Friday, February 4, 2011

FOCUS FRIDAYS!! How Do You Budget to Enjoy Life and Not Just to Pay Bills?

I remember watching Oprah one day and Oprah said to Will Smith, "It was a lot easier to manage $100.00 a week, wasn't it?"  This reminded me that not matter how much money we make, there will always be difficult decisions involved!
My husband used to take care of all the finances; however, recently I've decided to be more involved.  Yippee!!  First, let me clarify that I want to be more involved not because my husband is not capable of it but I decided that I should know more about what's coming in and where it's going and also take more responsibility for things. 
Our finances are a bit complex (rental properties, side business, etc.) so it gets ovoverwhelming at times for my husband to handle it all but unfortunately, the transition toward me being "more involved" hasn't exactly been easy!  In recent months, I have made a conscience effort to change my spending habits including shopping less, RARELY eating out, picking up a part time job, and going to the bookstore to read a book for my "me" time (rather than getting a pedicure or going shopping).  These changes have been a little bit challenging but definitely a good learning experience for both of us. 
We are trying to work together to cut some expenses.  We have begun cutting coupons together and comparison shopping with the curriculars and we have managed to save A LOT of money that way.  I have attempted to do this in the past but I am not very good at figuring out how much diapers cost per diaper (for example!) in order to figure out how much you are saving!

We also started meeting quarterly to go over our finances...that has not been easy! But in the end, I think it will definitely be a good thing (plus, it's definitely empowering for me!)

Here's the is power.  When you let money control you (which I have always done!), you feel a great sense of chaos and a lack of control.  But staying on top of all the medical bills, student loans, and many other issues that come up can also be very overwhelming (especially for one person!).  So, I guess the great difficulty is how to budget for enjoying life and not just paying bills? That's the million dollar question and the goal that I think most of us are trying to achieve.  I'm hoping that these changes help us to really be real about where our money is going and also spend our money on our future (we started a 401K and 529) instead of spending it on our past!

What ideas do you have?  How often do you and your significant other discuss finances?  Have you found any particular advice helpful?  Please share your thoughts and ideas with us!

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