Budgeting Baby Steps

Thursday, June 12, 2014

If you've been following my blog this year, then you know one of my main 2014 goals is to get a budgeting system in place.  I want to take control of where my money goes instead of letting it control me.  I've found over the last couple of months that this makes such a huge difference in my day-to-day life.  The stress of wondering if I'll have enough money to fill my tank up next week, or where the funds for big purchases are going to come from has practically gone away.  There are still a few moments here and there where the bills seem higher than the paychecks coming in, but God is faithful and has provided every time that little voice of worry begins to creep in.

As I've looked over my expenses and budgets these last few months, it has become clear that for the last few years money truly has controlled me.  I've never given it much thought, swiping that debit card day after day, but when I sat down and looked at the big picture I was losing the money battle big time!

The hardest slap in the face moment so far was when I calculated and really examined where I had been putting all of my money over the last year. I went through all of my old bank statements to see just how I was spending those funds.  I realized quickly that I spend WAY too much money on going out to eat, way too little on paying off my loans, and way too much on casual shopping trips.  I had to make the hard decision to cut almost all of my favorite spending areas in half (or more!) in order to make my budget successful.  I was living beyond my means, and not using the gifts God had given me in a way that glorified him.

Over the last two months I've worked out a tracking system using the Dave Ramsey snowball/budget method and have seen a vast improvement!  I've noticed I don't miss having less fast food, or smaller shopping trips.  It's almost more exciting when I get to fill up my general fund and know that I get to treat myself that month.  The difference being that I now control how much I spend and where it goes. No more swiping that debit card when I get the munchies on the way home or when a girl friend asks to go shopping.  When my cash envelopes (which hold a designated amount each month) are empty, then they're empty!  Aka no more shopping or eating out that month!  Pretty common sense and basic, but genius at the same time!! If you're at all like me, then you know what I'm talking about.  It's harder to spend cash and see it dwindling away than it is to swipe that debit card one more time. Am I right, or am I right?!?

This little wallet from the Dave Ramsey store has been my favorite tool in this process!  It helps keep everything organized and with your envelopes all in one spot, tracking your finances is even easier!  Thanks to Nancy Ray and her organization series for showing me this wallet!  You can buy one here.

It felt like this would be impossible at first, but it's not!  I'm loving the Dave Ramsey system so far, and am loving the control over my finances even more!  If you're struggling getting in front of debt, or finding yourself each month with less and less money, then I strongly encourage you to read through Dave Ramsey's system and put it to work! The baby steps I've taken the last couple of months during this budgeting adventure have made all the difference.  Try it, it works!!

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