For me, budget used to be a four-letter-word. When Michael and I first got married, I had this debilitating fear of money. Like, I was okay with using it... but on a very frugal, as needed basis. But I did not want to know how much we had, if we were in trouble, how much I was spending, etc. I just knew that I didn't want to go into debt.
So my sweet husband handled all the bills, really, all the finances for the first two years we were married. For those two years, I didn't even open a bank statement. I just trusted him to tell me that we were doing okay. Which brings us to last summer.
I was no longer bringing in an income, but we did have another mouth to feed. And our "cushion" from my working days was beginning to dwindle. If we didn't begin to make and stick to a budget immediately, we would be in trouble. See, it wasn't that we didn't have the money to make my staying at home work... it was that we just weren't handling it right.
But remember, budget is a four-letter-word to me.
So Michael solved that problem. Programmer that he is, he's always looking to write simple software that solves basic, life problems. It's a hobby of his, really. So Michael wrote myBudget. It's a very simple, easy to use budgeting software that would help us keep track of our spending. And somehow, it was nonthreatening enough for me to consider using. And in fact, I did use it. And I continue to use it!
And amazingly enough, my fear of things financial has dwindled. I can see, at a glance, where I have wiggle room and where I have to tighten up. In fact, we already know that next month we're going to have to re-evaluate our budget for groceries -- because I've busted it twice in the past two months. (Diapers and formula, anyone?) The trick to myBudget is that you actually have to use it -- it doesn't budget for you!
If you're interested in reading more about myBudget, check our Michael's blog about the software, or go to the myBudget project page. You can download it for free there. It is truly worth your while, and I promise that if you are committed to using it, it will simplify your budgeting and will bring you a greater sense of financial peace. I promise.
For other great tips and ideas, check out Works for Me Wednesday!