Budget Boot Camp: Qualities of a Good Budget

Me again, here to ensure you that creating a budget doesn’t have to feel like pulling teeth! So far, we’ve discussed Lies People Believe About Budgets, and Reasons Why You Need a Budget. As we continue our journey to understanding budgets, I want for us to look at qualities of a good budget. If we’re going to put in the effort and work, we ought to do it well! Let’s look at 4 qualities of a good budget:

#1. A good budget is easy to maintain.

A budget that is difficult to keep up with isn’t helpful. Ain’t nobody got time for that! We want a budget that keeps track of our money, but doesn’t take a million hours to maintain. I personally use a google spreadsheet to track our spending, but some people feel that is too much work. If that’s you, then there are apps that can help! Every Dollar is a great one – you set your budget on your phone, and then just enter the information every time you spend. This is super helpful for when you are out and about – you can just pull out your phone and see where you’re at on spending. Another helpful app is Mint – if you link this one to your bank account, it will actually help track your budget and spending for you. Again, it’s on your phone so you can access it at any time

#2. A good budget accounts for every dollar.

When setting up your budget, it should account for every single dollar brought in. The reason for this is that when we don’t find a place or purpose for each dollar, we are more likely to spend it without thought. If you make $4,000 a month and only need $3,678 for your expenses, you can put that extra $322 into savings, put it towards a vacation, whatever you want. You just don’t want to have money floating around with no purpose.

#3. A good budget accounts for savings.

You guys, this is imperative. No matter what you bring home, it is so important to save. This helps protect you and your bank account in case of an emergency. My personal rule of thumb is to aim to save at least 10% of our monthly income. This seems like a lot, but it has really helped us out in a pinch (like when my car randomly needed a new transmission). If you can’t save 10%, figure out what you can save and stick to that.

#4. A good budget starts with the big things and works down.

If you have a bunch of big rocks, some small rocks, and some sand, how do you make it all fit in one jar? If you start with the sand and then work up to the bigger items, it won’t work. You have to start with the biggest rocks first. Your budget is the same way. Start with the biggest, non-negotiable items and work your way to the smaller things. This will ensure you have enough to cover the most important things.

Creating a budget doesn’t have to be hard. All it takes is a little time and dedication. You can do it. I believe in you! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

Budget Boot Camp: 5 Reasons Why You Need a Budget

Alright friends, we are on week 2 of Budget Boot Camp. This week, we are going to talk about why I believe YOU need a budget. In case I haven’t been clear, I truly believe that every.single.person. needs a budget. Everyone. And here’s why:

#1. Having a budget empowers you.

As I stated last week, having a budget doesn’t have to be something that ties you down. So often, we think of a budget as a terrible thing that takes away all of our fun. I’m here to tell you that a budget can do the opposite for you. (Wow, I sound like such a nerd right now.) Anyways, having a budget does two things: it gives you knowledge, and it takes away guilt. First off, having a budget helps you to know when you can and can’t spend. Knowing when you have the room to spend takes away any guilt you may feel for spending. Now listen, if you have a budget and don’t stick to it then it won’t do these things. Obviously, you have to stick to it in order for it to work. Having a budget equips you to make wise choices, which is the most empowering thing imaginable when it comes to money.

 

#2. Having a budget relieves stress.

On a similar note to reason #1, having a budget also helps you out by relieving stress. You know the joke that people always make about college kids having $0 in their bank accounts? I don’t find those funny, they actually make me feel so nervous. We don’t have to live life stressing over whether or not we will have enough money to pay the bills (or for those $2 tacos we just HAVE to have). Hear me say this: having a budget will not automatically fix your financial woes. It’s not a magic trick. However, having a budget will help you to control your spending and thus, take away stress over whether or not you’ve overspent. I will promise you this: if you will come up with a budget that fits your monthly income and stick to it, you will not need to worry about insufficient funds.

 

#3. Having a budget improves communication.

