Budgets. Do you do have a budget? I have to admit that we never had a budget before Dave. Even now we're still struggling well past the 90 mark Dave says it'll take to get in the groove. We have started using the cash envelope system as well. You can't really "do" Financial Peace without getting into the envelope system. It's definitely helped us keep our gas and grocery budget in line over the last few months.
I think the hardest part about the budget is saying NO. The social stigma of it. You feel like your friends and family will think less of you if you say no. Over Christmas this year we didn't go crazy on gifts. I didn't actually say the word no to anyone except myself and if anyone felt like we were cheapskates over the holidays, I assume they're over it by now.
Recently we had to say no to a lunch date with our house church. We weren't headed anywhere pricey but we were at the end of the month. All grocery/food money had been exhausted and we were just trying to stay out of the red. We had to say no. I felt guilty and a little embarrassed but then I just try to remember FPU. It isn't my money to throw away however I like. I am the steward, it is God's money and sometimes you just have to say NO.
How are you at saying NO? In our culture today everyone is YES YES YES ... I WANT I WANT I WANT. There really is little delayed gratification and I think that's what NO helps us with. Delaying the pleasure until we can truly afford it. That's important. We aren't helping ourselves when we spend money we don't have, when we rack more debt up on the credit card.
Budgets really have been a four-letter word to me until the past six-months. Now I see a budget as an opportunity or even a challenge to get better at staying within our set perimeters. An opportunity to tell our money where it goes.
If you don't already, I challenge you to start making a budget. Start with good old pencil and paper & don't be discouraged the first few months. Like everything it takes time and practice.