Monday, March 15, 2010

Our NEW Budget

What excitement and fanfare and well, fizzle... after all of our work in 2009 to kill our last debt--our mortgage--we kind of feel, um, bored. Not that we don't totally enjoy not having any payments anymore, that is great, it is more that we spent the last year frantically slaying this huge beast and now that it is dead we are kind of lost on what to do next. Hubby is a very goal oriented person, and I am to some extent. Having a shared plan of attack on the mortgage was great for us. Now we are both kind of coasting along without a clear target, and when we don't have a clear target... we tend to get distracted.

We sort of know what to do next: we want to buy land, start a business, invest, give more, travel, have fun... but there is no direct path or plan to get there. Our new budget has been on my mind, I hope that defining that will give us some excitement again to our finances.

Perhaps I like catchy silly slogans, it helps me keep focus, but here is what popped into my head for our new budget (drum roll please): Live, Give, Save... (now sad slide whistle noise...) is that it? Yep, that simple, and probably copied directly from Dave Ramsey.

LIVE--taxes, pay utilities, allowances, insurance, all the normal stuff.
GIVE-- 10% goes to our church for tithes, I'd also like to have a give budget for fun, additional stuff
SAVE--for land, business, etc...

So these simple little buckets are my way of trying to understand our new financial life. I have not looked at any numbers yet, but I wonder if it is possible to have an even split, 30/30/30... or even if we want to. Unless I"m totally not thinking of something important, that seems to be the main things you can do with money. Perhaps our 'live' bucket will be much heavier than I'm aware of, even without debts thrown in.

I'm not sure where our 401k/Roth IRA investing and college savings falls in these categories. I know it is technically 'save' since we are saving the money, but it is also just part of the normal bills we pay and not really something we have to think about or work toward, it just happens each month. I also have a really hard time as seeing this money as real. Yes, I get a statement each quarter showing growth, but since I've never seen nor touched that money, it all seems make believe to me--hopefully my 55 year old me won't have this same thought!

So here is my target, my goal, my new financial score card. Over the next years of our life, this may swing one direction or another, or maybe it will stay constant, but I hope it will help me keep focus on finances in a good way.

What is WONDERFULLY absent is the debt bucket.

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