So, I’ve been thinking of starting a blog, but who has time?! And what would I call it? It would just be the ramblings of a middle-aged, over-worked, budget- and health-conscious woman. And we all know there are enough of those kinds of blogs already!
But I wanted to put this down on paper (so to speak), so that when I am no longer middle-aged but old, I’ll be able to remember these times. The times when it seems the financial stress will never end. The times when the debt gets bigger instead of smaller (or at least, stays the same), no matter how hard you try. The times when it seems our adoption is NEVER going to happen. The times when I look around me and just cry, because I can’t do it all.
You see, I’m hoping that when I am old, all this will just be a distant memory. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to relax on the front porch with my hard-of-hearing but oh-so-sweet husband and not have to worry if the laundry is done so that I have something to wear to work tomorrow.
But, in the mean time, there is laundry to be done and dishes to be washed and groceries to be bought and dinner to be made and therapy dog visits to do and forty hours of work every week and… You know what I’m talking about. And at the end of the week, there’s never enough. There’s never enough time, never enough money, never enough prayer or bible study, never enough patience or self control.
However, this week has been different. Only slightly, but different nonetheless.
This week, we started a new budget. Yes, we’re doing the envelope budget. We had no choice. I used to think that I could budget everything with just the checkbook, but… No. Realistically, no. We received the always-so-welcome (NOT!) news that two of our monthly payments would be increasing. And, of course, there is no increase in the money coming in. At the end of the week, that was the one thing that was still the same.
So I took a good, long, hard look at our spending and our budgeting. Well, I probably mean mostly my spending and budgeting. Brian is Mr. Tightwad himself! I wish I was like that. *sigh* Although, I have had the same $20 bill (emergency $) in my purse for about 3 months now! (I’m so proud of myself!) Anyway, I then took several envelopes and wrote on them the largest categories of our spending. And, boy, was I surprised when I did the actual calculations of how much we would need to put in each one each payday! I didn’t think we even MADE that much money!!!
And then I showed Brian the plan. I laid out for him all my calculations of how much we bring in, how much needs to go in each of the envelopes and how much extra we can pay on the debt now, because of this. And we agreed that there can be NO cheating with this budget!
I have been praying for a year or more that God would show us what to do to get out from under this burden of debt. Most of the time, I feel like I’m drowning in it. Every time we made headway and paid a bit more on something, something else would come up that would take away what progress we had made. I’m still praying that God will show us what to do and how to do it, but I know that I have to do what I am able. We have to be good stewards of what God gives us. And this seems like a good tool to use in that regard.
A very wise friend told me recently that she learned early on in her budget-conscious family life to pray for resources, not money, and for the wisdom to use those resources properly to the advantage of her family. I want to be like that!! I want to be wise and frugal and still provide for my family.
And so I read blogs on budgeting and eating healthy on a tight budget, and I search for resources and help, and I listen to friends like her. And I pray. I pray for wisdom and peace and for God’s Spirit to work in me, so that when others look at me they see a glimpse of God’s Family (however short a glimpse that may be, as I have a meltdown in the middle of the kitchen floor). :-)
So, this is the beginning of a new “era” in our lives. This is the time to scrimp and save and pay off debt and give up all those things that we really want, so that when our adoption DOES happen, and our little boy is here with us, I can enjoy staying home and being a mom for the first time and not have to worry quite as much about whether we are okay financially. And so that when we are retired, we can enjoy that evening on the front porch and be glad that we were budget-conscious when we were "young", because now we can afford to buy batteries for our hearing aids.
Time will tell how this will work. I’ll keep you posted. Good night!