I don’t have to be stressed about money any more!
No, I did not magically come into a large windfall or find a secret investment that quadrupled my investment overnight. In fact this development is even stranger, because I specifically choose a major that did not require taking even one math class. Let’s just say that math and finances, they were not my favorite subjects.
I began my financial transformation when I discovered Dave Ramsey. At first I did not think I needed to learn anything from him because other than our house, we did not have any debt. I have had a credit card since college, and had never paid interest (as Dave says, that’s a “stupid tax”). But after I embarked on my PEACE journey, I realized that my financial life was creating stress in my home.
A stressful financial life does not allow for a PEACEFUL life.
For years I stayed away from a budget, seeing it as confining and too uptight. Now I see it as tool which allows me to live a PEACEFUL life. Prior to our budgeting years, although we would know the basic amounts that we should spend on each line item, nothing was “exact”. So someone would always go over budget, and then something else would come up, and then a small disaster would be on our hands.
We would also charge everything, “to get the points”, and then pay it off in full at the end of the month. But when the credit card bill went from $1,000 to $2,000 to $3,000, my blood pressure would rise, and I would start to freak. Somehow we always managed to pay it in full, but before we did, I would be screaming, ranting and raving, fighting with my husband about whose fault it was that we spent that much.
One day I realized having the same fight every month was stupid. So I started budgeting. Since then we have not had a fight over money in a REALLY long time.
Over the next few years of budgeting I realized a few things. For example:
There are four months a year when there are five weeks in the month. Previously I had been planning my food budget per month, instead of per week, which meant four months a year we ran out of money before we ran out of month. Now I plan it by the number of Saturdays in a month, and remember to add a little extra for holiday and birthday dinners.
I previously included my bonuses in my budget. One time a bonus did not get paid out, and my car insurance was due. After that, I left bonuses out of my monthly budget, instead they are allotted 100% for “extras” (like general savings, home improvements, travel, etc).
Car repairs had previously been treated as an “emergency”, and “unexpected”, now they are a monthly line item.
There are many more things about our money spending cycles that I only was able to discover through use of a budget. Rather than being confining, it has actually given me freedom!
I don’t have to be stressed about money anymore!
Taking control of our finances, rather than letting them control me, gives me PEACE.
In fact, managing our budget is now my favorite household task! I will admit it, I get almost giddy when it’s time to re-balance my retirement fund. I subscribe to not one, not two, but THREE finance magazines, and I read every issue cover to cover. I listen to Dave Ramsey when I drive, and went from salsa dancing every Saturday night to watching The Suze Orman show. I’ve come along way, and I love the PEACE it gives me.
“Seek Peace and Pursue It” Psalm 34:14