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.

Advertisements

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.

 

 

Budget Boot Camp: What is a budget & lies people believe

Now that baby is truly eating food, our grocery budget is growing and growing (and growing and growing). Because of that, our family is in a grocery budget boot camp. We are cutting down costs, tightening the belt, whatever you want to call it. All of this has me thinking about women I know who have told me they’ve never had a budget, or that the thought of a budget is terrifying/overwhelming/scary to them, or that they just don’t even want to mess with budgeting. You guys, I’m here to tell you that having a budget doesn’t have to be a burden. So, we are going to do a 4-week series on budgets! WOOHOO! This is something that I am so excited about, and think is so important. Let’s walk through this together!

This week, we are going to look at what a budget is and lies we often believe about budgets. For those of you sitting here wondering, “what is this girl talking about?”, a budget is simply this:

an outline of how much money you have and where that money needs to go

Plain and simple. So why do we run and hide when we hear that word? Why is the thought of a budget enough to make us want to throw in the towel? I believe a big part of why is that we believe many lies about budgeting. We can’t hit on all of these, there’s just no way. But I want to share 4 of the BIGGEST lies, I think, women believe about budgets (and why they aren’t true).

#1: As long as I’m spending less than I make, then I’m okay.

If you are currently spending less than you make, GREAT JOB! That is a wonderful first step. But here’s the problem with this: if you aren’t tracking your spending, you have no idea a) where your money is going and b) no way to tell for sure that you’re spending less than you make. In order for us to steward our money well, we need to know where we are spending our money. We need to be sure we are allotting enough for saving, tithes, groceries, etc.

#2: Having a budget is too much work.

Yes, having a budget is going to be some work. And honestly, it’s going to take some discipline. However, having a budget does not have to be a huge undertaking. Once you have your budget set, it should take no more than 30 minutes a week (TOPS) to keep it up. If 30 minutes sounds like a big deal, then there are plenty of resources that can help lighten that load….I’ll share more on those later 😊

#3: Having a budget will make me boring.

If we are being honest, many of us don’t have a budget because we don’t want anything to tell us what to do. We feel that having a budget will restrict us and keep us from doing what we want. At times, your budget will tell you no. But here’s the beauty of budgeting – having a budget means that you’ve consciously set aside amounts for different categories. This gives you the freedom to spend without stressing. Want to buy a new shirt? If you have the money in your budget, you can buy that shirt without feeling guilty. Setting those guidelines for your money helps you to know what you can spend and when, without feeling bad or anxious.

#4: I’ll handle it when I’m married/I have a better job/my husband decides to do it/fill in the blank here.

You guys, no. I understand this thought – I lived this thought. But if not now, then when? Procrastinating on a budget is like procrastinating on a doctor’s appointment. Both are important, and there’s no better time than now. The longer we wait to have a budget, the harder it will be to incorporate into our daily lives. There are always a hundred reasons not to do something, but I promise it’s worth it.

So there they are, 4 reasons that often keep people from having a budget. If you don’t have a budget, what’s keeping you from it? What lie are you believing? If you have specific questions about budgets, please feel free to reach out to me. I don’t know everything, but I’d love to share what I do know! Next week, we will look at why you need a budget. See you soon, friends!

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?

 

The Hardest Part of Motherhood

“Motherhood is tough”.

“I never knew this season would be so hard”.

“Raising babies/toddlers/kids/teenagers is the hardest thing I’ve ever done”.

“I wasn’t prepared for this”.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard one of these lines. Raise two hands if you’ve ever said one of these lines. There’s no denying it — being a mama can be tough. In the best, most incredible, love filled way, motherhood stretches us. Most days it leaves us tired and needing a shower. At the end of the day yesterday, I had dealt with 7 different types of bodily fluids (number 1, number 2, drool, spit up, sweat, snot, and baby tears). But these things we think of — the yucky stuff, the sleep deprivation, the fill in the blank — these aren’t what make being mommy hard. These are just pieces to the puzzle. No, the hardest part of motherhood is that it strips away our selfishness.

As a mama, it is our job to care for another human. A very needy, very adorable human who doesn’t know how to do anything on their own yet. We feed them, bathe them, rock them, and snuggle them (and enjoy every second of it). But at the end of the day, we’re often left wondering, “do I ever get a break?” or “why do I have to do ALL of the work around here” or “what about me?”. And these are hard thoughts. These thoughts (and others like it) leave us feeling guilty and inadequate. On one hand, we feel justified in these thoughts because “hello, I’m obviously carrying the team here”. But on the other hand, we know in our hearts our attitude is wrong. These thoughts give us a glimpse at our selfish nature. (Now don’t get me wrong, it’s totally healthy for moms to take a break. It’s not the thought that’s wrong…it’s our heart behind it). They show us that we weren’t meant to do this alone, and that we need more of Jesus and less of us. Motherhood is hard because it is a constant reminder that “love is not selfish”. Repeat after me. LOVE. IS. NOT. SELFISH. Some days, I repeat this non stop.

When the baby wakes up in the middle of the night and I don’t want to get out of my warm, cozy bed. Love is not selfish.

When I find myself envious of the fact that my husband gets to do “whatever he wants” (yeah right, parenthood affects these daddies just as much). Love is not selfish.

When I get frustrated because the baby is crying for what feels like the 24380714380th time. Love is not selfish.

Motherhood is tough for so many reasons. But I honestly think the hardest part is the each day, we are challenged to die to ourselves. As humans, that’s rough. It involves growing pains, and nobody likes those. But we can find encouragement in this — if motherhood is stripping off our selfishness, then motherhood makes us more like Jesus.

