Thursday, March 4, 2010

Why I do the Budget (Even Though I'm Not the Best at Math)

Mr. Wookie is a math whiz.

Yes, he is the one you would assume should do the budget. I mean, sometimes I really have to think hard about my times tables. (Don't judge me. They taught us using repeated addition. I do the best I can with what I've been given.) He does well with budgeting. The whole time we were dating, Mr. Wookie was financially responsible. He's been working full time since he got out of high school. It would make sense for him to pay our bills and budget for us.

Yet I do it. Why? Because I have never had bills before in my life. I split a car payment with my dad for maybe 6 months when I was in college. I had a work study job on campus that was my blow money. If I couldn't pay for something, someone would usually have my back. I lived a charmed life.

Are you ready for my dirty little secret?
I am a spender.
Yes. A spender.

The first two months we were married, I was waiting to start my job. The hubs was working, and I was bored out of my mind. So I made frequent trips to Target. Now, Target looks safe and economical from a distance, but it is not my friend! It is a trap! You walk in thinking you'll buy a book, and you walk out with two books, a new coffee pot, a board game, and some lotion. These things aren't expensive by themselves, but you make a Target trip once a week and it adds up.

I finally got serious about my spending when I hooked up with Wowzers. There it was in a colorful, bold pie chart: the cold, ugly truth. I was spending more than we were bringing in! Somehow we weren't in the red because we had a tiny bit of slush, but you shouldn't dip into your slush to have things. Slush should be for emergencies.

I decided I needed to take control of the finances. I needed to be made aware of the cash flow in and out of my house (especially since we wanted to buy a house). Now, instead of shopping, I write checks toward our bills. The weird thing is that I feel a sense of peace and happiness when I do this. God never wanted us to be slaves. Debt is slavery. I am freeing myself from the slavery of debt and money because when everything is paid for you are working for yourself and not for the man.

I also do the budget because I am seriously goal oriented (as you can tell by this blog). My husband is such a little happy duck. He rolls with the punches. I like to prepare for the punches. He's not really interested in playing around with retirement accounts. I mean, he invests in his 401k, and in his head the 401k is probably enough. I've done the research though (because that's my strength), and when I share my research with him, he usually agrees. He knows I'm good at researching. He trusts my judgement.

Plus, the husband has started doing the vacuuming as a trade off. I think this is more than fair. :)

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