Saturday, February 07, 2009

Organization - The Budget

So, my newest obsession these days is money management, better known as BUDGETING. The term budget has only ever been a part of my vocab when referring to things I don't do. Mark and I are in our 10th year of marriage and undeniably this is an embarrassing little tid bit to share, but once again, this is Jamie, queen of all things backwards. I don't typically do things in the correct order, in fact, I think I'd make a great poster child for Experiential Learning Cycles, (maybe not, I don't think there's a 10 stage learning cycle). Better late than never, right? Just think of all that I have learned from NOT budgeting all these years, think of all that gusto now that I've finally found the last stage of said learning cycle.

The scoop...I now have a four page budgeting spreadsheet, along with two additional 2-page spreadsheets for the kids to manage their money as well. (If they inherited their momma's backward tendencies they need to start their experiential Learning cycle a bit early, right?) We're using a little bit of Dave Ramsey's envelope budgeting method, an ounce of my friend A's method and a dash of my own method that seems to be evolving on a daily basis. Really, it's all just common sense, with a few tools that force you to see what you thought you really didn't want to...but in the process you've realized the more you see the better you feel. I could compare it to good housekeeping- Everything has a place; but instead of the "stuff" having a place, we're talking about dollars. Instead of cramming everything in a closet for the instant gratification, we're planning where it all needs to go. Imagine that!
No, this is not rocket science.
Yes, we've always know we should be doing this.
No, you cannot have any of our money when we're rich like Thurston Howell.

We are super excited about this, and have spent a LOT of time planning and adding and getting real. More than anything though, I'm excited that our kids will get to see what it's like to WANT, and then to GET once they've achieved their goals, instead of wanting and then magically getting.
For example, last night we went out to dinner, (our planned Friday night dinner) and the kids both ordered sodas with their meals (a Friday treat). Fast forward...we're on our way home and they ask to stop at Mc Donalds for an ice cream cone. I told them that we already spent our budgeted out to dinner money for the night, but maybe next time if that's what they want to do they can order water with dinner and use that money for ice cream afterwards. They didn't push the subject because how can you, once the money is gone, it's gone, there is no other option.
If we don't have the money for something, there's no reason they shouldn't know that. If it doesn't fit within our budget, they should know that. We are teaching them nothing about being responsible with money by shielding them from the fact that YES, we do have a limited amount of money. With that being said, they now have a bi-weekly paycheck, just like Mark and I, that they have to manage. They have a register where they keep track of their money, just like a check register. They also have a savings register where they deposit 10% of their "paycheck" for whatever it is that they are saving for...for Ash it's a car. Alex doesn't have anything he's saving for yet, but that's the cool part, it doesn't always have to be for something he wants now, it can be for something unplanned. The point is to get them to experience the thinking process that should go along with spending money, which up until now, has only been an action...for kids and parents alike.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The burb

In my last post...though I'm not sure if it actually qualifies as a post...I introduced our newest purchase. Two weeks later, I am IN LOVE with my new car/bus. Never did I imagine myself driving a big honkin vehicle such as this, in fact just last year I was trying to figure out a way that I could drive a compact car. HA! It's amazing how quickly things change. We were actually out and about looking for my first love, the Toyota Sequoia, when we were introduced to the burb. The sales guy really wanted us to take a look at it, while I was reluctant. I have never owned an American car, and had already made up my mind that I was getting a Sequoia or nothing....until I opened the door to my gorgeous new burb. I fell in love instantly. I had no idea how NICE this was going to be. There absolutely nothing this vehicle is lacking, and oh the comfort! The soft cushy seats all but cradle your body.

The burb was purchased to replace the van AND the truck. We needed something large enough to handle the kids, four dogs, and all of the accouterments required for said creatures. The only down side to finding our new car was the timing. We had intended to sell the car and truck prior to buying something new, but alas, here we are with a driveway full of vehicles. FOUR to be exact. Yes, I realize how ridiculous this is. Sooo, with that being said if anyone would like to buy a 2001 Nissan Quest (one owner!!) or a 2004 Ford F150 Supercrew Lariat, please CALL ME! These have been super vehicles for us, it was just time to upgrade.