I remember our first-ever budget. It was in July 2003. My fine bride, Jenn, came into the living room with a budget scribbled on a piece of lined paper. She had been trying to get me to budget for the past 6 months or so, but I was not playing along (because I’m a spender!).
I believed budgets were controlling, restricting, live-in-a-Maytag-refrigerator-box pieces of trash. They made me say the word “no”, and it interrupted my flow. I wanted no part of it.
But let’s consider a snapshot of my family’s financial situation when Jenn walked in:
- I was managing the money
- We had $4.13 in our checking account
- Our credit cards had a huge balance on them again – for the third time!
- We had a 105% financed car and a 100% financed truck
- There was nothing in our short-term savings account
- We were B-R-O-K-E
- I was in COMPLETE DENIAL!
I can not write this strong enough: I was B-R-O-K-E and telling my wife, “NO!” to doing something different with our finances! But, for some reason at that very moment, something happened that changed my life and marriage forever. I turned off the TV and looked at the budget she had prepared. It actually showed we could live for a month without incurring any additional debt!
LIFE-CHANGING does not describe the next few minutes. I moved into the computer room and started entering the expenses into Microsoft Excel. As I was putting together the formula to subtract expenses from the income, I realized that all of this time I could have been managing my money with the math skills possessed by the average first-grader. INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO! After a few minutes, we had a budget that was EXACTLY ZERO.
My life and marriage have been changed forever because we discovered that a budget is NOT restricting. It is freedom! It is merely telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it all went. It allows you to pay off debt, save up for known, upcoming expenses, save money for emergencies, and fund your dreams.
The first budget was tough because not everything went according to the plan. Every month we had been spending an enormous amount at Wal-Mart and did not clearly know what we had spent it on. As a result, our first month was a little rough. Month two was a bit easier. Month three was even easier.
Listen to your feelings as I write this next line: We don’t worry about money ANY MORE. We did something different. We applied God’s word and Grandma’s advice to our money and our lives have never been the same.
You CAN do this! You CAN get through the 1st month’s budget! Click on “TOOLS” at the top of the page or click HERE to download your FREE budget form and get started!
Need further help? My book, I Was Broke. Now I’m Not., provides the exact tools my family used to win with money. It will help you do the same. Learn more HERE.