Budgeting: As Told by a Broke, Married, College Student

Let’s start this one out by agreeing that money is stupid. It’s the number one cause for fights in a marriage and also one of the biggest challenges that the old men in Washington face. According to the University of California over 43 million Americans (13%) live below the poverty line. PRB then reports that 32% of Americans live in a low-income family. These percentages were given between 2011 and 2015, however, I would not be surprised if these percentages were the same or higher in 2017.

So, how do we fix this. What do we do to begin helping ourselves and families when it comes to managing our money?

Well I cannot tell you what to do, also I am by no means a financial advisor, but here’s what I’m doing.

Awhile back I took a family budgeting course that focused on Dave Ramsey, and let me tell you, that man knows what he’s doing.

One of his concepts involved an Envelope System. This is an all cash budgeting system where you separate your physical money into envelopes labeled with bills and other expenses.

Now, getting rid of credit cards and debit cards is practically impossible, especially when most bills are paid online. However, you can still use this budget system.

What I decided to do was first, take my credit card out of my wallet. Then I went out to buy a box of multi colored envelopes and separate them into categories: Orange is bills, Green is expenses, Yellow is savings and receipts, Pink is extra (fast food, date night, etc), and Blue is vacation. As a side note you will also need an Envelope for church, our church provides envelopes so we replace that one each Sunday and it sits on the corner of our envelope board.

Once I separated my envelopes I then labeled them. This resulted in 8 bills, 3 expenses, 1 saving, 1 receipt, 1 extra, 1 vacation, and 1 church.

As I said earlier, some bills are paid online, I still made an Envelope for them and wrote “online” under the label, that way we still had a physical representation to remind us to put money in our bank account.

The hardest part about the envelope system is knowing how much money to put where. This will 100% depend on you, your bills, and your income. However, what works for my family is this:

At the begining of the month I open my calender, open my notes and figure out what bills are due when, then estimate how much they should cost based on previous months. At the end of the month I compare my estimates with my total and adjust the next month after. My notes look something like this

After the monthly budget is intially set, we take each paycheck we receive that month and cash them. (The only deposits we make are to cover our credit cards and my student loan). We then take the cash home, put our church offering to the side, look at our notes and put enough money into each envelope that the bills in between paychecks are covered. After those bills are accounted for, we then put a small percentage into future bills, expenses, and savings. Whatever is left we use as extra. (As a side note I am a firm believer in having spending money. Budgeting should not make you feel like you cannot have fun or buy something extra! If after your immediate bills are paid, and you will have the money for upcoming bills and expenses then order that pizza! You deserve it!) After double checking all our envelopes and notes the physical management is done!

However, if you’re like me, cash is scary. I want to know where exactly it’s going, how much is being spent, and if we can better use that money in the future. This is why, I keep track of all income (paychecks, tips, refunds, etc) and expenses (gas, food, grocery, etc).

By doing this we become accountable for every dollar spent.

With this system of budgeting you will also come in contact with A LOT of change. Save it! Put it in a plastic zip lock, a jar, or something. Just save it. There have been times where we used change to go on a weekend trip. We’ve also had too much month and not enough money, so we used change to buy groceries. Either way change adds up. Save it.

To recap, leave the credit card at home, use cash and envelopes, be organized, be accountable, and always give to God first. This is only our third month using this system and it is working. We stopped over drawing our accounts, we have been able to pay bills that before were coverd by family, and we are improving.

In closing, I’m sorry this was so long, but I hope it helps! ❤

God first, important bills second, and everything falls into place.

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Totality.

If you have never experienced a Total Eclipse, I want you to imagine this.. 

You are sitting outside and its 94 degrees. The sun is shinning at such a brightness that you have to wear special glasses, your sunglasses just are not enough. As the clock ticks by you begin to see a shadow slowly swallowing the sun, little by little. 

In the last seconds before complete totality the ground turns into a kaleidoscope of shadows. Little snakes dancing to a tune we can not hear. The bright afternoon sky turns to Twilight and then before you can blink the sun is hidden; showing a slight ring of light that can only be described as transcending.

The temperature drops from a summer afternoon heat to a brisk fall evening. The birds begin to fly and sing songs of nightfall. There is a view of the sunset on all horizons.

Then it all goes still. The excitement and emotions begin to flood you. The angry world becomes a calm and peaceful fairytale. You are frozen with the love the moon and the sun have for one another. 

Then in a matter of minutes it’s over. The sun begins to shine again and the temperature spikes back to normal. The moments of tranquility are gone and you are filled with a sense of magic. Nothing will ever feel this serene again. 

Now come back to reality and know that God’s gift to a world of such chaos and immorality is moments. He gives us these moments of beauty and ardent emotion to bring us back to peace. Moments to thank Him and show love to one another while connecting with the Earth around us. 

Photo Cred: CLN Photography

It’s been awhile…

Im going to be honest. I started to hate blogging. I recieved a very rude tweet a while ago about my blog and it hurt me. This tweet was from a previous best friend and was then retweeted by another previous best friend. They belittled this blog into nothing. 

However, four months later I now realize I was being dramatic and the views of a few bitter people mean nothing to me. So maybe my blog is poorly written. Maybe my ideas and views are old school. Maybe I actually suck at everything. You know what though, I don’t care. I have a story to tell and I am going to tell it. I have experienced things that no one else has ever experienced. 

