About a year ago, we made a post about our first attempts at budgeting. That was back in April 2014.
So how are we doing now? Well we're not quite as regimented as we were when we started; surprisingly, the biggest change is not that we're more conscious of where our money goes, but rather that talking about our money situation isn't as big a thing.
Let's take a look at what we were thinking back then and compare that to how we've evolved since then.
Logging Our Expenses
At the onset, we were pretty good at doing our budget every week. As the day to day turned into the week to week, we started doing that budget every month, then every two months, then when we set aside time to do the budget.
The last time we did our budget was in February before we left on our road trip out to Florida. We will start that back up again now that we're settling into life in St Pete's. But what we've discovered is that "doing the budget," tallying up our receipts and entering them into a spreadsheet, did three things:
- It introduced a new thought process that we didn't have before: being conscious and aware of where we were actually allocating our money.
- It made us both feel more equally involved in planning the financial part of our goals and ambitions.
- It created a time for us to openly discuss how we both felt about the direction of our spending without anxiety.
It didn't make us budget experts, we're not any more or less frugal than we are, we both still maintain and manage our own finances individually, and we don't deprive ourselves of the occasional pizza treat either.
Discussing Money Without Anxiety
This is probably the biggest benefit to have emerged from doing a budget together. We aren't perfect at doing it - but even then, we benefited from this effect. It's kinda neat because money is one of those things widely known to cause a lot of strain which introduces problems where there would otherwise be none.
Don't get me wrong. When money gets tight, it still causes a lot of stress and strain. The difference now is that talking about when money gets tight and figuring out a plan to move forward isn't simply put off until the issue can no longer be ignored.
Just like we found after just a few "doing the budgets," the activity went really quickly... oftentimes only as long as it took us to have our morning coffee together. :)