Budgeting

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When I shared with you our financial story to date, I mentioned that after one year of marriage (even with spending less than $4000 on our wedding/honeymoon) we realized we were $38,500 in debt. This was student loans, car loan, and credit card debt. We were 26, Josh was making $28,000 per year as a youth pastor, and I was working part-time for a mission in the city. Not long after gaining true perspective on our financial situation and consolidating all our bills into one place, we discovered we were pregnant with our first son.

Then came the whirlwind of moving to a new city for a new job, Josh becoming the sole provider after Josiah was born (he was now making $40,000, but we were living in a much more expensive neighbourhood and our dream of home ownership flew out the window!), finding out we were pregnant with our second son when Josiah was 12 months old, moving into a new place in town, Josh getting laid off due to budget constraints at the church, losing our Caleb to stillbirth, jobs not panning out for Josh even after at least 20 interviews all over North America, moving 4 times in the next year for whatever jobs we could find, and settling on living in our current Northern Ontario city. We were completely broke, Josh was working part-time at the hospital in food services, and I was a stay-at-home mom. We knew that even more changes were needed to give our growing family the future we hoped for.

It was time to make a budget.

I’ve always leaned towards frugality by nature, and Josh always leaned far away from it! Josh loves to tell the story of how one night, early in our marriage, he suggested we go out to dinner and a movie. I proceeded to quickly inform him that it was not cheap ticket Tuesday, so it was impossible to go to the movies that evening. He told me it was going to be OK. When I asked him where he wanted to go for dinner, he mentioned places like Montana’s or Casey’s or Milestones. I proceeded to tell him he was off his rocker, and that I really appreciated the Super-Value menu at Wendy’s. We comprised (as we’ve done many times since!) and settled on Wendy’s and a full-price movie. If it was Tuesday, we could have done this whole evening out for under $20 – that’s my kind of date! Instead we spent about $30 – I can live with that!

So here we were, with two different extremes in looking at finances, but knowing it was time to figure out our spending and create a budget.

I did some research, and learned so much about what our family should be spending on household expenses. I discovered so many ways to save money in the areas in which we were currently over-spending. Step by step we came up with a budget that was reasonable for us.

I’d love to walk you through those steps in hopes that somewhere along the way I can help you gain confidence in your household budget.

More to come next week – the first step is tracking your fixed and variable expenses – stay tuned…

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