You know that ridiculously full feeling you get when something just tastes so good so you decide to eat *entirely* too much of it?
When you know better, even maybe think you'd better just slow down and stop, but eat just one more bite because it's way too good to miss?
Sometimes that happens to our finances too.
After our move we decided to skip a family vacation for the summer as we knew we'd have plenty of expenses come our way. I also wanted the freedom to enjoy splurging on dinners out at different restaurants, treating our kids to ice cream on summer afternoons, and a little extra wiggle room to just not stress over our finances for a bit.
And it's been fun. But I am full.
Stuffed to be honest.
I'm ready to reign things in, tighten up our boots, and stop letting money slide away just because there's extra wiggle room.
Anybody with me?
My hubby and I have been penny pinchers for a long time, and I don't think we've ever in our married lives splurged without worry as much as we have the last few months. (And what we call splurges are far from what many other folks might consider a splurge ~ we just haven't paid as much attention to our spending and that's been so nice!)
I can't even begin to tell you what peace comes with being able to splurge because we've pinched pennies for years.
But we've definitely spent some time learning the value of a dollar, and watching it just burn on things that (while fun!) weren't really necessary is just about past being enjoyable here for us.
So, we're getting back on track, and determining which items we really want to splurge on rather than just burning through money with no real plan in place. We have some big goals in mind, and I'd rather save $50 towards something I really want than blow $50 on eating an extra dinner out.
(Are you there too?)
So, here goes. Let me know if you'd like to join me, print out our free printable budget spreadsheet, and determine TODAY to really grab control of your finances if it's time for you to get it together too.
What an exciting adventure we have ahead of us! 😉
In case you're wondering what this really looks like for us, here's a peek and some tips that will help you too:
- We set a budget every two weeks for groceries, eating out, and miscellaneous expenses. We're determined to start sticking to it again, and I've already shopped this week for what we need – menu planning helps so much with that!
- As our finances and expenses have fluctuated quite a bit in the midst of move, our written monthly budget needed to be tweaked. My husband spent a few hours this weekend getting that straightened out. (Read more on that over HERE.)
- We had a long talk with our kids about why we choose to have a budget, how that impacts our choices when going out to eat or picking food out at the grocery store, and what things we're able to do because we live within our budget both for our own family and for others. As they're getting older, helping them understand that there is a finite amount of money for our family rather than just saying “no” when they ask for something extra seems to have helped them understand how family finances work.
- We've determined to stick to our budget.
Some daysmany days sticking to a budget isn't fun, however years of choosing to spend money carefully has proven that it. is. worth it. If you're struggling with saying no to something extra that you really can't afford, I encourage you to do your very best this week to really consider your own wants vs. needs. Set up a plan, decide to really follow it, and keep your eyes on the goal rather than settling for the second best you want right now.
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Oh yes, I am in definite need of getting back on track. My issues are a little different… about a year ago, I had my third son. Unlike my other two sons, he was not planned and I had just switched jobs… no disability insurance, 2 months of leave without pay, and trading in my subcompact for a minivan took a toll on my budget. My oldest son had a bunch of medical issues and was hospitalized this year. Long story short, my husband and I were broke, but were able to get by with some money my grandmother left me, our savings, and our tax refund. Thankfully, my husband got promoted this summer. We had never bothered to revisit our budget during the past year because we were afraid to look, but we finally did it just last week. I thought I’d been spending about $80 per week on groceries/pets/toiletries, but it was closer to $110. I know I have to spend more on cow’s milk since my little one no longer breastfeeds, but I still want to get back to $80. I think it is doable with discipline and creativity. Strangely, I feel more anxious now that I am really looking at my finances. I think that once I start meeting my goals, I will feel a lot better about things. I am committed to doing my best. 🙂
Hang in there Amie – I know you can do it! I think just being aware of what you’ve spent is HUGE, and should help you tweak it so you can drop it a bit each week. Praying you have a wonderful few weeks as you get back on track!
This post really hit home. Thank you, as always, for sharing some of your personal life on this blog. It always helps to know that other people (especially those that have been budgeting much longer than I have) let finances get away from them sometimes. I have been pretty bad about it lately but you have encouraged me to start fresh!
Jennifer B. says
I don’t have a written budget (or “spending plan” as those averse to the term “budget” might call it). I am pretty frugal and try to pinch my pennies.
I do agree it is important to get the kids on the financial plan as well. Choosing to save money in certain areas to be able to spend it in others is a valuable lesson that so many people these days miss.
I can’t believe we haven’t talked more about it with our kids (they hear us talking about it, but I don’t think we’ve ever actually had a conversation about why we choose to live this way.) It was a good reminder for them and us both Jennifer!
Laurie, I really want to thank you for this post. I moved the same time you did and during our move and starting new jobs, we couldn’t stick to a budget or couponing. But thanks to both our stockpile and our penny pinching for years, we’ve been able to have “splurge summer.” But this is also my week to joyfully proclaim, “It’s back to routines & budgets!” (And I don’t even have kids!) Your blog is a big part of my financial management so THANKS for being so consistent. 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing Erin – that means so much to me! It’s been nice for us too to have enough there that we weren’t stress this summer, but I am SO READY to be back. (Isn’t it funny the way that works?) THanks so much for commenting ~ so glad I’m not the only one ready to get started. 🙂