can’t do anything and have to stay at home and never spend money and become the most boring people on the face of the earth. We just need to be accountable and smart about what we’re doing. I honestly feel good about this, I like structure, I like having a plan instead of just blindly going about all of this. I will say we’ve been saving for retirement for several years now so I feel like we are ahead of the game in that department, but now we’ll be able to save up for other things that we’ve been putting off like home repairs. And here are several other big reasons I’m committed to keeping up with this new lifestyle.

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Ollie’s education. We chose Montessori for preschool and it’s been a positive experience so far. We’d like to keep him there until elementary school – but it’s not free.

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One year ago this week this was my view. If we want to be able to take more trips like our Jamaica trip, we have to actually save up for it. I have so many places I want to go – Disney World, Hawaii,Wine Country in California, more Caribbean islands, the list could go on and on….

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Jen and I took a mom-cation last Fall and it was epic and wonderful and we’d like to do it again. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to say that taking a “Mom Break” can make you a better mom. I also have some friends from high school planning a rather epic trip for our 40th birthdays in five years, but it might be smart to start saving for that now!

So you see where I’m going here. Most of the above involve family and friends and time well spent. As I’m working on living a life of purpose it’s making me want to be more intentional with my time. And that’s more valuable than THINGS. And also, a budget friendly approach to living will also allow me to more easily do things like give back – which is also my goal of living a life of purpose this year.

I’m proud of us for finally taking the steps to make this a reality. We’ve talked about setting a budget ever since we started the Traction program but have had many false starts at getting it set up. I give Nate the majority of the credit here as he really did the bulk of the work. It’ll be a team effort to keep it going, but we’re up to the challenge. We are doing just fine overall, we have money in the bank, food on the table and a roof on our heads. This will just help us do better than fine. Maybe instead of a B+ we can score an A instead. Onward and upward.

15 thoughts on “B is for Budget”

  1. We have a budget and ever since we have been married, Steve and I have an allowance. I feel like after the past almost 2 years, we need to re-examine everything and make some tweaks here and there. You are so right though – talking about money is never any fun.

  2. Oh my gosh, these cartoons are hilarious and so true! I go back and forth on budgeting. Sometimes, I find it really easy to stay on budget and other times, not so much. It’s definitely important to set priorities and put money aside for the necessities and things that are important to you.

    I hope you are having a great week!

  3. Good for you guys, and hope the experience goes well! Money is most definitely my least favorite thing to talk about it and it shows. Our next big thing is going to be deciding on the next house and all the financial decisions that go into the process of selling and buying…ugh. It might give me a little bit of anxiety just thinking about it. πŸ™‚

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this! Honestly, I’ve never been very good with budgeting but now that I’m a little older and I realize how easy it is to figure out what’s incoming/outgoing, it helps to have a plan, like you said. And also I want to still be able to enjoy certain things in life, and I can’t do that if I don’t know what’s available to spend!

    Also go you on getting back on the bloggy bandwagon πŸ™‚ That makes me so happy to hear! XOXO
    Charlotte recently posted…friggin’ sweet birthday giveawayMy Profile

  5. I am SO there with you… adulting is no joke. We’ve been keeping a budget for several years, but sticking to it has been less than successful. This year, with two kids in daycare/preschool we’ve pretty much been forced to stick to it. When we look at where we can lower our expenses, we also come back to food every time. We like to eat! So we’ve been trying to do more meals at home, using what we have when possible, and fewer dinners out.
    I liked reading this Beth. I feel like blogging has kind of a “consumer culture” around it. I’m definitely guilty of wanting to buy all the things, but that’s not my reality and it’s nice to see that I’m not alone there.
    Shea Sayers recently posted…How To Use the Outfits App: My Tips for Getting the Most Out of This Styling ToolMy Profile

    1. Thanks Shea! I agree about the “consumer culture” of blogging – I used to feel like I needed to keep up with everyone and I’m realizing that I don’t. I can keep up with trends by trying to thrift or waiting for sales. And yes, we’ve been working on more dinners at home too. Ollie eats so much better when we go out though darn it!
      Beth recently posted…Currently in AprilMy Profile

  6. three months after we got married, i injured my spine. We had to start budgeting right away since we only had one income. We’ve been budgeting ever since.
    It’s really not that hard to do – it’s just a matter of sitting down and discussing what and where the money is going to go to.
    And you can totally still have tons of fun and do wonderful things while you’re budgeting. People think that it will suck but it really doesn’t. Well, maybe initially when you’re trying to figure it all out – but once you get on board, you’ll get used to it.!
    Kimberly recently posted…This Is My SpaceMy Profile

  7. omg. budgets are my husbands love language. budgets, planning, and logistics. thank god he manages the money because if it were up to me, we’d be scraping by month by month every single time!

  8. This is an excellent post and a great topic. I’ve been trying to track my spending and create a budget, but it’s hard and it seems like my wants outnumber my paycheck. Childcare costs are no joke but the good news is that at some point, they go away or at least go way down. I’ve heard there is a moment when all of that extra money that did go to child care seems like a huge gift. But then they become teenagers and want a car with pricey teenager insurance.
    Megan recently posted…Weekending …. with one week in betweenMy Profile

  9. Great post – thanks for sharing! It’s great that you have a better idea of what you spend money on and are more able to focus on saving. always important. πŸ™‚ I’m currently trying to build up my savings account again.

    -Lauren
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Currently: April 2017My Profile

  10. A budget can be a great idea to help work towards the big things. We tend to budget over big things, but try not to sweat the small every-day stuff πŸ™‚

  11. I am TERRIBLE at budgeting. It’s something I keep telling myself I need to get better at. I’m very much like you and Nate – I know I have it and am in okay spot financially, but need to be better at being aware of where I’m spending and where I could cut back. Maybe you’ll inspire me!

  12. I think we should all talk MORE about money, not less. It’s one of the things that a lot of people are left to figure it out for themselves… wouldn’t it be great if talking about money would be part of growing up, or even in school?! πŸ™‚

    I’ve been budgeting for a while and we’re also ‘guilty’ (<– I said that with a *wink*) of spending a lot of money on good food – which I guess is a thing we make a priority in our budget. It's definitely good to know where the money goes to evaluate if THAT is where you want it to go and in order to prioritize!
    San recently posted…A re-introduction of meMy Profile

    1. YES!! We’re trying to raise our son with much more of an awareness of money and how it works than what we felt we had while growing up. I think more conversations definitely help and we even try to make it fun sometimes!
      Beth recently posted…Currently in AprilMy Profile

  13. We rock a budget pretty well over here. There have been times we’ve both been unemployed and needed a budget to stay, well, with a roof over our head. It’s much easier to follow when you don’t have money than when you do. But that’s why long term goals are so important to make sure you’re making the most of your money. Montrssori and warm vacations sound like good goals!
    Cara recently posted…Five Things Friday #2My Profile

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