This past year, we made a huge change to the way we manage our money. We had been doing just fine for the last three years, but we had specific goals we wanted to reach this year and long term when it came to finances and we really wanted to take control of our money. We certainly weren’t living paycheck to paycheck, but we weren’t saving nearly as much as we could have been and we weren’t always certain of where our money was going each month.
We switched over to a budgeting system that now tracks every single dollar that we spend. If it comes out of our account, it has to find a home in the budget. So at the end of every month, we can sit down and get an overview of each and every transaction. In addition, we started to manage our money so that we weren’t living to the full extent of our means. We really wanted to live on a budget based lower than our salaries so that we could start saving more and also be more prepared in case something were to happen with our jobs.
It’s been a really drastic change and it hasn’t always been an easy one, BUT it’s been one of the most positive changes we’ve ever made to our lives! There’s a certain level of freedom that you achieve from your finances when you have a gameplan. Not only are we prepared for every day life, but we’ve made enough strides towards the unexpected that we feel secure in case of surprise expenses.
I have been thinking about sharing a series on this topic for a while but was never sure if it would be interesting. Now that I’ve been in this system for the better part of a year, I really want to put this series together. It’s been incredibly life changing in so many areas of our lives. It’s also not a common discussion for young couples. Money management is usually saved for the 40s-50s brackets, but the impact of starting in your 20s-30s is absolutely incredible.
The need for the switch in our case came from moments of anxiety. We never really knew how much money we had. Lots of guesses were being made about what we could and couldn’t afford and guessing is always coupled with stress. Treading water isn’t actually swimming and we realized this once our joints had become stiff and achy from all the flailing. By no means were we drowning, but we certainly hadn’t made it anywhere.
After a year of budget living, I can proudly say we’ve swum places. The destinations weren’t always thrilling, but they were comforting. Life in fact can’t always be grandiose, but it can be intentional, and it’s that intentionality that we craved. We needed to feel more that we were the ones controlling our money rather than what we had previously felt which was that our money was controlling us. No object should have authority over a living being. No merchandise, piece of paper or coin should govern a person’s emotional state.
And those truths are the ones that I want to share with you. I hope that by sharing our journey that you can find some freedom. I know the idea of money immediately raises red flags and sends anxious souls running for the hills, but just know- I’m with you. Daily decisions aren’t always easy, but they are fruitful and with progress comes forgiveness in failure. I’ll be with you in both.
Until next time!