Good morning, Mamma! Happy Friday! Early this morning, before the kids were awake, my husband and I had our weekly Friday morning budget meeting. Second one in a row – Woot! Woot!
It’s weird talking about money, isn’t it? People just don’t do it. But it’s so huge. It is woven through just about every action of our day – such a terrible stressor or such a lovely safety net. It’s the number one thing married folks fight over; it’s why we work (well, part of why we work) right?
So, this budget meeting…
Oh, we’ve had a budget for years. I would type out a beautiful excel spreadsheet, anticipating costs for the year to come based on past bills and events coming up. I’d print it out and show it to husband – five pages of color coded beauty. He would thank me for my conscientiousness, we’d both comment on how much we’d have saved by the end of the year. We’d feel smug. We have a budget!
And sometimes we even followed it.
Mostly though, we just lived. Whoa! Class party that needs costume? It’s your turn to bring snack? What do you mean you lost your cleats? The too often Working Mommy crutches of Starbucks, take-out food and retail therapy. Dollars just dribbling away, seeping around the edges of our budget.
It happens. Apparently this year it happened to us a lot. Three weeks ago I opened the credit card bill (the one we have entirely paid off, with great fanfare, twice now in our marriage) and it was suddenly up into a nausea inducing level of debt that must be addressed. Cue the guilt and chagrin. Cue the panic and the embarrassment. Ugh! I hate the sick, scary feeling that we screwed up and the horrible pressure that comes with debt. How does this happen?
Well, we know how it happened so, thank God, we know how to fix it.
It happened because we spent when we felt like spending instead of spending the way we had planned to spend. And we can fix it by actually living our budget again instead of just looking at it.
Thus the Friday morning budget meetings.
How about you? Been there?
Thank God I have a partner willing to work with me on this. Thank God we’re both employed and we can get back on track fairly quickly. This is not easy stuff, but with two committed grown-ups in the house, it can be done.
This money stuff, this is tricky and tough to talk about, but it will cut your legs out from under you if you don’t get it under control, so brave the discomfort and plan a budget meeting.
Get some education if you, like me, had parents who didn’t teach you this stuff. Go to a class! Read a book! It’s not like you turn 25 and suddenly you absorb an understanding of assets, liabilities and interest rates. Years ago, husband and I read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. Great information. And funny too. We’re big fans.
Whatever plan you follow, I hope you have a plan, darling. Get this stress out of your life.
And it’s nice if you can do it week by week, over a yummy latte with your man. Makes you feel like a grown-up. Makes you feel like partners. Good stuff.