Y’all, I can’t even imagine what life would look like as a married person without a budget. That sounds so scary. I honestly think it would be impossible for a married couple to handle life and spending without a budget. You have to communicate! Having a budget opens those lines of communication, and helps me to always know what page Z is on when it comes to dollars. Because we have a budget, my husband and I communicate more.

 

#4. Having a budget betters your future.

Here’s the truth: making ends meet week to week is the easy part. (Does that mean it’s always easy? No. But it’s the easier part). But when we don’t budget, what happens when it’s time to retire? Or what about when your kids go to college? Or fill in the blank here? Part of having a good budget is planning ahead and considering those things that may come your way. If you do this, you’re more ready when they happen. Moreover, sometimes you just make less money. If you’re transitioning jobs, or if you’re an hourly employee and you took a vacation, if you’ve already used up all of your sick days but have to be out again. Keeping track of a budget month to month helps you to know where you have some room, and where you need to tighten the reigns. Having a budget helps you to not only plan for the future, but also to know how to move forward properly. Overall, having a budget often offers a better and more secure future.

 

#5. Having a budget grows your faith.

I’m going to be fully honest here and say that tithing (which is something that every believer’s budget should include) can be tough. The Bible commands us to set aside 10% of our income for the Lord. That’s a lot of money, no matter what you make. There have been many times when it has felt like we didn’t have enough, so how on earth could we be expected to tithe? But when you do it anyway, your faith grows. Having a budget and setting aside hard-earned money the way our Father calls us to makes us more like Christ. It reminds us that we don’t have to be in control, and that our God is greater than our paychecks and whatever may come our way. If you ask me, that in itself is enough reason to make (and maintain) a budget.

 

 

Belugas & Babies (Guest post by Z)

I’ve got a little story for ya.

A few months ago Sarah and I were home playing with baby girl. Sarah was singing a rendition of the “Baby Beluga” song to our little girl, and she decided to replace “beluga” with “Ruthie” to be cute.  Being the fun guy that I am, I thought it clever to then throw Sarah’s name in the song. However, instead of saying “baby Sarah” I said “Sarah beluga…”. My wife’s face dropped, she got up, and left the room while I was left with our child and a bemused look. One minute we were all smiling and playing, and the next minute she was upset and I had no idea why.

Here is what we (I) learned that night:

Everyone cares how they look and women tend to care more than guys. Pregnancy and postpartum only amplify this. When you rewrite a song on the fly and inadvertently call your wife a whale, it will hurt her feelings.

Guys know that they need to compliment and praise their wife/fiancée/girlfriend. Women can be pretty emotional and pregnancy makes that even more dramatic. There is plenty of self doubt, insecurity, and uncertainty during and after pregnancy, and it is during that time that they need to be reassured by their guy that they are still as beautiful as ever. They will be, they just may not think so. That’s where you can step in and make sure they don’t doubt how you feel.

This is done best by being even more careful of what you say than you may normally be. Think 3 times, pause, think again, and then you may speak. Also, be careful not to think too long because then your silence becomes a negative and you’re hosed.

That night I learned:

  1. Pregnancy changes everything, particularly emotions.
  2. Make make sure you’re complimenting your gal.
  3. As guys, we’re stupid and need to rethink things often.
  4. I’m not a songwriter.

June Must Haves

This week, I’m going to share a few must have items for the summer. A couple of books, a Ginnings household essential (that I’m willing to share), and a couple of baby items I couldn’t live without. I even included a bonus item, since it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. These things will make your life better, I promise!

#1: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty: y’all, Liane and I are quickly becoming good friends. I’ve mentioned another of her books in my Must Haves before, but I just can’t get enough! This book has just enough drama to draw you in, but not so much that it’s crazy. This is the perfect summer read, take it to the beach when you go!

#2: Lavender Essential Oil: if you or your husband or your baby or your dog (aka anyone in your whole house) has trouble sleeping, you need to try this oil. I used to be such a stress dreamer and wake up constantly throughout the night. I started using lavender at night…no more wake ups! Baby girl’s naps are significantly better when lavender is involved. I love this stuff so much, that I will send a small sample to the first 3 people to email me about it!

