The b word was said. And when I hear it I just cringe. It's a word I've kind of always hated and have turned away from. There was always nothing appealing about it. At all. Budget. Until now.
We started a new budget for the year and let me tell you, it's actually going better than I thought. I started researching different ways to budget and looking at our numbers with my husband. It was not fun at first. I felt overwhelmed and I put the thought into my head that I was doing something way wrong. (Did NOT come from my husband - this was a feeling I created all on my own doing and he's actually the most patient and loving ever) I felt like our budget was a bit impossible to be honest. But the more research I did, the more I was understanding that any budget set in place is a learning experience and can teach you so many things about yourself. For example, we spend a lot of money on groceries and a lot of money on eating out. So something didn't quite add up there for me. Both categories needed to be cut down for sure, but we also needed to wisely plan out our eating and making sure no grocery is going to waste (sometimes a tomato still just doesn't get cooked and that's okay lol). We needed to be intentional. If I'm honest, that's a word that I heard about a thousand times in college and still giggle at. Intentional with friends. Intentional with your time. Intentional with your social media (if you went to a Christian college like me, you can probably relate deep to this). But in this scenario, it's true. And Jesus told us to be intentional with our money.
Money, no matter the amount, is a blessing from God and we are told to steward it wisely because it ultimately belongs to Him. "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him." Psalm 24:1
Dave Ramsey says, "Stewardship is managing God's blessing God's way for God's glory." This was so simply put but holds the biggest truth. How cool it is that God gave us this responsibility. One that is big, not to be taken lightly, but also comes with so much grace. I've been going through many thoughts over the past couple of months with this quote. I've felt a little shame and guilt with how I've been spending money and not stewarding it well. But I've also seen the amount of grace and freedom that God so freely gives. So not matter what stage you are in in life and no matter what you have, it's okay to start stewarding it all in a different light today.
So what are we doing different? After lots of research and time and budget Tik Toks (yes, you read that right), I was so intrigued with the cash budgeting system and cash envelopes. I had always known about this system growing up in church - designed by Dave Ramsey, a Christian financial advisor. Christian or not, this method is used by so many around the world as a budgeting system. And let me tell ya, cash budgeting Tik Tok will be a rabbit hole for you.
So we made our budget. Decided what categories we would use cash for - groceries, eating out, gas, entertainment, etc. Because most of our bills are auto-draft, we made sure that our budget with cash would leave enough for those bills every month. Now I could tell from the start that this cash system would be mostly for me. My husband is very good at seeing a budget on the computer and sticking with it, keeping up with the numbers. For me, if you want me to stick with it, I need Jesus and physical money so I can see how close we are getting to $0 and can space it out way more if needed. I also started learning (from Tik Tok of course) that there is so much that you could do with leftover money from the money or bi-weekly paychecks, however you set up your budget. You could set up a savings envelope for upcoming traveling, Christmas, wedding gifts, fancy date nights, etc. With this, there was a since of freedom and excitement to save.
We're still learning together. We're giving ourselves grace where grace is needed. Jesus is giving us grace. But with prayer and welcoming Jesus into this area into our lives, my hope is that the desire to steward our finances well will continue the rest of our lives and into our future family.
Here are some of the research I did and learned from! And yes, just search Tik Tok cash stuffing or cash envelopes and prepare for that rabbit hole.