Sunday, March 1, 2009

Budget is not a 4-letter word!

Seriously people! I get so frustrated when people look at me like I'm a leper when I use the words "budget" or "Dave Ramsey". I recently got in touch with an old college friend. Since Financial Peace is a big part of our life in the past year, I naturally talked about our progress while we were catching up. The response caught me off guard. "I've heard of Dave. I've actually seen his show on from time to time. We've always been pretty frugal, though, so I don't really listen to what he has to say." That really got me thinking. Just because you are frugal, doesn't mean you can't benefit from budgeting.

I used to consider myself a very frugal person. We don't have fancy furniture or toys. We didn't really buy things we couldn't afford. I always used coupons and shopped the ads. Despite all my efforts to save and be frugal, we were far from finding Financial Peace. I just didn't know it. We had just accepted the fact that we would probably always have a car payment and school loans. We didn't see any thing wrong with that. That's just part of the American Way, right? We were actively paying off our credit cards and pretty much stopped using them all together. We had transferred our balance to a 0% interest card, so we weren't even worried about that. We weren't living paycheck to paycheck. We never missed any payments. We had excellent credit. Why did we need to listen to the babblings of a conservative talk show host sold on himself?!?

I had no idea how much of an impact changing our mindset could make. If you've followed our journey at all, you will understand how wrong I was. The biggest shock for us was when we started writing down every penny. We always had a general budget in our mind, but didn't follow it to the penny. We certainly didn't account for EVERY penny we spent and earned each month. The truth is, we probably never even came close to following the budget. We just knew we had money in our account and could "afford it". Looking back now, I'm not even sure I would consider myself all that frugal. We certainly weren't any where near where we are today in terms of obtaining Financial Peace.

I think the real reward will come when we're debt free. I don't think we've even seen the full advantage at this point, but I know the time is coming. I honestly don't think we'll ever stop budgeting. I've seen the value of taking the time to keep track of our money. Knowing your bank balance doesn't tell you any thing. I think money has no power without a budget and there is no point in having a budget unless you track every penny. It just hit me... Budget is a 4-letter word. Budget = FREE. FREE from worry. FREE from foolishness. FREE from the ignorance that leads to financial disaster. I'm not saying people who don't budget are stupid. What I'm saying is that I would challenge them as to whether or not they really 'knew' where their money was going and what impact that money has/could have on their lives and their future.

When it comes right down to it... to each their own. I'm just glad Tim finally convinced me to listen to that babbling talk radio host. Thanks, Tim!!!


Rockin' Granola said...

I LOVE this post!

As you know, I've always been pretty frugal and done some things I know others might consider extreme ... but we were hemorraging money in other areas. You're so right: a budget and being frugal, making those every day choices, they work hand in hand. You need both. You need a plan AND a way to get there - not just hoping on blind luck that saving money at the grocery store will get the Visa paid off, you know?

Thanks for being so inspiring and to you and Tim for being such a good financial example for Chris & I.


Anonymous said...

Great post!



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