#3: Honeycomb Teething Necklace: if your baby is anything like mine, they probably pull at and chew on your necklace constantly. Instead of freaking out and worrying about nice jewelry getting ruined, I just wear one of these (they’re especially great when you are wearing your baby). BONUS, they’re super cute!

#4: Business Boutique by Christy Wright: we live in a world of entrepreneurs. Everywhere you look, people are constantly starting their own businesses, whether that is a service, MLMs, an app, you name it. This book gives you a step by step guide on how to make those dollas doing what you love.

#5: TomTom Runner: I had this crazy idea to sign up for a half marathon. I’ve run a couple before, but post-baby workouts are just so much harder so I needed something to force me to do it. (Let me just say, I’m nearly 8 months post baby and I am STILL working on getting back into shape. Geez Louise!) Many runs, being able to look down at my watch and know how much longer I have to go is the only thing that keeps me going as I  slowly attempt to whip out some miles. Get one, and run this half with me!!

-BONUS-

#6: ErgoBaby 360 Carrier: if you’re a mama of a baby, you need one of these. This thing is 100% the only reason baby girl and I were able to make it flying on our own last week. It’s a lifesaver.

Just for fun, here are some pictures of our life lately. Isn’t baby girl just the cutest?

 

Motherhood’s Greatest Joys

Sunday was my first Mother’s Day. While this is supposed to be a day to celebrate moms and all they do, all I could think about was how grateful I am for the little girl who made me a mama. Seven months in and I still can’t believe God entrusted me with her…does that ever sink in? All of this got me thinking about the most joyful parts of motherhood. Oftentimes, it is easy to focus on the hard stuff. While the hard things are oh so valid, so are the joys. If anything, I feel like we should aim to make the joys the most valid things – if we fix our eyes on them, our lives will be all the happier. This week, I want to share with y’all what I believe are the greatest joys of motherhood.

#1: I get to see the way my baby loves her daddy. One of the brightest highlights of my day is the moment that Zach walks through the door. Partly because I’m excited to see him, but mostly because I love to see the smile on Ruthie’s face when she sees her daddy. Seeing your baby light up when they see their dad is enough to make a mama’s heart want to burst with happiness.

#2: The world becomes new again. As adults, much of what we encounter day to day is commonplace. We’ve been there, done that, and moved on with life. But to our babies, everything is new. The kitchen sink, the grass outside, the taste of sweet potatoes, everything. I love to see her face brighten as she learns something new, or to see her eyebrows furrow in befuddlement. When that little girl looks up at me and smiles because she just figured something out, I melt. Watching Ruthie learn about the world has caused me to embrace each day with a new sense of wonder.

#3: The Gospel comes alive like never before. When I think about how God sent his son to earth as a baby to live a perfect and sinless life only to die a criminal’s death on the cross in order that he could rise on the third day and redeem the sins of the world, I am overwhelmed. I can’t even fathom sending Ruthie to do such a job, what incredible love God must have for us! Because I have a baby, my view of the Gospel has become richer, and I have become more thankful of the love that is bestowed upon me.

#4: Every minute counts. Somehow, every day seems to go by faster than the one before. And somehow, the baby that I just brought home from the hospital already knows how to sit on her own and has teeth. Watching my baby go from a totally dependent newborn to a spunky baby who wants to take the world by the horns (help me, Jesus) is such a reminder to me of the importance of every moment. Because I am a mama, I strive to use each minute I am given wisely. This can be overwhelming at times, but it’s also the biggest blessing.

I could go on forever about the things that bring happiness to my mama world, but nobody has time for that. What about you? What are your favorite parts of being mama? What parts grow you? What brings you the most joy?

Mom’s Dress: Lularoe Carly —– Ruthie’s Bonnet: Dillards —– Mom’s Earrings: Noonday Collection 

 

God’s Tender Mercies

Confession: I hate road trips with a baby. They make me so anxious, and just downright grumpy. (Please tell me I’m not the only one.) But last week, God used a road trip to remind me of His goodness towards us.

