Hey, y’all! Welcome back to my little hyggekrog on the internet. I’m glad to be back after my customary month-long hiatus 😂 Real talk, the kids + school have consumed a lot of my attention lately. I’m not complaining; I’m always grateful that I have the opportunity to stay home with my children. And I’m just as grateful for the opportunity to get a “do-over” with college. Graduation photos from old co-workers are flooding my social media feeds, and I’m LOVING it. Seeing people I knew when they were freshies, proudly wearing their cap and gown, surrounded by orange and blue makes me swell with happiness. And it also provides me with some much-needed motivation. If I keep my nose to the grindstone, I’ll have the potential to parade myself about to “Pomp and Circumstance” in spring 2020. Luckily (or unluckily) it’s finals week for me right now so I’ll get a chance to be a bit more present on Lauren, Etc. during the break next week. Now onto the budget review!
I’m always excited to sit down for another monthly budget review, as it gives me a good opportunity to reflect on the changes in my life since my last review. This past February, I’ve continued to be really focused on wellness and gratitude. I’ve been doing some journaling, keeping up a plant-based diet with more fruits and veggies, drinking (and eating) less caffeine (less chocolate), meditating, spending less time on social media (weekends offline!), and intentionally being more in the moment not just with my husband and children, but when I’m alone. I’ve also had the opportunity to visit my best friend in San Diego, spend time with family in north Florida, and connect more with friends living locally. And did I mention I turned 30 this past month? Growing older is an experience I have come to cherish so deeply as not everyone gets the opportunity to witness so many seasons and changes. It has also taught me how to balance being prepared for the future and still live in the moment, in terms of wellness choices, intentionality, and finances. I’m a ridiculously lucky, privileged woman, and I hope to continue to live in a way that shows my gratitude for my life, gives more to others, and provides inspiration. So I’ll start right here by giving you a peek into my family’s pocket-book in hopes that it helps others to be inspired to get a better understanding of their own finances.
As a self-proclaimed “minimalist” I’ve strived to stay focused on the elements of life that I value most – my health, my relationships, and personal growth. I have been in this process of changing my relationship with possessions (for the better), but I overestimated how far along I had developed in devaluing stuff. Stuff does not define who I am and what I am capable of, yet I still sometimes feel limited when I don’t have the “right” stuff.
It has been a long time since I have not looked forward to the monthly appointment I make with myself to review our budget. When I first started taking control of my finances, it was so scary to look at the amount of money I owed for student loans and credit cards versus what I was actually making each month. I didn’t enjoy knowing I was at the misery of creditors, so those monthly budget reviews survived as a great reminder of why I was being so stringent with my daily expenses. But recently when I sit down to do these reviews and I continually see the amount of coming in being smaller than the amount of money going out, I make excuses. “We were really busy so we had to get a lot of take out” or “We had to do these repairs to keep our investment in working order” or the most recent which seems to be on repeat “We had a lot of unexpected medical bills”. Eventually it gets to the point when you realize that you can’t keep doing the same thing over and over each month and expecting different results. We just bought a home and we have two toddlers – unexpected bills are going to be a regular occurrence. So we have to adjust our budget to fit these expenses. I think it might be time to go back to living like we’re in debt. Because having a mortgage, technically, means we are.
I recently started listening to The Minimalists’ podcast. They’ve only had six episodes so far, but I highly recommend you check it out. Actually, I highly recommend you just check out podcasts in general. I guarantee there is a podcast or two or three that will spark your interest and possibly replace an hour a week you might have spent browsing Instagram or watching reality TV. Not that I have anything against either of those activities. Both are pretty entertaining, in moderation, but let’s get back to The Minimalists. I was listening to their first episode, and early on Joshua Fields Millburn brings up how we allow perfection to prevent us from doing what we want to accomplish. Josh’s exact words were “our affinity for perfection or getting it just right, prohibits us from actually doing it….we have all these rules we set up that prevent us from accomplishing what we want to accomplish.”
You know how sometimes you think something is going to be really time consuming and difficult, so you put it off. And then you finally do it, and it was ridiculously quick and easy. That was this budget review. My Target REDcard (along with every other cardholder) has synced up on Mint for almost a month now. Since the majority of my large, split purchases occur at SuperTarget, I thought it would take FOREVER to manually add everything together. Nope, it was like a five minute process. Moral of the story – procrastination is my biggest downfall.