Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

On Budgeting

Budgeting is difficult for us, because Micah's salary is very irregular (Sort of commision-based, I guess you could say!) So for the past several weeks, we had been doing a very poor job of keeping track. When we got the money, we paid for stuff that needed to paid for without looking at the overall picture. I'm afraid that this approach leaves a lot of room for money to simply "disappear"--a little here, a little there--leaving us wondering where it all went!

This week, we forced ourselves to actually sit down and (as Dave Ramsey would say) give every dollar a name. We will probably have to redo this process about every week for now, not really knowing what Micah's pay will be from week to week until he has the check in his hands. In the future, when he is making more money, we should be able to have more of a consistent budget for all of our basic costs.

Anyway...I just wanted to share how much better our cash flow has been this week as a result of our planning! After paying for the necessary bills, we set aside a certain amount for groceries, a certain amount for my mother's birthday gift, a certain amonut for saving, a certain amount of "fun money" for our weekend date. Micah refrained from buying fast food lunches, and I refrained from buying anything from Target (one of my favorite stores for "house things"!), because we knew that the money was already spoken for. If we hadn't talked about it and planned where the money was going, we both would have felt more free to spend, knowing that the money was there.

OK, so this seems basic, right? I know. It is. And we have always tried to budget to some extent since we've been married. But it is very easy to fall away from if we're not making a constant effort to communicate about money and plan as we go. I'm writing this as a reminder (especially to myself!) that taking the time to budget is not only essential financially, it gives much peace of mind!

As a little side note, Micah and I had a wonderful date last night of dinner and a movie out. The cost? $12.00. We have a movie theatre in town that only charges $3.50 per ticket, including the evening shows. Our favorite local barbeque place charges $4.50 for a HUGE meat potato big enough for us to share, and a huge drink. Dates don't have to be expensive for them to be a lot of fun!


Blogger Carrie said...

Good job with the budgeting! This is something we REALLY need to work on, too. You'd think after 6 years of marriage that we would have it figured out, but no . . . as you said, it is tough when one's paycheck changes from week to week, as it does when you're self-employed. I had determined that this would be the year to get our finances completely under control, but once again, the year's almost over and it hasn't happened. I guess I'll have to make the same resolution for next year!

I enjoyed reading about your fun, inexpensive date. Our last date (back in September!) was going bowling and eating at a take-out place. It ended up being more expensive than we'd hoped, though. I just made a little extra $$ on Ebay this week, and am planning on taking Jim out for dinner to one of our favorite places on Tuesday, following my next checkup with my midwife. My mom will keep Sam for us. :) It's a little more of a pricey place, but we have a buy one meal, get one 1/2 price coupon, so that will help. Our goal is to have one date a month, but it usually just doesn't happen. I really need to think of some more fun, cheap dates that we can plan.

7:04 PM, November 19, 2005  
Blogger Erin said...

Carrie, I know--it is so easy to let the planning go and just hope it'll take care of itself! ESPECIALLY when you just don't know what you have to plan with until you have it!

BTW, If you think of good cheap date ideas, let us know!

12:42 AM, November 20, 2005  
Blogger Ansley said...

One of the most romantic dates that my husband ever took me on was for Valentines several years ago. He put the bikes on the back of the car and we took off about 3:00 in the afternoon for a beautiful park near downtown with a 10 mile biking trail around the lake. We took a leisurely bike ride, just the two of us, and then sat down on a little pier to watch to sun set. As it begin to get dark and chilly, Honey ran back to the car to get a "jacket"...which turned out to be a picnic dinner complete with champagne and a candle! It was nothing extravagant, just a roast chicken from Kroger with some sides he had made up at home and carefully packed, but it made for a beautiful and inexpensive date and one that we will always remember. Granted those sorts of things don't work for every weekend :-) We can get stuck in the dinner, movie, walk at the park, rut...Erin and Carrie what are some other fun dates ideas that yall have enjoyed?

8:33 PM, November 20, 2005  

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