On this date night, we planned to be wiser in our finances. Over the years, we have seen how God has truly provided for all other needs and much more! But we also know that we also have a calling to be prudent and practice good stewardship of our finances!
When we got married in 2010, Wally and I were both fulltime lay missionaries. That same year, I answered a new calling to be a Theology professor in an exclusive all-girls college. Wally remained as a fulltime missionary until he answered a new calling for him to go out in the corporate world. He has started working in a financing corporation last year. This year, we will face another transition as I will be changing from fulltime faculty status to a part-time status. This means more time for me to spend at home to nurture and teach our 2-year old Joaquin, who is growing up very fast. But it also means that I will be getting a big cut in my salary and contribution to our family income
In all the transitions I’ve mentioned above, there have been changes both in the income flows as well as in the expenses flow. The increase in our family income has always been matched with increases in our family expenses as well. With Joaquin growing up very fast and most probably be going to school next year, it’s not very hard to imagine how our expenses will continue to get bigger.
And so we knew we had to be wiser in our finances. We knew we had to make sure that we have enough savings for the future. Factoring our desired savings, we knew we had to live within that means.
And so our Date Night’s Topic was our Family’s Budget Planning.
HERE ARE SOME OF OUR REALIZATIONS IN DOING OUR FAMILY’S BUDGET PLANNING.
1. Prepare for it.
This does not only mean get ready with the figures. Wally and I knew that we wouldn’t be able to see everything eye to eye. I think that’s perfectly normal for any married couple considering the different backgrounds, experiences and mindsets that both have come to carry in life. Before beginning our planning, we recognized and vocalized this. So we were prepared on the onset of a disagreement happening. And sure enough it did! At least it only took a few minutes for the ‘debate’ before we laughed at it realizing that we were expecting it to happen.
2. Write everything down.
This applies to both the family’s income and the family’s expenses. The family income includes the regular salaries, businesses, monetary gifts to unexpected rakets. The family expenses is the more tricky part. This includes our food, travels, cellphone, internet, check-up, shopping, diapers, date nights, etc. Everything up to the chips we buy in the sari-sari store. Its important to know what we are spending on so that we’ll know in what particular area we have to adjust in case we need to.
3. Monitor finances.
The crucial next step to take is to monitor our finances especially the expenses. This is quite taxing if you are not used to this. Every receipt is kept aside. Every expense is written down. Writing everything down is the best way to live within a certain means because you get to be conscious of expenses. Wally and I are at a trial period on how is the best way to monitor our finances. I used to write everything down in a notebook. But since we are working on this together, Wally has made a comprehensive excel sheet for this purpose. We’ll see how this goes by next month.
4. Re-asses your budget.
Set a time to come back to this and re-assess the budget planning. Is there too much budget allocation in a certain aspect? Can we save more from one aspect ? Do we need to add on to the budget allocation of a certain aspect of our finances? It’s perfectly normal to change your minds on certain aspects on the budget planning. But of course, it is always the bigger picture that has to be kept in mind.
5. Have a generous heart.
Budget Planning is not just saving for a rainy day. It’s not just about saving for a dream vacation or being able to have good food to eat. This is also about being able to share and give to those in need. I will not be a hypocrite and say that I always give to those in need. I must admit that our family will always be first priority in our finances. But being smart about our finances gives us the lee-way, the license or the push to give when the need arises. This also includes giving a tithe 10 percent or less to where you get your spiritual nourishment. It can be to the Church or to your community. The more important thing is to give regularly and from your heart. The bonus in this is that God will never ever be outdone in love and generosity!
How about you? Do you do Budget Planning? Do you have tips to share in your Budget Planning? Please do SHARE!