Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I'm binder bound

On January 10, Jay will be back to work after a month of being laid off.  We knew in advance about the layoff and had prepared for it by deciding how we could scale back and also by adding some to savings. 

But with the additional expenses of the holidays, it hasn't been easy.  It's certainly been a wake-up call for us to examine our spending habits. We had always said we could and should cut back, but this time we really had no choice but to actually do it.

The bright side is, the kids and I have truly enjoyed being able to spend quality time with the dad and husband we usually see only in the mornings and three weekends a month. He has been able to help out with Caroline's homework, Joey's bedtime routine, dishes, cooking, cleaning ... life as we know it.

Today Jay and I had a serious discussion about how we can improve our family finances. One way to help might be to follow through with another organization project of mine: a family management binder.

I had seen the organizational binders as posts on Pinterest, but didn't even go near them. I couldn't imagine myself being organized enough to have such a creation. Excuses, excuses, and none of them good ones. So again, I referred to the Bowl Full of Lemons page for guidance on the binder.

A Bowl Full of Lemons Home Management Binder

Remember those long-lost Wal-Mart gift cards I found while organizing my bedroom? Well, today I purchased the needed supplies for the binder for about five bucks.

There are several different sections to the binder, but tonight I am focusing on the financial section. I found these free printable worksheets at this link:

Family Finance printables

Filling in and maintaining this section of the binder might sting a little, but it must be done. Jay and I both agree that one of the biggest obstacles to our long-term financial success is our tendency to do what we want, when we want. We are way too spontaneous, and it often costs us hundreds of dollars. 

For instance, on Saturday morning, we might determine that we have $500 to make it until the following Friday. Hurray! That means we can go see a movie, go out to eat, shop a little, etc. The reality is, by the time we fill the car with gas, go to the movie, buy the popcorn and soda, shop for a few items we want, go eat at TGI Friday's and hit Starbucks on the way home, we've easily spent more than half the money we have for the next six days in less than a few hours.

Does this jive with our goals to re-do our bathroom, take a family vacation or pay off all our debts? Not really. 

What we've found during our Christmas break is that all four of us really enjoy just staying home, chilling out, playing, crossing stuff off our to-do lists and just being together. In 2013, we resolve to do more staying and less going. Hopefully that choice will make the family finance section of the binder a little easier to face.

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