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2 AM and my eyes flew open. Had I transferred that money? I reached over and grabbed my phone and groggily punched in the passers for our bank account. Shoot! I was too late. The car payment had already gone through and overdrawn our account, since we had spent some unexpected money on a pizza and movie. We had good intention when we were budgeting, but never followed through.
This was utter insanity. I was stressed about money nonstop. We were current on bills, but only because I had become a master at robbing Peter to pay Paul. I shopped to cope with the stress, which often made me unmotivated to so much as cook dinner. Looks like we need to grab another pizza.
Does this sound familiar at all? The craziest part about this scenario, is that we knew better! I had taken Financial Peace University as a single, and completely paid off my debt, and had a nice chunk of money in the bank. When my husband and I got married, I married his financial situation, too, and that started the slow bleed on my bank account.
This fall we took Financial Peace again together. I was convinced this was going to revolutionize our budget. Until it didn’t.
We had the head knowledge to successfully get on a budget, but we lacked the discipline. We lacked a why.
Why did we want to get out of debt? I wanted to get out of debt to stop the stress, and be able to buy a house. But since I solely dealt with the finances, my husband didn’t feel that stress. And home ownership was not as important to him. We were all over the place.
I finally called an emergency budget meeting with him, and showed him what a dire situation we had gotten ourselves into. It SUCKS to really dig into your financial mess and see where you stand, but the pain is pretty temporary as you start to develop a plan to get yourself out of it. Know that the place you are in is the worst its going to get, and you can dig yourself out from there.
If you are afraid to balance your checkbook and see what your real financial situation is, I have a few words of advice for you.
Ask yourself what will change about your life when you don’t have debt. Really think about it. Make yourself a vision board, if that will motivate you. Will you have less stress? Be able to buy a home? Take a vacation?
Get a budget down on paper. Don’t just talk about changing your habits, write your budget down on paper. Like Dave Ramsey says, tell your money where to go. I like to write down my financial goals, and changes I want to make as well. There is something about writing it down that makes it more of a commitment.
Ask yourself, would I rather buy this item or reach my goal? For me this often sounds like, would I rather buy this pen or own a house? Would I rather skip making dinner and order in, or buy a house? That may seem silly, but in all reality that is exactly the choice you are making when you spend out of your budget.
Do you know your budgeting why?