My in-laws live about 4.5 hours away on a good day. Sometimes the drive can take much longer, mostly depending on I-35. Last week, the latter was the case. The baby cried most of the drive, traffic was horrible, I was irritated, and it was pouring rain. But wait, there’s more: about halfway home, we got a flat tire. Typically, this would be something that just makes you want to scream. But instead, in a church parking lot on the side of I-35 in a rinky-dink town, I couldn’t help but be grateful. Yes we had a flat, but the rain had nearly stopped and our Ruthie girl had just fallen asleep – and then stayed asleep for most of the debacle. This was such a small reminder to me of the ways that God provides for us. So many things could have gone wrong here – Ruthie could have had a total meltdown, we could have had a blow out on the highway, it could have been an hour later and all of the tire shops could have been closed, the rain could have still been in a downpour – but nothing did. How often do things like this happen in our lives? We face a situation that feels so big and overwhelming only to remember that God is for us and He always has a perfect plan. Does that mean that things won’t be messy, or that it will work out exactly the way we hope? No. Not at all. Does that mean that we won’t have to buy a used tire from a guy named Antonio? No. But it does mean that we will be okay.

In a situation where I would usually be grumpy and miserable, God reminded me that He constantly offers us tender mercies…sometimes we just have to choose to see them.

mercies 3

mercies 2

Advice from your Mama

I have a baby that doesn’t sleep. No matter what I’ve tried, no matter what I do, I just can’t get her to be a good sleeper. I’ve read sleep article after sleep article, to no avail. “Give her rice cereal, she’s probably hungry”, my mom said over and over. I brushed it off because nowadays there’s some mixed research on whether or not it’s the best option (and hello I’ve done all my reading so I obviously know everything). The no sleep saga continues. We finally got to the point that we thought “maybe there is some medical issue that is hindering Ruthie’s sleep”. Off we go to the doctor to ensure a clean bill of health. And would you guess what the doctor ordered? Rice. Cereal. (Insert eye roll about how I had to call my mom and tell her she was right all along). Oh how I wish I had just listened to my mother. Fast forward a couple of weeks — it hasn’t helped, but I have learned a lesson. There’s a reason God gave us moms, and they have some sage advice. Maybe we should listen to our mamas a little bit more. So I did some research, and here’s advice from some mamas who I know and trust. Some of it is serious, some comical, some spiritual. Do with it what you will…or don’t.

#1: “When they fall at the park, DO NOT make eye contact!  If there is no audience to the fall, they will usually just get right back up.  But if they know you saw it the tears will start.  And the wailing.  And the “Pick me up and carry me because now I have a boo boo”.  Just look away, Mama.  Look.  Away.”

#2: “Put your phone down! They will not stay little for long. Pay attention to them and talk to them. And lock the bathroom door!”

#3: “Give yourself grace! It’s a season.”

#4: “Take the real small play doh container, like you put in party treat bags, to restaurants with you. After they eat, let them make peas, worms, whatever while parents enjoy eating. Be sure to clean it all up for waiters.”

#5: “Your mom is a very valuable tool. Next to your doctor, your greatest source of information. She knows you AND your baby. Your own instincts and her experience make a great team. When in doubt, pick up the phone and call mom!”

#6: “My toddler poured my coffee in the fish tank last week while I was feeding the dog. Enjoy the baby stage.”

#7: “Don’t compare yourself with other moms that look like they have it all together. They are just better at faking it than you are.”

#8: “When they’re older, remind them that you love them so much that when they were little you caught their vomit in your hands. Bonus points if you do it in front of their friends.”

#9: “Enjoy every moment with them and don’t feel like you have to be super mom, super wife or have a perfect house.”
#10: “You will mess up!  It will be okay and they won’t remember. Just don’t make it a habit.”

#11: “Simply laugh.”

Man oh man, how all of these words ring true. I am going to strive to live like these mamas (who know far more than I) suggest. I hope you will, too!

What is the best mama advice you’ve received?