Week 15, Day 7 (-5 pounds)
Heart: One of the roles I play in our house is ‘payer of bills’. This has some to do with my selfish need to be in control, some to do with my husband’s lack of time to do bills, and some to do with my BA in Mathematics. When we decided that I should stay home with my kiddos, we started putting money into savings just in case, so we could draw from there if we found we were tight one month. In the back of my mind, though, I wasn’t planning on having to use it. Unfortunately, we’re a couple of months into this new routine and I’m finding we are having to draw from that savings. It’s not because we don’t have the income to support staying at home, it’s more that we haven’t changed the way we live to accommodate it. Reading articles online everyone says to cut with things like cable, phone plans, internet, etc. Unfortunately, (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) we already have those expenses at a minimum. We don’t have cable, a few months ago we cut our phone bill by over 60% by switching to Google’s Project Fi (go check it out- it’s phenomenal!), and my husband keeps an eye on our internet cost and calls to get promotional rates if it goes up. Truthfully, our biggest problem is food. And not just any food… eating out! We do it for convenience without really thinking about it. Twenty dollars here, twenty-five there, no big deal, right? Well, if you absently do it 6 or 7 times per month, you’ve absently spent over $150!
The envelope system seems like a great idea… with the exception of having that much cash sitting around the house! So, we’re going to do our own version of it within our bank accounts. Via our bill system, we categorize our account for things like gifts, medical, vehicle, house, each of the kids, etc. Every month we deposit money into the account and it gets distributed into these categories. We may have quite a sum in savings and my husband will hear me say, “We don’t have any money for gifts right now!” Seems strange, because there’s money in the account, but there’s not money in the ‘gifts’ category. What we recently realized is that we need to add categories for things like gas, groceries, and eating out as well. Basically, our ‘envelopes’ exist within our account and before we buy something we ask ourselves, “Which category is this coming from and do we have the money for it in there?” Like I said, we already do it for many things, we’re just adding the things that are draining us!
Soul: Finances is such a big stressor and when it’s on your mind, it feels like it’s affecting every aspect of your life. My soul has been weary because of finances, but since working through a plan I actually feel an incredible weight lifted from my soul. We are called to be good stewards of our money, and this plan feels like just that. We had planned a big trip to Ireland next year to celebrate our anniversary and weren’t going to buy tickets until all of the money was sitting in savings. Well, last month we finished saving! Unfortunately, depositing the last $100 didn’t feel as great as I thought. I couldn’t put my thumb on why until I was paying bills and our car payment just kept sticking out to me. Finally, it dawned on me that it wouldn’t take much more than what we had saved for Ireland to pay off the car completely. So, Ireland got moved back a few years (the way we set up our bills makes saving up for things pretty simple, we just need the time) and, Lord willing, we’ll get the car paid off in the next year! This decision was not easy; we’ve been talking about this trip to Ireland since we started dating almost 15 years ago! It may not be easy, but it feels right. That’s where the weight gets lifted- in making the right choice, not necessarily the easy choice. Thank You, Jesus, for guiding us to this place and Your faithfulness in providing for us.
Strength: As of today, I’ve lost 8.5 inches and I’m down 5 pounds, woohoo! That means I’ve earned a manicure! It’s been years since I’ve had my nails done, so I’m beyond excited! Losing weight 5 pounds at a time seems way more doable than anything I’ve tried in the past! My next reward comes at 10 pounds, it’s a special hair tool I’ve been wanting and just haven’t gotten around to getting. Since I spent so much time on finances in this post, I’ll mention that these rewards are being paid for from my allowance. Knowing that it was my allowance paying for them made me choose things I typically don’t spend my allowance on because they feel ‘frivolous’. Using them as rewards helps me feel like it’s alright to spend my allowance on something as fun and silly as a manicure or hair tool- I earned it!