Telling Our Dollars Where to Go…

Shortly after we were married, Sean and I had our first budget meeting. We spent a few hours sorting through where we’d like to spend our money (and where we were obligated to spend our money). We then created an elaborate spreadsheet and saved receipts for months. At the end of each month (because, unlike my responsible husband, I would inevitably forget to do this throughout the month) I would sit down in front of that spreadsheet and painstakingly enter every single purchase. About 9 months in, I put my stubborn foot down and released myself from the giant grid.

Around the same time, we had our second budget meeting. We were given a free copy of Financial Peace University – a DVD set on finances which we listened to on long car trips together. This was a huge and unexpected blessing for us and we learned so many invaluable things by going through the class together. Our second budget meeting was highly productive, largely with the help of the infamous spreadsheet. We were able to map out a clear budget because we had almost a year’s worth of an idea about how we spend our money. I remember sitting in our living room for a few hours figuring out the numbers together. It was fun to work on such a big project together –  planning for our future and learning to compromise in the present. We decided to start using a cash envelope system for a few of our expenses. This system has been mainly helpful for me because I like to see my money instead of absently swiping a card. I have spent the months since we started using the envelopes taking out a huge withdrawal at the beginning of the month and getting curious looks from the tellers at our bank.

This week, Sean and I launched another large budget campaign. Since discovering Mint we wanted to establish a better way to keep track of our savings and the financial goals that we have set. We spent two days bent over the kitchen table working the numbers (as we say in the biz).

This time we made a big mess and another (slightly more manageable) spreadsheet. We also made one of these:

Sean typically likes to make action plans when we have budget meetings. I typically ask obvious questions during budget meetings.

Sean typically worries about practical ways to spend (or save) our money. I typically make sure that I still have enough money to decorate the house.

Sean typically remains calm. I typically raise my voice at random.

Thank goodness for my husband’s patience.

Our budget meetings can be tedious at times, but since we only have them a couple times a year they end up being really good bonding experiences for us. We are slowly honing in on managing our money and it’s exciting to succeed at accomplishing our goals. The Lord has blessed us immensely with all that we have and it’s been good to learn to honor him with our finances together.

“In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.” Proverbs 21:20 

 

“Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.” Proverbs 16:3
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5 thoughts on “Telling Our Dollars Where to Go…

  1. Courtney

    My favorite part is the new Sam Adam’s glass. I’m a firm believer that old Samuel should be a part of all budget meetings.

    Congrats on the budget! Don’t be surprised if we ask you for help. Right now I just delete all the emails that mint sends me informing us we’re over budget. That means it never happened right?

    Reply
    1. Chris & Dan & Mucka

      We read this together….
      It is so great that you are learning this so early in your life together (Dad)
      Don’t worry if you fall off the wagon once in a while life is like that sounds like fun and keep doing what you are doing and you will have it made. On your tenth anniversary you will be delighted with your achievement (Mucka)
      And on top of all of that, it just warms my heart to think of Sean leading a budget meeting and being “married” to an Excel spreadsheet….(Chris)

      Reply
  2. Becca @ One Girl

    I am in the process of figuring out my dollars and telling them where to go as well. I am going through a class at church and it’s pretty great so far! It’s great that you guys are starting off young in your life!

    Reply
  3. Kelly

    Wow. I relate COMPLETELY. We did the whole excel spreadsheet thing with EVERY receipt. However, you’re correct that it’s super useful to know the detailed information for an entire year!

    We also decided this January to use Mint.com instead of the spreadsheet! Much easier.

    Reply

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