I know, I know ‘budget’ is quite often a swear-word in many houses and once upon a time I’d have agreed, but now I love it!
When we got married I was a full-time uni student, so we spent the first 5 years of our marriage on a student budget (and had our daughter halfway through year 2, just to add to the fun). I thought we were doing well, but have since realized living on a budget is not the same as budgeting. Allow me to explain…..
As a student, living on a low income and making do (even when student finance arrived 3 weeks after the start of one term!) got us through… but we couldn’t wait to have proper jobs and all the trappings that went with it: Not bling and fashion but things like a half-decent car and a proper grocery budget.
I qualified and got a job, my husband went self-employed, we moved house and started to live like we thought we should….. I now shudder at the trips to Asda put on a credit card but at the time I thought “well it’s food, I’m not blowing it on designer gear”… We spent a silly amount, bought expensive brands, pre-prepared food and threw in the odd DVD or bottle of wine or baby outfit: While none of these are wrong, the way we thought about them (or rather, didn’t stop to think about them!) was not helping us.
Fast forward to our 9th year of marriage; more debt, (lots of silly little things here and there like catalogues and small overdrafts) that we thought we were managing by paying minimum payments, we’d bought a house and were still living in a manner not matching our income: Not necessarily overspending all the time but spending a disproportionate amount on something like entertainment, or impulse-buying junk.
At the start of 2011 we got into difficulty with a payday lender and so they took almost double the following payday in interest and charges which left us with almost nothing for that month: Right then and there we quit the lot…bye bye credit!
Since then we have had to make some huge decisions, not least that when our business ceased trading we had to choose to sell up and rent. We have sometimes been short and had to go without something, we had to budget to see what we could actually afford and not just spend all we had.
These last couple of years have been amazing, we’re just about to make our final debt payment! We looked into the biblical way of finance (I recommend MoneySavingMom, Dave Ramsey and National Debtline….these people are inspirational), we planned for expenses (like paying cash for Christmas) and we learned how to bargain shop using comparison sites and own-brand supermarket items.
It may not sound fun and may not be easy all the time, but when you get here you’ll feel so free and proud of yourselves that you’ll soon forget the hard bits. You may even find fun ways to boost your income and look forward to paying bills! ( I know, I can’t believe I said it either, but it’s true!)
Why do we budget? Basically, because it works:- spiritually, emotionally, practically and physically it will benefit you and your family and you can even have fun doing it! 🙂
Please seek help if you’re struggling with debt, you can even talk to me (I’m no expert but am a survivor who’s willing to listen) x
I hope that even if you are not in debt, you’ll give budgeting a try…. or if you’re already on-board please leave tips and success stories in the comments below.
Thanks for reading x