Hey there! Hope all is well. Ohhh myyy goodness! Today we are going to hang out and talk about one of my LEAST favorite subjects…THE BUDGET! Honesty is the best policy, right? Well, “budget meetings” are NOT my thing! I am the free spirit in my home if you hadn’t figured that out by now. The meetings are so boring to me, but they are necessary for the financial success that my husband and I have achieved thus far.
At the end of every month, hubby and I sit down for our budget meeting to prepare for the upcoming month. We use a document that he initially created in Excel and eventually converted to Google Docs (so at any given time, I can access it if/when we are apart). This file consists of our essential bills plus anything additional that we may need to add. Since he’s the nerd and I’m the free spirit, it’s only expected that he comes to the meeting focused on our regular bills while I’m prepared to present a list of extras. Extras include birthdays, holidays, home decor, etc. Anything that isn’t a recurring bill goes to the list that we call “extras.”
At times throughout our debt-free journey, not being able to have extras was challenging for me. I would request to purchase something, and Ejuan would respond with, “It’s not in the budget.” To this day, that statement can still make me cringe. While I understood and was overall in agreement with him, a part of me just could not make sense of what he meant. I knew what bills we had to pay and the amount of money we brought in, and I saw a way to get some of the things that I wanted. However, I knew our core values and future plans, so I had to (and still sometimes have to) let those ideas go.
I also disliked hearing it’s not in the budget because, at times, it seemed to be a term of convenience for Ejuan. If there was something I wanted to do, the budget couldn’t budge, but miraculously there was wiggle room if he had some bright idea. At the beginning of our journey and even as we would hit specific goals, this became problematic for us, so much that one day I took it upon myself to do something that “I” wanted to do. I had mentioned it to him, but of course, it was not in our budget, and there was no expected time for when we could potentially do it later. Therefore, I had to do what I had to do (or so I told myself). That thing I took upon myself, I mentioned in a previous post about our journey to debt freedom. That thing I just had to do was to get a front loader washer and dryer. In case you missed that post, I’ll tell you a little bit about that situation.
Since the beginning of our marriage, we had the same machines, and although both were working just fine, I was ready for an upgrade. Listen! I don’t ask for a lot, and I’ve been sacrificing some of my ‘today’ for an even greater tomorrow, so I wondered why we couldn’t make this purchase happen. I knew that we could do this once, and it would be okay since there are many other things I didn’t press him about doing. However, I did not see any compromise anywhere on the horizon coming from him. I knew that if I didn’t push through, I probably would never get this one thing, and if it were up to him, it would be much, much later in our lives.
We didn’t have cash lying around for this purchase, and I was not about to pull from our emergency fund for something that was not an emergency. So I did the only thing I knew to do. I bought the washer and dryer on credit. (*inserts forehead slap). I told myself that I was smart since I purchased the machines in my name and not ours. Technically “we” were still going to be debt-free. I had it all planned out to take a little money from my check every two weeks until I had the entire bill paid off. While I know I’m going against everything that we’d worked for, I felt like I deserved it after all I’d sacrificed at this point.
I absolutely knew that this washer and dryer were not in the budget, but I made the purchase anyway. After Ejuan got over the initial frustration and feeling of betrayal, we sat down together to plan how we would get out of this. Once again, we had a budget meeting. It didn’t take us much time to get rid of that bill, and I knew that I would never do anything like that again. I regret the method that I used to get the washer and dryer, but I honestly don’t regret buying them. Both machines are still in our home today, and they keep our clothes nice and clean. Oh, and the washer is leaking water now. (Just keeping it real, lol).
That lapse in judgment showed Ejuan how I’ve dealt with the sacrifices we’ve made, and it helped me communicate more how I feel as we continue to maintain our debt-free lifestyle. I still do not like to have the budget meetings, but I come with a more open-mind upfront about what we can and cannot do. While the process can be challenging, I wouldn’t change our choice to live debt-free. I now live a stress-free lifestyle that doesn’t require my income, and he is working and investing to ensure that he can soon join me.
Until next time I’ll leave you with this. If you want to tell your money what to do and not have your money tell you what to do, a BUDGET is necessary! No matter what level your budget is on, you still have to make plans for spending your money. I am thankful that Ejuan and I learned to budget our money early in our marriage, so we could teach our children and prepare to enjoy our lives in the latter years. If it is God’s will, our retirement age/days will be nothing like the average retired person. In the words of Dave Ramsey, “LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE SO LATER YOU CAN LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE.” Now, please START A BUDGET TODAY! Regardless of how little or how much you make, create a financial plan for yourself and your family. If you need any assistance or encouragement, feel free to contact me. Also, if you’d like an example of the document we use each month, please fill out the form below, and I will get back with you. Let’s build this financial wealth together!
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