Oh, yeah…I DO have a blog.
It hit me this morning that it’s been awhile since I’ve even checked on my blog. Thank God I’ve never forgotten my children for this long. The gym in an entirely different story, by the way…I have almost completeley blocked that torture chamber from my memory.
The last 2 months have been a new adventure of sorts for our household. Actually it was back in February when I really decided that we needed to make a new plan for our finances and really get us back on track in our budgeting. Now, don’t get me wrong, we always stay up on our bills and have food to eat, but we haven’t been systematically tracking our expenses, and I’ve been wondering how much of a difference it could make to have more of a plan (read: budget we really try to stick to) for our money.
Let me back up just a bit more. It all started back in January, I had this wild idea about trying to save our family more money, so as to further “justify” the fact that I am a stay-at-home mom.
Now, I should probably clarify that I don’t really feel it’s necessary to justify it, mind you, as I am one of the busiest people I know between everything I do at the church, the kids, my husband, the house, Pampered Chef and all the various other “things” I do. It’s just that, it’s always right there in my head that maybe I should be bringing in more income for our family. My daughter will be starting JK in the fall, and it seems like maybe it’s time for an actual job that I make money doing….There’s just a bit of problem with this. I really don’t want to get another job. I feel quite fulfilled doing what I am currently able to do, and I don’t want to have to stop my volunteer work at the church, and the time I am able to spend with my family, in order to receive a paycheck. I am not one of those women “putting my career on hold” to raise my family. I feel my calling is to my family and to supporting my husband in ministry, so were I to go back to work, it would be because we needed the money.
So, I really got to thinking, what if I put a little bit more time into taking better care of the money we already have/make every month…? I used to coupon a little bit when we lived in Florida and I got to thinking about whether there were Canadian coupon sites that could save me money…there are, by the way. We also live close to the US border at Niagara Falls, so I started couponing in the US again too. I wouldn’t call myself an “extreme couponer”, like the new show on TV, but I have saved over $1000.00 in coupons over the last three months. (WOW!) (And, yes, it’s for buying stuff we will actually use. And, yes, I have quite a nice stockpile for the next few months on cleaning products, toiletries and boxed & canned goods, things I will not have to spend full price on when I need them.)
Couponing is fun for me, but obviously there is more to being a better home economist than couponing. Enter Dave Ramsey into our lives. I know some people (newlyweds actually) that are die-hard Dave Ramsey followers, and have been not using credit cards and using the envelope system, and overall, actually getting ahead in their lives. I found myself both proud of them, and at the same time, thinking, “just wait until you have kids and a mortgage.” I can be such a cynic.
I borrowed Dave’s Total Money Makeover book from the library, read it, took notes, and then sat down with my husband to see if he would be on board with making some changes to the way we were running our finances. We worked out a new plan together, and it’s been an interesting two months of implementing those changes. I do think it’s worth pointing out, that Jeff and I have been married for almost 12 years, and we have never been so “together” with our finances before, and that I would not have anticipated that working on our money, would also strengthen our marriage, but, hey, I’ll take that blessing too!
There’s many things I could say about all of this, and probably in the future, you will hear more from me about it, but for now, I just have to say that I have never felt better about our decision that I not be bringing in a paycheck….and that’s a wonderful feeling to have.