Wednesday, June 19, 2013

// let's talk about money, shall we

i hate money. money really sucks. 
it is stressful and it causes disagreements 
if i could pay for things in goats and bushels of berries i would. i swear. 
but i can't... hence the reason for this post. 

in my marriage, i have been pretty careful to avoid fights about money.
in fact, i've avoided a huge number of conversations about finances over the years. 
it was kind of simple because we used a cash budgeting system. 
for four+ years i've been the wife who just gets cash and spends cash.
not frivolously. i am careful with the money i manage. but i'm not aware of the bigger picture. 
i don't know how much the mortgage is, the electric bill, the water bill... 
truth be told i'm not even sure what bills we pay.

it worked for us.
i never put up much objection to how much we set aside for groceries or entertainment or anything really.
phil put cash in my budget accordion and i just smiled and shopped.

after a series of recent events, 
phil and i had to change our method of budgeting and now we're using an online system.
this means that we've been have been having more and more and more conversations about money.
the current budget, planning for the future, cutting/spending, how to make more money, etc.
it's been a joy, let me tell you.

i'm not the happiest person about this development (can you tell?) 
i'm a big believer that ignorance is bliss but ignorance isn't always responsible.
definitely not when it comes to moolah. 

as these conversations happen and i get acquainted with the new system, i'm becoming more informed.
and these are some of the results of being informed:

.p e r s p e c t i v e.

with the new system, it's all RIGHT THERE. 
there is no ignoring that i spent too much on this or that.
i can see how much i've spent and where. how much i have left.
if i spend too much on something, it gives me a big red sign. a scarlet letter for the frugally-minded.

i'm starting to see the big picture. 
i'm starting to think: 
if we do this, then we can't do that 
if we spend this, then it's less money we save this month
if we save here, then we can splurge there

i have a lot of wants.
it may be human nature or it could just be a result of living in a society that brews consumerism.
either way, i think it's normal to want things.
it's normal and good to dream and dream big.
some wants have to be curbed and some have to become goals.

.e m p a t h y.

as a stay-at-home mom i think it is giving me empathy for the breadwinner of the house.
the budget is tight but there are always more expenses coming up
and they are never little expenses...
a new refrigerator, dental procedures, a leaky roof that needs mending from the outside.
i feel bad for the stress phil might feel.

i keep thinking back at recent requests i've made: 
a wedding anniversary ring and an anniversary getaway next year. 
a week long rental at the shore this summer.
another two weeks in costa rica for my cousins wedding.
a new camera lens.
preschool for jacob. 
a new deck. 
a new kitchen table. 
a finished basement.

these are all things i've made off-hand requests in the last few weeks. 
things i want and just blurt out. 
we don't need any of that. i know it.
in reality i know most things wont happen 
but i say them anyway as if just to put it out there in the world. 
i am only imagining how the wheels in phil's brain 
were working overtime to figure out how to make some of that happen. 
because he's like that... wants to make me happy.
i also thought about all these years that he's had all the weight of making the money, 
handling the finances on his own, all the while  with a wife making requests all the time. poor guy.

since looking at the budget more in-depth, i can see what we can afford. 
it has also made me prioritize "extra" things. 
i know we have to go to my cousin's wedding and that jake needs preschool.
everything else falls far behind. 

.m o t i v a t i o n.

if anything has come out of this change we made is motivation.
a little while ago i decided that clipping coupons wasn't worth my time. 
well, that's a lie. coupons save a ton of money if you do it right. 
so i'm determined to start trying again. not looking forward to it but alas.

it has given me the motivation to find ways to simplify. to do things for less. and to plan for purchases. 
to find ways to make a buck or save a buck.

.g r a t e f u l n e s s.

this one is somewhat of a forced result from this whole sha-bang. 
i've made myself be grateful.
we have enough money to live and pay the bills and do some extra things.
that's more than some people can say.
having "too little savings" is kind of a non-problem if i remember that it's all God's money anyway. 


Carina Schoen said...

love this! and so timely :)

Allison said...

I have tried to live on the 'ignorance is bliss' side of money too... but when the budget is so tight that every cent counts, you can't do that anymore. it is so hard for me to change my attitude about money though...

ladybug said...

Great post Esther. And a good reminder that voicing too many of our hopes and dreams all at once can add stress to our poor husbands who are the breadwinners.


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