Monday, January 5, 2009

Meaningful Management

Monday is for looking at the finance part of my job. It's complicated, it's frustrating, and it's very, very important. Often in our society I find that this area of our lives is extremely private, but a place of hidden heartbreak. I think of myself as fairly transparent, but when it comes to finances, not only do I avoid talking about it, I avoid dealing with it. Not anymore. I'm going to use this forum to sort through the mess, praise the Lord in His provision, and take responsibility for what we spend.

We have always lived simply. From our earliest time together, Jason and I had the goal of living on a single income. We have had our bumps in the road, but mostly, we have met that goal. The Lord has always, always provided for us in obvious and unique ways. I have certainly struggled with my faith in this area of my life. I remember once in a Bible study on finances someone told us to write down realistic needs and pray that God would provide for them. I actually left the room to "go to the bathroom." Where I cried and cried. I realized I didn't believe in the Lord in this area of my life.

My faith in this area has increased as well as my stewardship of our finances. About two years ago, I asked Jason if I could manage our money. I realized I was the consumer in the house and I didn't really understand our expenses. He took a step of faith and let me. Many bumps along the way, but I'm still managing our money under the authority of Jason. We make decisions together, but I now understand better the expenses of our family.

That said, this Saturday Jason and I went on a budget date for the year. I highly suggest it. We went for lunch without the kids so we would be alert and ready to think numbers. Someone gave us a gift card to a restaurant and we spread out our bills and budget and ate and talked. It was great, but I left a bit tired and overwhelmed.

As we spent our time trying to figure out our expenses, we realized we aren't exactly sure where all our money goes every month. We wrote down every bill paid, estimated food, entertainment, and gas, but we still could not see dollar for dollar where it is all going.

So our assignment to ourselves this month is simply.....write everything down.

This will give us a better look at what our expenses really are. It won't be easy, but I think we have many expenses we don't even notice. I think the largest for our family will be all the quick trips to the grocery. Stay posted, we'll see where it's all going soon enough.

Next week, tackling debt!

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A place to find encouragement to love your little ones, your husbands and those you come in contact with daily. Two does not have to be terrible. These are years to grow not simply get through!