And I now realize the only difference between me and the people who crushed me is I post my words in a useless blog, while they post theirs in useless tweets. Everything we say is useless or poorly written to some. But to others, it could be just the connection they were looking for. 

So long story short, I’m back and will probably be posting frequently as I have so many new things to share. 

Thank you for supporting my poorly written blog ❤ 

New Year, Same Me

Every year I make a list of things I’m going to change about myself. I put things like ‘weight loss’, ‘exercise more’, ‘save money’, ‘don’t eat out’, ‘no dark soda'(this is the only one I’ve ever accomplished), and of course ‘be a better person’. But why? Why is it when the clock strikes 12 we have the urge to change our lives and turn into completely different people? On December 31st all we think about are the the things we didn’t accomplish. However, what about the things we did accomplish? 

Sure, I didn’t lose weight, I eat out way too much (taco bell, you’ve got my heart!), I’m ending the year with less money than I started with and being a better person is highly debatable. 

What I did do though is I grew closer to God, made important education decisions that will help me reach my goals, visited Colorado, voted in my first presidential election, found a job I love, got engaged to the love of my life, and filled my life with positivity while expelling the negative people. 

My year wasn’t great, I lost my grandfather and many friends who I thought I’d have forever, but when I look back at the amazing things that have happened to me I can’t help but be greatful. 

So 2017, you’re in God’s hands. I just ask that next year is as productive as this one, all negative space is filled with love and positivity and that as a nation we can come together instead of falling more apart. Amen. 

Happy New Year Everyone! ❤ 

Why I waited 

“Everyone’s doing it”.. that’s what I was always told. Everyone was doing it and hell, even my college roommate was doing it.. right under our bunked beds I may add. It’s not like I didn’t have opportunities or relationships that it could have easily happend with. I even put myself in situations where saying “No” was a tough decision, in full disclosure alcohol was normally involved. However, I waited. 

I did not wait for reasons most people think though. I didn’t wait for religious reasons. I didn’t wait because my parents told me it was the right thing to do. I waited because I wanted to. I wanted to wait until I met the one guy who knew me better than I knew myself. The guy who loved me for my physical and mental imperfections. The guy who no matter what would hold my hand and help me through life’s toughest moments. So I waited, until I met him. 

I didn’t wait until I was married or until I was engaged but I did wait until I was in love and with the person I wanted to spend forever with. 

Now the reason I’m telling you all this is because today it is so common for girls to have sex, not because they are in love, but because they think they should. Their best friend is doing it, TV shows are encouraging it, we have terms like “f*ck buddies” and one night stands are ‘cool’. Sex is no longer special. Sex is just a hobby. We are encouraging girls to embrace their bodies and their sexuality all while ignoring their mental health. We don’t tell them that sex won’t make him love you and we don’t inform them that it’s more than just a physical game. It’s a connection, it’s a feeling, and it’s not something that needs to be given to everyone who smiles at you. 

So embrace yourself. Love yourself. Remember your worth. And do what is right for you not for everyone else. 

Learning to love myself

​From a young age we are taught, directly and indirectly, that we cannot love someone unless we love ourselves first and that having low self worth will make it hard for us to be loved. Well I am here to tell you that this is bullshit. If someone truly loves you, they will help build you up and they will help show you your worth. They are going to love you even if you don’t love yourself in a hope that they can show you how much love you deserve. I can confidently say this because it’s what has happend me. 
Growing up I hated being in my own skin. I had no confidence and my favorite clothing items were ones that were two sizes too big, making sure that no one ever saw my shape or my curves or my fat. I thought if I could “hide” the imperfections people wouldn’t notice them and that maybe I could be liked more or even loved. I guess you could say this all stemed from one boy saying I looked “pregnant” in the second grade and another boy telling me I “wasn’t pretty enough to date” in the fifth grade. Two comments, over 10 years ago, are what turned me into a scared girl who was afraid of never being loved because I was too ‘unsightly’.

I went through horrible depression, self-hatred, and even a stint of never wanting to eat. I thought that I didn’t deserve food because I was overweight and because ‘fat people shouldn’t be given the satisfaction of a full stomach’. Luckily, I learned the absurdity of this before things became out of control.

Along with the outer struggles I felt, I also had mental health problems I wasn’t sure how to deal with. These took form in OCD and anxiety. And with anxiety it took the feelings of fear and paranoia over my outer looks to a whole new level. I didn’t see a point in trying to look good because I was scared of trying to “be pretty” and still being the “fat, ugly” girl.

These feelings went on until I was around 18 and I decided that I could be beautiful the way I was and it was my decision, no one else’s. However this was very short lived because I ended up dating someone whom always believed other girls were “prettier” or “more attractive” and whose favorite hobby was cheating.

So all of the self progress I had made didn’t even matter because everything I already previously believed was being proven. I loved myself and I still wasn’t good enough. So I stopped. I stopped seeing myself as pretty and I stopped believing that I could be loved.

That is until I met him. Yeah I know. That’s so cliché, but it’s true. I met a guy who loved me despite all of my flaws. Despite the fact I have to be reminded that he loves me. And that I need to be told more than most that I’m not a horrendous monster. I found someone who can tell me that I am perfect and with every breath I use to say something negative, he will use to say twice as many positives. He has taught me that I am beautiful, I am worth love, and that I deserve more than I have ever given myself. And because of his love for me, I can confidently say that I now love myself.

So do not say that someone will never be loved because they don’t love themselves. When the right one comes, they will love you and help you grow in ways you may not have been able to before.