My husband and I finally had a long overdue Money Meeting. We’ve been on autopilot for awhile (see Money Meeting #4), and that has proven to be surprisingly stressful.
Why stressful? Because it felt a lot like driving without a steering wheel!
As we reviewed our budget, a few things became clear. First, the good news: Due to some extra side work, a pay raise, and a back paycheck, our savings has grown for the first time in a long time. The bad news, we’ve also allowed some budget creep with the increased income. Our grocery bill has doubled and we’ve been eating out a lot more. We’re also driving more for kids’ summer activities, so our gas bill is up about $100 a month.
The excess spending has me feeling a bit like the cobbler’s wife around here. The cobbler is too busy making shoes for others to make shoes for his family. I’ve been so busy thinking and writing about saving money, that I haven’t been doing as good a job of it for my own family. Obviously that has to change! This week, I’ll be organizing our chaotic pantry and freezer so that I can do a better job of planning shopping trips. I’m also battling couponing fatigue so that I can get into the swing of saving on groceries again.
We are also working on some long-range goals. Both of our vehicles have more than 85,000 miles on them, and are starting to show some age. We need to plan ahead for their replacement. I would very much like to avoid a car payment (we haven’t had one since 2007), but the used car market around here (and our demolished savings) is making that a real challenge. We’ll need to step up our game if we’re going to stay debt-free.
We’re brainstorming ways to build our savings and get all of our home maintenance projects done, too.
Our talk was useful because it reminded us of our strengths and our weaknesses when it comes to our money. And it helped put my mind a little bit more at ease. We are constantly striving to live better on a budget, and we are definitely a work in progress. Despite feeling like we’ve taken two steps forward and one back, the important thing is that we keep moving forward.
Have you had a Money Meeting in your family lately? What kinds of things are you working on?