Money… Studies show one of the greatest areas of conflict in marriages concerns a couple's finances. Usually one person is the saver, while the other is the spender. Obviously, this can cause some tension in the home, if communication (another area of conflict) is not flowing in friendly fashion. We have had our share of high wired Monday night budget nights. I strongly believe though, that one of the keys to staying on the same page concerning your family’s finances is to have a budget. You either feel goosebumps of excitement over that word “budget” or you are experiencing your lunch returning at the thought.
We are definitely blessed to have been carefully guided by my parents in this area. Debt has never been an option for us (except for a house payment). My dad told Marty soon after we started dating that if he even considered marrying me that he needed to go ahead and pay off his debts. He did so promptly, for which I am so thankful. There may be times in the future in which we will need to get a loan of some kind, but only in extreme circumstances.
I’ll not bore you for much longer, but I just wanted to give a glimpse of the categories we use in our family budget. We have gleaned these from Crown Financial Ministries, Dave Ramsey, and other friends who have shared from their years of budgeting.
o Tithe (10% of our income given to God through our local church)
o Utilities (water, electricity, gas for our home)
o Phone (cell phones & internet)
o Auto Insurance (we pay yearly, but budget an amount once a month so it’s there when it’s time to pay)
o Gas (for our two vehicles)
o Auto Maintenance (oil changes, car repair, etc)
o Groceries (I hope to write about this area tomorrow.)
o Recreation (eating out, Redbox movies, Netflix, etc)
o Clothing (for our whole family)
o Medical/Dental (doctor bills, prescriptions, medicines from Whole Foods)
o Mortgage (our monthly payment & our neighborhood fees)
o Missionaries (Right now, we support two families minimally and hope to add another family soon. This portion is to be given in addition to our tithe.)
o Vacation (We feel that getting away even for a night or two is so important as a family, so we make this a priority in our budget, even if it’s just a little bit.)
o Christmas (We set aside $50 a month toward Christmas and by the time Christmas comes, we can enjoy the blessings of giving debt- free.)
o Gifts (birthdays, graduations, baby showers, etc)
o Blow money (Marty & I have a small amount allotted each month to spend as we please. From this money, I enjoy my scones & coffee each week, and any craft items I want to buy.)
o Home school (We budget a certain amount for the year and use this money for books & supplies, extra-curricular activities, our home school co-op, and field trips.)
o House Maintenance
o Miscellaneous (stamps, batteries, etc)
Hopefully, this wasn’t too boring. I wanted to address this subject because I feel so strongly about it, and also to encourage me to be more diligent in keeping up with our own budget. Our “plan” is to look over our budget on a weekly basis as a couple, adding receipts to the checkbook, deducting from the budget, and staying on tract together in our family’s spending. Still an area that I need to work on…