Keeping a budget around this household has become part of the way we are taming our household mess.
This part of taming our household mess started long before we decided to go for a simpler materialistic lifestyle. It started by necessity, rather than luxury. For a really, really long time, we flew by the seat of our pants around here, financially. There was no plan, no discipline, no knowing for certain even what went out of this house. It got really bad and really scary for a long while.
That’s not the way things are anymore, due to a long series of events I don’t care to re-hash here. But, there are lessons to be learned from our budget besides the nuts and bolts of how we manage the household, logistically.
The main lesson I get from our budget is: knowledge and discipline are freedom.
Secretly, I love budget time every month. It’s the time we work out a large, messy puzzle. And then, the rest of the month, it’s sort of like a game, seeing how closely what we predicted where will go where. We’re not nearly as far off these days as we were when we started this monthly pattern last November.
There are side benefits, too: Jared and I are forced to communicate on a routine basis about how we run the household. And when we do communicate about our finances, we are reminded that we are really on the same page, on the same team here. That only helps our relationship.
When I get behind on keeping up with the input to our tracking software (which is my duty, one of the ways we’ve broken down the household tasks), it’s sort of like my barometer for how I’m doing psychologically. If I’m in avoidance mode, I’m not well and I’ll avoid the software like the plague, as if it were some little virtual somebody I could play out my social anxiety through. (The good news is, the tracking software doesn’t care!)
Today was “put together the budget day” (a few days late), and tonight we’ll have our impromptu budget meeting. I know it sounds weird to say I love our budget, but it takes the guesswork out of so much for us and with that, a TON of my worry just evaporates. And that leaves me free to assign my worry elsewhere!
I could go on and on. We use YNAB as our financial software and the YNAB system has saved both our finances and with it, our marriage, really. If you’re in the market for that sort of thing, I highly recommend it. And this isn’t even an affiliate link– I’m saying that because it’s true for our household.