Monday, March 21, 2011

A weekend in review

Whew!  Monday already?  This past weekend was the type where when I get to work on Monday, it is almost like having a break!  At least for the first few minutes!

We had a busy weekend, but at the same time it was one of the best weekends.

Friday night started with a "date night" for Mark & I.  We had to miss last Wednesday's Financial Peace University because our babysitter had to go out of town at the last minute.  Thankfully, we get one free lesson on Dave Ramsey's website, so Friday night my mom watched the kids and we went to my parents house to watch Lesson 3 of FPU.

This lesson is the nuts and bolts of FPU - the budget (cue horror movie music).

Mark & I have tried to create a budget for the last year, if not longer.  We create one, then life happens and bam, budget gone.  Or we create one and then a pair of shoes, latte, tool, etc. comes calling and we just have to have it.

I have heard people question the cost of FPU (it is usually $100 for the course).  I myself questioned it before hearing people I knew go through the course and witness their lives transformed.  For me, learning to budget, realistically budget, is worth every last penny of the $100.  Budgeting has been a struggle for me personally all my life and that has carried into married life as well. 

So, back to this weekend.  Mark & I watched Lesson 3 on Friday night and then planned to pound out the budget on Saturday night after the kids went to bed.

Saturday morning brought us swimming lessons, playtime, lunch and naps for EVERYONE (whoo hoo!).  Saturday late afternoon, my brother brought his boys (ages 5 & 8) over for a sleepover. 

Any thought I may have once had (prior to having any kids) to have 4 kids. . . yeah, long gone!!!  And all the kids were pretty well behaved, but oh man, it was a lot of work!  But we played and built towers with Lego's, ate supper, had ice cream, watched a little bit of a movie and then tried to get all 4 kids to bed at the same time.  Whew!

By this time we got settled into our room to start the budget I was weary, but ready to tackle the budget!  And that enthusiasm lasted until we started to figure out really how much money we had vs. what we wanted! 

It was tough but after about an hour, we had it down.  DR advice is to use a zero based budget - give every dollar a name before the month begins.  This is a challenge - especially for those of us who tend to use the guessing game for budgeting (I know we aren't the only ones out there going, now what do we pay when??).  But thankfully with the help of online bank statements, finding old paid bills in the stack of unorganized mess we call a filing system, we did it! 

After falling asleep Saturday night, we were woken up once by EVERY. SINGLE. CHILD.  Riley (8) got up to use the bathroom and accidentally came in our room instead.  Isaac fell out of his bed while attempting to get out to use the bathroom.  Jake (5) came in our room at 4:45am to see if it was time to watch cartoons yet.  Piper woke up at 5:00am just because.  Yeah, we were not loving it very much, but I guess that is to be expected.

Sunday morning we were MIA from church due to the above reasons.  Yes, it's an excuse. . . and a mighty good one I think.  We made pancakes and eggs for the kids and a large pot of coffee for me.  After my nephews left, we had a wonderful morning of relaxing, playing, just hanging out in our PJ's.  After lunch, we all napped (whoo hoo again!) and we all must have needed it because everyone slept for at least two hours!  This rarely happens in our house anymore, so it was a extra special treat!  We then finally watched the end of Happy Feet.  Mark & I always laugh because we see about the first 20 minutes of movies about 100 times before we convince Isaac to let the whole movie play through. 

The rest of Sunday was spent with more playing, running a couple errands, supper, bath time and bed.  Then, (cue horror music again) it was time to tackle part 2 of the budget.  The allocated spending plan.  This is were you go into great detail about what bills will be paid what week with what income. 

Note:  For all of you out there who have never struggled with managing your finances, I can about       imagine your thought process right now.  It may go something like this, "How can these people be adults and not have any idea how to manage money?  What is so difficult about this?  How have they survived all these years?"  For you people, well, I don't have a good answer.  All I can say is we are learning it now and better late than never, right?  It is humbling, very humbling.

For those of you who struggle like us - WELCOME TO THE CLUB!  One of the encouraging things about taking FPU with a group is that you realize that you are not alone.  It is so freeing to be able to look at people at all different walks of life and income levels and be able to all say that we are in the same boat together.  Granted, without taking the class that boat is quickly sinking, but for us this class is a lifesaver.  Enough metaphors for you?

Back to the allocated spending plan.  After another hour, with only a few tense moments (Mark may have been annoyed about how I am the nerd of the group and I like things written out a certain way), we had it finished.  Tired and overwhelmed as I was, I. FELT. AMAZING! 

Having this first step of control in our finances is amazing to me.  No, we are not rich, and no, we are not out of the woods yet and yes, we still have a ways to go to reach our goals, but oh my goodness, there is such freedom in telling your money where to go. 

DR says that the first month of trying to stick to the budget is tough, second month a little better and the third month is better yet.  I am prepared to have many "emergency budget meetings" this month as life happens, but the fact that we have started this portion of our journey is so encouraging to me. 

All in all a wonderful weekend, full of everyday life and the trials it brings. 

What was your weekend full of?  (and yes I know, ending a sentence with a preposition is a no-no. . . )

No comments: