Rod and I sat down yesterday to redo our budget. Mondays are Rod's day off which was really good this week b/c Rod is still recovering from that horrendous stomach bug that flew thru our family.
Anyway, I am not sure when we first heard of Dave Ramsey, but we have always been frugal. It is just in our blood. However, we learned a lot from Dave when we went thru Financial Peace University. When we started the class at our church the only debt we had was our house and we felt pretty good about that. HOWEVER, we learned so many things that we were doing WRONG. When we started the class, we were very comfortable using our credit cards for all of our purchases. We'd pay it off every month and never thought about it. We never spent much anywhere but we really had no clue where our money was going.
After going thru FPU, we learned that we need to tell our money where it is going BEFORE the month starts. We also learned how effective it is to use a cash only system. We didn't believe it when we first heard about going cash only but OH MAN is it true! I put cash into envelopes for certain categories and when that envelope is empty you are done spending in that category for the month. Now, there are still things that we use our card for like gas for our vehicles. However, when we were doing cash only and telling our money where it was going BEFORE the month started our finances were better...simpler.
When Maggie got sick, we did what was easiest. We went back to using our cards. We were always traveling. Our minds were ....well, otherwise occupied. We stopped using our cash only system.
Our extreme frugal nature was also augmented. We both realized that life is short and that sometimes it is worth spending money in the here and now to see that look on your child's face or to make life easier. However, we are still much more frugal than not. I love the high of getting a good deal on something I really like! I know that people often think we are crazy but that is ok. For example, Rod is in charge of all the technology at the church - video, audio and computers. However, we do not have ANY flat screen TVs in our home. Rod keeps saying that until ours dies we don't need one. I mean seriously, he used to work in television, he gives advice to everyone else about what kind of flat screen TV to buy (LED or Plasma, blah blah, blah) but we are too frugal to buy one until ours is on the brink.
We tried to go back on our cash only system and neither one of us was fully dedicated to it yet. Some was just recovery and some was mentioned above. ("Recovery" is a whole other subject that is hard to explain and hard to understand unless you've been thru it.)
Anyway, so we knew after Christmas that we were going to get back on track with our cash system. We pulled out our Credit card statement and I almost got sick. When all you have to do is slide that card thru a machine you (ok, me) don't really keep track of how much you are spending.
What is so crazy is that even living with our system, we still have plenty for fun stuff. We still have satellite - which I still talk about losing as we spend too much time watching tv anyway. We still eat out (Rod eats out way too many lunches - but we are working on that - Sorry, honey!). Date nights are a high priority for us.
So, I will be heading out today to get our cash for the month. Feels so much better to have our cash only system back up and running and back to our normal frugal ways. :)