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).
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