So how do we submit to this? How do we accept this new normal?

-Choose to serve: instead of worrying about how hard motherhood is, what would happen if we made it our goal to make our husbands life easier? What if we chose to love our husbands by protecting their sleep, or facilitating time for them to play with baby?

-Take a break: seriously. Set aside 15 minutes each day that is yours. Run, bathe, read, watch YouTube cat videos, dance, eat cheesy nachos. I don’t care what it is. But do something for 15 minutes that is just for you.

-Pursue community: listen y’all. Satan wants you to believe that you are in this alone. He wants us to think that we are the only person who has ever walked this path or that nobody will understand us or that nobody cares how we feel. DON’T BELIEVE THESE LIES. Surround yourself with people who care about you and will speak Truth into your life. We need people who will help us along this path of sanctification.

March Must Haves

I’m back this week to share 5 must have items! This month’s items are mostly food and books…I’m not sure what that tells you about my lifestyle (probably that I like food and I like to read), but I’m okay with it. Anyways, let’s get straight to the point:

#1. Honest Tea Moroccan Mint Tea: I used to think I wasn’t really a mint person. Boy, was I wrong. I could drink this tea all day long and not be one bit sad about it. Plus, it’s easy to find — you can buy it at HEB. Green tea. Mint. Not overly sweet. It’s refreshing to say the least.

#2. Big, Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: This book tells the story of 3 women who meet through their school aged children. Each has their own web of lies — whether big or small, I won’t say. In the end, someone dies…but who? I read this book before baby girl was born, and still think about it to this day. It is very well written, and really draws you in. If you read this, be prepared to not want to put it down! (Disclaimer: this isn’t a book I would let my 13 year old read. It has some language).

#3. Maybelline Define-a-Brow: I’m not a big make up wearer. Most days, I just throw on some mascara and go. But I’ve found that if my eyebrows look great, then I feel more confident. Don’t go crazy with this stuff, just use it to accentuate your natural beauty. Send me a selfie when you wear it, and walk around feeling fabulous all day long!

#4. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis: This book is something every Christian should read. Written in the point of view of a master demon writing letters to his trainee, C.S. Lewis portrays human life and sin. It can be a bit confusing at first (they refer to Satan as the Father and God as the Enemy), but is so humbling and helps us to really see our sin for what it is. This book will completely change the way you view spiritual warfare.

#5. White Chocolate Popcorn: A dear friend of mine made this once, and I just HAD to have the recipe. Don’t like white chocolate? You’re in good company. But man, I could eat white chocolate popcorn for days. You can’t buy it anywhere, but it so easy to make. Here’s how it goes: pop 3 bags of popcorn and put them in the biggest ziploc bag you can find. Melt one bag’s worth of white chocolate chips. Slowly pour the melted chips into the bag, and shake the popcorn until every kernel is coated. Voila! You have yourself a not so healthy but entirely delicious snack.

Have you discovered any new must haves? Is there something that you just can’t live without? I’d love to hear about it!

Things they don’t tell you about motherhood

When people find out you’re pregnant, they automatically offer advice. Here’s how to do this, be ready for that, don’t worry if ____ happens — you know the drill. In these last 4 months, I’ve been amazed at the things I’ve learned that nobody has told me, or maybe they did and I didn’t listen. Here are some surprising things nobody tells you before you become a mom:

If you have a little girl, pay attention to her bows. I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve looked back and RJ’s bow had fallen in front of her eyes because the bow was too big for her head. No wonder the kid was crying. Now that her head is OFF THE CHARTS huge, bows tend to leave dents in her head. It’s comical, but also makes you feel like the worst. So if you’re putting a bow on the child’s head, make sure it fits.

The laundry. Oh my gosh the laundry. Before RJ was born, I would wash probably 3 loads a week. Now, I can easily do about 8 loads…and still be behind. I feel like some homeless person must be sneaking into my house in the middle of the night and using all of our clothes, because surely 2.5 people can’t produce this much laundry. Right? Wrong.Tiny babies poop everywhere and spit up and have really cute outfits that they grow out of in a matter of minutes seconds.  When it comes to laundry, 1 + 1 + 1  = 312,780,412 (apparently).

At home date nights are a thing of the past. Once you have a baby, it becomes even more important to spend quality time with your man. But listen closely — do not try to have an at home date night. We’ve given this a go a couple of times, and it was a joke. We cooked a yummy dinner, rented a movie, and sat down to watch it together. And that’s when the baby decides it’s time to have a meltdown (never mind the fact that mom should have realized it was time to eat). At home date nights are great in theory, but only lead to a failed attempt at quality time.

Dad will always be the fun one. This one here really gets me riled up. As moms, we put in all of the work leading up to the kid being born. We grow the child for 9 whole months, we go through labor (or if you’re like me, you have a C-section because your baby is completely upside down), learn how to breastfeed/bottle feed and wake up in the middle of the night, and then when the kid learns to smile, they will only do it for dad. Not that parenthood is a competition or anything, but come on kid!

I’m pretty sure babies are bi-polar. Little babes have this incredible and strange ability to go from crying sorority girl (disclaimer: cut this video off before you get to the last 5 seconds…there is a bad word) to this level of happy in a matter of 0.12 seconds. It is equal parts terrifying and adorable.

Tiny baby snuggles are the best. Let’s be real, some things about motherhood can be frustrating. But as soon as your baby snuggles up to you, all of the irritating things just melt away. The heavens open up and the angels sing, and all is right in the world.

What about you? What surprised you about motherhood?