So, how is your financial peace? Seriously, do you worry about money. Does that worry cause you behave differently, like eat a little more, smoke, drink to excess or lay around feeling lethargic?
Worrying about anything causes anxiety. Anxiety can cause health problems (here’s a list) including digestive problems, depression, headaches and fast heartbeat. Has that happened to you?
Let me tell you my experience. For years I kept track of what I spent after I spent it. I knew where my money was going after the fact. It was good to know this but it did not change me. If I didn’t have any or very little money in savings I would eat cake and ice cream and other junk food to comfort me. Yes, it was delicious but I would start craving sugars when I became anxious. I also smoked, still do (quit date Feb. 1, 2014).
This led to yo- yo dieting and quitting smoking to start back again along with being anxious and sleep problems. Finally, last year my car broke down several times and I was sued by a credit card company for an old debt. They wouldn’t settle the debt and I ended up filing bankruptcy. This was a low point in my life (well, one of them, haha!). I was 271 lbs and bankrupt. What I was doing was not working.
I decided that I never wanted to go through this again so I signed up for Financial Peace University. I’ll confess, I only stuck around for four classes but that was enough. Those classes taught the most important lesson for Financial Peace, the monthly budget. There is no saving for your kids college, investments or paying off the house until you master this. So I decided to concentrate and master the budget.
So, that is lesson #1: The Monthly Budget
Slip shot methods bring slip shot results.
[Tweet “Slip shot methods bring slip shot results.”] You know your income. That is all you’ve got to spend each month, so decide in advance where you’re going to spend it like Dave recommends.
I used an excel spreadsheet with a budget template (actually it is Numbers for Mac) and put my numbers in. I then print it and tape it to my fridge. Out of sight, out of mind so keep it in sight. It looks something like this:
I still keep a detailed list of my expenditures and this helps me know where I’m at. I’m still getting used to the monthly budget, this is my third month, but I’m getting better. A budget is like learning guitar, you must practice to get better. If you worry about money and choose not to budget then you choose to worry about money.
[Tweet “If you worry about money and choose not to budget then you are choose to worry about money.”]
Lesson #2: Have a Shopping List for Food
I’m sure Dave Ramsey went over this but I emphasize it. I can spend $500 on food if I’m not planning properly by going out to eat a lot and worrying about money, which makes me eat more. I live right next to a grocery store that sells cake by the piece. The Shopping List helps replace the piece with peace. On the first Sunday of the month I go to Costco and load up.
I usually spend close to $300 on groceries. Then I’m pretty much done for the month (I spend about and additional $60 eating out and $25 for coffee). There is always something to eat at home so I don’t have to go to the store. I plan my meals and eat better. That has been gold for me.
Since November first my two Keystone goals were to lose weight and to get and keep at least $1,000 in the bank as a security fund, per Dave Ramsey. Today, I have $1,000 in the bank and have lost 30 pounds. (271 lbs to 241 on 1/14/14). I sleep better and have more peace of mind. Also, I am feeling more motivated to get things done and continue on the path I’m on.
Has a budget helped you? Do you worry about money? What can you do about it?