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!

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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?

You’re not Mom

Quick disclaimer, if the title didn’t tip you off, I’m not Sarah. Our little girl reminds me of this quite frequently, and it’s neither a bad thing nor a good thing. Being Dad simply looks very different than being Mom. Some things I literally can not do and other things S can’t do. 

One of the hardest parts of adjusting to being a dad is the “what do I do?” question that pops up about every time the kid squeaks. When the kid melts down because they are hungry…not much I can do. It seems silly, but it plays itself out in hard ways. Early on when the baby has to eat every 2-3 hours and S is getting out of bed 4 times a night to feed the kid, it isn’t easy to know what to do or how to help. As previously stated, Dad is no help when it comes to feeding. Often times this leads to feeling inadequate and guilty. I get to stay in bed while S doesn’t sleep and feeds the baby. But what’s a guy to do? 

There is a feeling that every guy has felt. He is holding a small child and the thing erupts. Sad. Pathetic. Loud. The little ball of cuteness has morphed into a monster, like Jack-Jack at the end of The Incredibles. The first time this happens for a mom, she may inwardly freak out, but outwardly she calmly soothes the kid back to tiny human form. The first time this happens to a guy he holds the kid at arms length and prays for the mother to take it back. The point here is that Mom is just better at comfort. Dad can try and even be successful from time to time, but he is never what the kid actually wants. He will always be number two in the pecking order. But what’s a guy to do? 

Grouped together with the first two insufficiencies is the knowledge that God gave moms an intuition that he omitted from dads. We’ve all seen this even without having our own kids. You’re at a restaurant with a new mom and her kid, no one else sees it, no one else could possibly see it, but the mom sees, senses, or hears that the baby needs something. She tells you whats wrong and quick draws a bottle out of a holster like an Old Western sheriff or puts the kid to sleep in 0.25 seconds. These are the things that intimidate a dad. Most of us don’t get to spend as much time with the kid, so we don’t know them as well. We want to help, but genuinely have no clue what we are doing 95% of the time (this is actually true in pretty much every aspect of life, we never actually know what we are doing). So what’s a guy to do? 

1. Do something. Anything remotely helpful. Go get the diapers and the wipes ready for changing. Make a bottle. Or, when all baby tasks are taken, do stuff around the house like fold laundry, pickup all the kids toys, or do dishes. 

2. DO SOMETHING. For real. Get up and doing anything. 

3. Know that coming home is no longer a peaceful environment. Work may be done, but now your job starts. Dad time. Take the kid from mom and let her do something else. This is the best part of the day. You get to swoop in and be the hero AND spend time with your awesome little kid. 

4. Talk to your spouse. This can mean a few different things. a) Be a grown up human that they can talk to because they have been starving for adult interaction for a while now. b) Figure out what they need. What is most helpful in your situation? Everyone has a different setup going, so find what they think is the most helpful.