Well it’s January and the cold is in full swing here in Virginia. The snow is still on the ground and the temperatures have been in the teens and low twenties for weeks. We are still crunching in the snow that won’t melt away. It finally made it to the thirties yesterday but by Friday it is supposed to hit 50… I’m calling it a heat wave!
January’s Focus – Money Crunch
If you remember from my monthly missions, January’s focus as we crunch in the snow is on the “crunch” of finances. I have so much to talk about in this area. My brother who is dealing with his own drama and issues at the moment wants me to help him get on a budget and my sister’s husband mentioned Sunday they too would appreciate some guidance in this area. I was flattered. So this will be a resource at least for family if no one else can glean from it. But I hope more of my readers can use this information and put it to work for them.
The first thing for anyone to do who has found themselves in a financial bind – is to admit they need to get their money under control. Taking this step in realizing the need for the budget is huge. Because the initial phase of cutting back for anyone is a little painful, so recognizing the larger picture here will help you endure the “cuts”.
Getting the Household Onboard
Secondly, you need to get everyone in your household on board with the newly defined lifestyle that will be determined by your budget. If there is a warning issued – Hey this is coming down the pike and you may not get to buy everything you have been used to in the past – it will help prevent potential surprises. This is true for your children (my kiddos know what it means to live on a budget, trust me) and it is also true for your spouse. If you both don’t see eye-to-eye on keeping a tight rein on the checkbook… it could mean friction, so have that conversation from the start. (One advantage to being a single mom… I control the checkbook by myself.) But couples can define these boundaries together as well and make it work.
Now if this is all brand new to you – you might ask, “How do I set up a budget?”
It’s not hard. The main thing is that you add up all your income and then add up all your expenses for a month, lets say, and compare the two amounts. The main thing you have to realize is remembering all those expenditures, and other possibilities – so you are prepared. I outline how to set up these two lists in detail and at length in an article I wrote about budgets in 2008. My plan is to break that down in parts to share here on my blog.
Please come back later this week and read my other posts about finances… as I make the attempt to at least help my brother and sister and their families set up a budget.
Where is Your Heart?
There is a quote by Billy Graham, “Give me five minutes with a person's checkbook, and I will tell you where their heart is.” How true, how true.
Find yourself… keeping it real.