Unfortunately it took me many years and my husband losing his job in 2007 when the construction industry took a huge hit in Florida and we were going into a recession. We almost lost everything took many years of both of us working 2 and 3 jobs to make up for his one.
When my kids were growing up I taught them how to balance a checkbook and write checks explained the importance of living within their means then realized we didn’t practice as adults what I was preaching to them. So it wasn’t until I bought the Dave Ramsey Total Money Make over that I really knew what a budget was.
I always was good with paying everything on time but if the kids wanted extra we would never say no and would put it on our credit cards. I would say we can pay it when the bill comes in next month well then something comes up the car needs new tires, someone gets sick has to go to the doctor, dentist, needs new glasses etc so with a blink of an eye we were now in debt and the budget went out the window. That’s when I said enough was enough I need to get strict with myself and sat at the kitchen table with all our bills and tried to figure out how in the world what Dave Ramsey is saying in this book is going to work for us.
Still a work in progress Dave Ramsey suggest an envelope system and label them with Groceries, clothes, spending money, vacation money and so on and so on put the amount of cash for the week or month that you are allowing for these expenses and once the money is gone that is it until the next month. Sticking to that budget some days is impossible but if you fail that week it’s ok try harder next week. He also refers to paying your debt off by using the snowball effect. Pay the minimum on all your bills and the bill that you owe the least on take whatever extra money you have and pay it on that balance this will get it paid faster. Then once you pay that credit card off take the monthly amour you use to pay on the card you just paid off and put it with the minimum payment of your next least balance and keep going until you are debt free.
I know this sounds so easy and everyone is like oh I can do it without putting any effort into it but it is very hard in the life we live now but if you set a budget for your household and don’t steer away from it anything is possible. You can use a spread sheet and list all your bills, put all your bills on a calendar every month so you can see what date everything is due. I know now a days no one does a checkbook anymore except me I think lol everyone just looks on their app on there smart phones and says yup I have money in the bank so I can buy this or we can go out to eat. For me visually seeing every item written in my checkbook keeps me more aware and on budget.