I posted a while back about the journey that Andy and I are on to heal our finances and I wanted to talk a bit more about that.
I just went to look up the other post I wrote and I found out I posted it on the 31st March last year! Wow! A whole year ago. I hadn't realised it was so long ago and makes me really glad that I chose this month to write about our progress. This is the link to it if you missed it last year:
I'm really happy I chose this month to discuss our finances because there has been big massive forward momentum over the last year and I am so excited by how amazing our finances are becoming one (sometimes painful) step at a time.
We have tried a few different budgeting techniques and have finally settled on one that feels workable for us so I thought I would share it with you all. I am still learning about how to live on a budget and each month we are making mistakes. The key thing is that each month we get to the end of the month, notice where we got it wrong and start again. We've made many mistakes on our financial recovery journey and I am grateful for each one as they provide us with feedback and guidance.
The most recent tool I have added to my life is an app called 'GoodBudget'. The app has 'envelopes' for each budgeted item and we go through and enter the money we spend as the month progresses. We have multiple streams of income so at any given point in the month our bank balance can be really low or really high. We used to feel really positive and able to spend lots of money when the balance was high and really sad and low when the balance was low as it felt like we didn't have enough.
Now, rather than making choices based on the totals in the bank, we can make choices based on how much we have left in the budget. For us, this is revolutionary. It is based on the system of actual envelopes with cash in. We have tried that system ourselves but I found that it was too big a step for me - we didn't have the discipline to get the cash out each week and would then forget to carry the cash with us. The cash system is a system I'd like to try again sometime but it felt too much stress and struggle so for now we will continue to use our debit cards (no more credit cards in this house).
So anyway we both have the 'GoodBudget' app on our phone and whenever either of us wants to spend money we check the budget first. I have always fought against a budget, I felt that it would be restrictive and punitive but I now see our budget as helping us to live in line with our values without living beyond our means.
Budgeting is just one small part of our financial transformation though. I want to be a good steward of money so I mapped out what it looks like to me to be a wonderful custodian of money. I want to share it here as another marker along our financial journey.
So what does it look like to me to be a wonderful custodian of money?
Knowing where our money is, where it is going and when.
As I've just discussed budgeting then the first part of being a wonderful custodian of money to me is 'Knowing where our money is, where it is going and when'. This part includes paying our bills on time with ease, grace and gratitude. It also includes having the self discipline to stick to our budget (or even spend less) in each category. Our budget is a reflection of our values and we need to keep it current.
Making positive choices for ourselves and the world
The next part of being a wonderful custodian of money, in my eyes is 'Making positive choices for ourselves and the world'. This means keeping usable items out of the landfill by buying second hand clothes, furniture, toys, gifts and books and investing in good quality items that last. This also includes choosing local, organic and/or fair trade food where ever possible.
There is always enough.
The third part that makes up being a good custodian of money for me is 'There is always enough'. This is not about having all the latest gadgets and fulfilling every want and desire we have. It is more about feeling safe that our basic needs for food, clean water, clothing and shelter will always be met. This one includes having a part of the budget that is dedicated to gifting money to charities and causes that we believe in. We are so lucky to live in a safe country with clean water in our taps, to have good health and to have had many adventures. Now it is time to share some of our wealth and to trust that even when we are giving away money we still have enough. This is where the budget helps because we are not giving away more than we can afford.
I'm really excited by these ideas. Our finances aren't yet where I want them to be but that's ok. With my new guidelines in place for how it looks for me to be a good steward of money I can't help but feel that my time in the chrysalis is nearly over and that I will one day soon become a beautiful butterfly when it comes to money.
Thank you for sharing this journey with us as we make progress along the path to financial recovery. The idea of following my heart to become my self defined version of a wonderful custodian of money is so exciting and I hope you continue to journey there with me.... Xx with love xxx