I’m laughing out loud at myself right now. That title, ‘Katrina’s Budgeting 101’ sort of cracks me up – ok, it REALLY cracks me up! I feel like I missed the “budget” train my entire childhood, either I wasn’t paying attention all the times my parents tried to talk to me about it or I’m just crazy. I do remember being a natural ‘saver’,’ when I would get my allowance, I would save it, and save it, and save it. Then my big brother, whom I thought walked on water, would somehow talk me into going to the local grocery store and using it all to buy “us” candy (which he would proceed to eat most of). He was a smart big brother, using his money-saving little sister to enjoy an afternoon snack. I still love you though, Ry-fry (my nickname I called my big bro – Ryan).
I do remember getting my first checking account when I was around 14. I had a job working with my dad at Promise Keepers, I worked in the mail room (was a GREAT first job) and had so much fun! There was a bank very close to the office and all a sudden I remember my mom and dad deciding I needed a checking account and a checkbook, and needed to start balancing that checkbook. To this day, I still have the hardest time balancing a checkbook, thankfully, Cassidy does this for us now. Anyone else struggle with that? I really hope I’m not alone on this one…
As I grew up, my dad was always there to fall back on when I messed up with my saving or with my bills and I guess I just assumed that when I got married that my husband would just do the same thing. I never really thought there was too much to the whole money thing, I just figured someone else would take care of it for me, so why should I have to learn too much about where my money goes? As I write this I can’t believe how naïve I was! Ohmygoodness!!!!!
Fast forward a few years and I’ve met Cassidy, the man of my dreams and we are getting married. We didn’t talk very much about money when we were dating – I assumed he had a lot more money than he really did, after all, he was a college graduate, he had an established career and job with a big company, he drove a very nice car and he also has just purchased his first house (a brand new one that was not huge, but very nice for a first home). Appearances are not always reality for sure. While he was very well off for a guy his age, he did have quite a bit of debt from school, his fancy car, and his house.
At that time, first of all, I didn’t care, and second of all, I thought everyone had debt. As a wedding present, my adopted set of grandparents (long story – but they “adopted” me and loved on me like real grandparents do) gave us Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University kit and a free tickets to a 12 week class to learn all about it. Although I was not super excited about this gift at all, I loved the KitchenAid Stand Mixer we received much more, we agreed to attend the class. 12 weeks later our lives were radically changed! We dove in head first, worked extra jobs and a year later we managed to pay off all of our $90,000 in debt and have paid cash and lived debt free ever since. I’m talking 13 years later, we are still debt free, we use the envelope system for our cash and expenditures, we have a monthly ‘budget committee meeting’ where we both sit down together and work on that’s month’s budget and we LOVE it!
Dave Ramsey says that with most couples, there is usually one free spirit and one nerd. I’m the free spirit for sure! I tend to watch a lot of what Cassidy is doing to put together our spreadsheet for the monthly budget, but I’m still present and helping. Thank goodness I have Cassidy, because if it was just me I know for sure that I would never make a real budget. I don’t love having to take the time each month to sit down and work on the budget, but I’m always glad we did. It’s a freeing feeling to know exactly how much money we have. We try to plan out everything that is happening that month and we truly do spend every dollar we have on paper before the month begins. That’s the key, to make a zero based budget and to stick to it. If you spend more out of one category you have to take from another category. Here is a great post that my husband wrote about how to create a zero based budget, READ NOW.
I highly recommend that if you are married that you do your budget – TOGETHER – it’s so important for couples to be on the same page with their money, otherwise how in the world can you stick to it? Also, if budgeting, especially with a zero based budget is new to you, then I highly recommend checking out Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University books and courses. Better yet, enroll in a class near you – you will get so much more out of it if you do the course with a small group of like-minded individuals who can hold you accountable. In fact, we loved the classes so much and loved what they did for our family that we started teaching his classes at our church! It’s such a fun class to be a part of and to teach!
I’d love to know if you have done Dave Ramsey’s classes and how much debt you paid off in the process! Share your stories of success or even frustration in the comments below.
Dave Ramsey did not ask me to write this post about his courses or books. All opinions are mine.
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