Hi! Who here feels like they could use a little extra cash? Everyone, right? I’d venture to say that most people would like a little more green in their lives, and not just for St. Patty’s Day.
During the month of March, I’m going to focus on my finances. Before having children, I tracked every single cent of our family’s income. I paid all the bills. I knew down to the penny how much we had, how much we spent, and how much we were saving. Then I had a child. And I stopped having the energy to keep up with our finances. I let my husband take over, and I never picked it back up. My oldest daughter is turning seven this year. Clearly, it’s high time I got involved in our finances again.
Why it’s important to know your financial situation
The best things in life are free, and the love of money may be the root of all evil. Even so, money is a necessary commodity for life. You’ll need money to have a home and shelter, to eat, to have transportation to go from here to there, to obtain a higher education, and so much more.
It’s okay to lean on your spouse on occasion, but if your spouse is no longer able to handle the family’s finances for whatever reason, you’ll want to be aware of your financial situation. You don’t want to have to deal with any surprises. And unfortunately, sometimes there are surprises. We’ve all heard horror stories of wives blissfully unaware that the family was actually on the verge of bankruptcy. I don’t think my husband would ever pretend that everything was fine when it wasn’t, but I doubt anyone thinks that would happen to them.
Besides, knowing how much money you have and where your money is going is empowering. It gives you a sense of ownership over your finances. When you are mindful of the value of a dollar, you are more likely to use your resources wisely, separating your wants from your needs. Once you know where your money is currently going, you can make changes. Once you see how the changes are working, you can tweak and adjust as necessary.
On a personal level, when I am not aware of our finances, I start to get a little panicky that maybe we are spending too much. And maybe I need to find drastic ways to cut back. However, knowing what my current situation lets me see the reality of my situation and keeps me from fretting over what-ifs. It keeps my anxiety over money at bay.
I have a few goals for myself this month. First, I want to update, FOLLOW, and maintain our budget. We’ve had a budget written out since I can remember, but gracious, what good is a budget if we don’t follow it?! It’s like trying to lose weight by sitting down and watching a exercise video. It’s not magical, friends! A budget only works if you actually use it.
A second goal of mine is to be a more mindful consumer by taking a moment to think about what I’m buying before buying it. My mantra will be “Do I need this?” And when I inevitably answer myself with “No, not really, but I WANT it so badly!” I’ll sleep on it before actually making the purchase. Those impulse purchases can wait. I’m going to take the time to really consider each and every purchase before making it this month.
This month is about educating myself as well. Financial lingo can be overwhelming, and I have a lot to learn. I’m very excited to try out different ideas for saving money on groceries and food, which surprise, surprise, is one of our biggest monthly expenses after our mortgage. You know I love food! I also want to start teaching my daughters responsible financial habits. I’m looking forward to looking into other options for saving for our daughters’ educations and to reevaluate where we are currently squirreling away our money. Lots to learn this month, and I’m so glad that I’m taking the time to focus on this! Excited to see how it all goes!
Is there anything specific you’d like to learn about when it comes to finances and saving money? If so, let me know in the comments, and maybe I’ll be able to help!