Practical self-care is a form of taking care of yourself that many busy women often forget. This type of personal care includes things that look a lot like basic “adulting.” Activities like using a planner, organizing your home, or creating and sticking to a budget!
Because we often forget about this version of self-care when we think about taking care of ourselves, we may not be able to celebrate the win in actually doing it! One of my friends Kaitlyn from Faith Money and Marriage shares her amazing story of practical self-care and how her family chose to focus on being a good steward of their financial resources to find debt freedom.
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In March of this year, my husband and I paid off our $175,000 home that we purchased in 2015. We have 4 children, live on a single income, and over the past 7 years have been very diligent in how we handle our money. We’ve learned over the years that we need to handle our money the way the Bible tells us. Because, we are just stewards of what God has given us. Proverbs 3:9 says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce.” It is all His, so we are to honor him with however little or much we have been given. And this is where the budgeting come in. Budgeting allows you to track your money, spend it in the way God advises throughout the Bible, and to give more than you thought you could.
Best Budgeting Tips
So, I want to share with the top 5 budgeting tips that got us to debt-freedom and allowed us to pay off our $175,000 house on a $60,000/year income. And we did this while honoring God with our finances. These tips are simple but very effective if you choose to follow them closely.
1. Be practical and logical when creating your budget
You have to be practical with the numbers you give each category within our budget. $50 a month for food is not practical or logical. It may get your out of debt faster on paper, but you will inevitably break that budget number and then feel discouraged. So always be practical and logical.
2. Everything can be negotiated
Everything is Negotiable- This does not always mean everything fun needs to be completely eliminated. But most likely, some things will be taken out of the budget so that you can reach your goals. An example of this in my life would be our cell phone budget. We discovered a company called Tello, where we pay $10/month per line! When we were with Verizon years ago, we paid around $150/month for the two of us! Check out how much you could save with our Smart Money Calculator, which we created specifically to help you see your own personal savings.
3. Stick to your budget
I know this one may sound silly, but there are many people who make a budget and then don’t follow it. You won’t get the results you are looking for and reach financial freedom if you don’t follow the plan that you made! It will be difficult at first, especially if you have never followed a budget, but give it time and it will become second nature!
4. Re-evaluate your budget often
Most people do not get their budget right the first time around. So, don’t worry if you don’t stay within the limits you set and need to re-evaluate. We have created a budgeting spreadsheet here to help you see your projected budget versus your actual expenses. This will let you see where you are overspending and where you need to move money within your personal budget. I suggest doing one that is what you spent last month so that you can get a better idea of what you are actually spending each month.
5. Stick to the budget consistently
We followed our budget very diligently for 7 years! I know that sounds like a long time, but we never felt deprived of a life. We went on sushi dates, budgeted vacations that wouldn’t derail our goals, and even built a sauna in our house (it was worth every penny!). But, we always used cash for these things and worked to follow our budget as closely as we could. Because of this, we were able to pay off $23,000 in student loans, cash flow the pregnancies and births of our 4 children, buy 4 cars with cash, and pay off our home. We still follow our budget to this day, because we have even bigger goals we are working towards now that we are debt free. Remember, budgets aren’t just for broke people!
I hope these 5 tips and our budgeting spreadsheet will help you begin or continue your journey to financial freedom. If you have never budgeted before, know that you are not alone. I didn’t know how to budget, save money, or even use online banking when my husband and I first got married. But it is never too late to learn how to manage your finances or simply manage them more effectively.
Stay the course and be open to learn and you will reach your financial goals. And if you want to hear more about our financial and spiritual growth as a couple, check out our story at Faith Money and Marriage. We are proof that God works in hard things to strengthen us as well as in good things. We are reminded of this in Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good”. This journey won’t be the easiest thing in the world, but I can assure you, the freedom you feel on the other side is absolutely worth it.
Kaitlyn is a wife, mom to 4 little ones, and a devoted Christ-Follower. She lives with her family in a 100 year old house they fully renovated in 2015. Kaitlyn also loves to bake and cook. She and her husband started faithmoneyandmarriage.com to share how they reached financial freedom and strengthened their marriage through following what the Bible says. Their goal is to encourage, challenge, and inspire others Biblical based advice and stories about faith, money, and marriage.