Budgets. I think of it as a love/hate relationship. These days our budget is critical to this transition time I’m in. I’m in the process of figuring out what comes next for me, work-wise. I have a part-time pet sitting service that I’m eager to move to full-time, as well as some other ideas involving this blog.
We’ve always had a budget, but we haven’t always stuck to a budget. Big difference. These days (with our smaller income) sticking to our budget is the only way our plan is going to work. It is one of the bare-bones variety, but more than provides for our needs. Recently we have had many conversations about each line item, adjusting in areas as needed. There are our fixed costs (mortgage, tithe, debt reduction), but there are the areas where we can eek out a few more dollars by making changes (utilities, food, fuel, insurance). And with gas prices going through the roof here in California, we’re faced with an interesting dilemma. I guess it’s a blessing that I don’t need to use my car as much at the moment, huh?
In the area of finances, I want the lasting change to be in my attitude. My attitude towards the accumulation of stuff and living a simpler life. I want to be better at not wanting things instantly and taking the time to really think through whether I want to exchange my hard-earned cash for [insert desired item here]. I want to be better at delighting in people and relationships, not in things. I want to spend more time being grateful.
I think of all the areas that I want lasting change, this one is going to present the most challenges. It can’t be ignored because it’s so intrinsically linked to every area of my life. Adjustments will have to be made, some willingly, others with some teeth-gritting. It’s the only way it’s going to work. I have to say I’m looking forward to it, but it’s early days :-).
[A little aside: I was walking the dogs this morning, my two plus our guest Buddy. When I walk Woody and Ellie, Woody’s on the left and Ellie’s on the right, but with a third dog, I need to hold two leashes in one hand. I usually put the extra dog with Woody because he’s a less finicky walker, but this morning Buddy ended up on Ellie’s side. Well that only lasted a few minutes because Ellie doesn’t like to walk with anyone on her right side (weird, I know) and Buddy kept wanting to walk to the right of her. After several times of the two of them doing the do-si-do, I said out loud, “Hey guys, we all have to make adjustments if we’re going to finish this walk.” I had an aha moment as I realized that’s where I find myself. I quickly moved Buddy over to Woody’s side because Woody’s more ‘ambidogsterous’ :-). ]
“Adjustment! You’ve no idea what I’ve had to adjust to with Ellie. Mom is right, though, I’m really good at it!” ~Woody