First comes “adulthood”. Time to be out on your own, work, pay your own bills, learn the way of the world. AKA: work to pay rent, eat out more than you cook in (unless it’s ramen or frozen pizza), beg groceries off your parents (or eat at work), spend whatever money you do have leftover on booze or clothes or other worthless items, and sleep less than you have any other time in your life purely by choice (since now you are responsible for yourself and staying out until 2 am when you have to work at 7 is no biggie all of a sudden.) Ahhh adulthood, this is the life!
Then comes the REAL adulthood. You’ve been out on your own for a while now. Mom and Dad aren’t paying your car insurance or your health insurance anymore. You spend money on gas and food and rent almost equally. You still spend money on total crap but you are more aware of where your money is going and you’re starting to put some aside for those rainy days. A few hundred in your savings account seems like a really great accomplishment. You have pets, you have credit cards, you have debt but not too much…yet. Hmmm this “adult” thing isn’t as easy as it looks…
Then you get married. Joint Adults. Combine financials, belongings, goals, savings, dreams, debt x 2 now… Start to buy things for the future. House = debt. Car = debt. New furniture, sure! = debt. Those paychecks are getting a little more stretched now with all these great things that come with being an Adult, but hey – we’re building our future here!
And then the magical moment of offspring. After all, this is what we were aiming towards all along, right?! We’ve got insurance, we’ve got the house, the cars, the “stuff” to fill in the gaps. We are ready!
Errr….wait…medical bills still almost 8k? ^@%#$@%…Can we win the lotto? No? Ok, now time to BUDGET!
The word Budget always seemed to (younger) me like something that was only necessary when you were really irresponsible with your spending. When you had plenty of money to cover your bills but you chose to spend money on things that weren’t necessary instead of paying for the necessities. Well, that’s still true, BUT budgeting takes on a whole new meaning when you become a PARENT. Now budgeting is a godsend. Probably the only way that families manage to stay afloat with all of the unexpected bills (new fridge, new car, medical) on top of the already necessary bills of everyday life as an Adult.
Budgeting doesn’t have to be such a “bad” word though. There are different levels of budgeting depending on how your family spends money and how comfortable you are with your bills vs. income. Now that I’m a parent, I doubt there are many families out there who are so comfortable with their spending that they don’t budget at all. Maybe not a lot, but being aware of your spending is still budgeting to some degree. Over the last 10 months our family has had to increase our budgeting quite a bit. We are much more cautious and conscientious about how we spend our money and what we spend our money on. Not that we have it down yet, we are constantly adjusting until we find what works best for our family. And we still aren’t as careful as we probably could be. There are still months when we are living paycheck to paycheck. My hope and goal is to get to a point where we aren’t doing that anymore. Even if it does take us a few more months (or years) to get to that point… As adults and parents we have the responsibility and privileged to do whatever it takes for our family, even if it means learning to budget.