How to Make it Work

Budget, budget, budget! I know it can be tough to do, but it can also be free-ing! If you've budgeted in even fun stuff then you won't feel guilty for "indulging" yourself. Budgeting also reigns in the expenses because if you're out of money and you're not using a credit card, you don't buy it! 
There are different ways to budget out there (for example setting aside a certain percentage for each category). Ellie Kay uses this method. We couldn't do her method (at least not now), but it may work for you. We use a spread sheet on Excel and list all of our monthly expenses (e.g. Consumer's Energy, DTE, giving to our church, groceries, paying off Credit Card (which we did), savings, etc.) Once that is all in, we put in a column what those expenses are for the month (most of them should stay relatively close each month).  My husband used Excel to automatically calculate if we're in the negative or not that month based on the income and expenses. I have it set up for a whole year and each month has it's own tab on the spreadsheet. That way I can easily look at each month and can also make sure I've got everything covered. For example, adding the garbage pick up every 3 months or the utility bill every 3 months. I budget in birthdays, anniversaries, etc. for the appropriate month as well as the kids' pictures that I do once a year. I have everything typed in red for each month. As a bill is paid, I mark it in black and also make sure the correct amount is reflected in the spreadsheet. This helps me keep tabs on things, notice if a bill is considerably higher than usual and also helps make sure all the bills get paid on time to avoid late fees. (Late fees--another huge waste of money or how about those overdraft fees. Ouch! Hate those! Another good reason to stay on top of your finances.) Doing this has been great because as Dave Ramsey teaches, we want to tell our money where to go/what to do rather than have it control our lives. We are still on the road to getting all this in order and life sometimes adds fun surprises along the way to make you stop and pray when you have no idea how to make this all work. Thankfully, our Father in heaven cares about every detail of our lives and I have seen Him work on our behalf in ways that only He could!

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