2019. My word – phrase, really – was “delight in discipline.” At the beginning of the year I thought it had everything to do with exercise and food, but as the year went on it became something very different. Yes, I tried making my overall health a priority, tried to ditch habits that weren’t serving me anymore – but the ones I thought I would tackle and finally get rid of weren’t the habits I ended up changing.
What I did change?
The way I interact with money.
Money wasn’t something we talked about much growing up in my family. It’s a story for another day, but the lesson I learned was that money was overwhelming. To be more specific, a lack of money was overwhelming.
So, when I moved out and took my giant student loan with me, I had no idea how to handle my finances. After university I got a job and paid my rent and phone and, eventually, my loan payments each month, but did I just hope my debit card wouldn’t be declined when I got groceries? Yup.
It was not a good way to live. And while I trusted that God would provide for me in that leap of faith I took when I became self-employed, I wasn’t stewarding that money well.
Combine that with moving twice within a year and paying for a wedding within a year after that – well, my financial situation wasn’t great. What was worse was my inability to bring myself to actually look at my bank account or credit card statements. I was late doing my taxes because I was terrified of owing the government money – twice. Both times I got huge amounts back, praise Jesus.
But I did know that when I actually dealt with my money, the anxiety around it lessened. I just hadn’t fully dealt with it in a way that stopped the cycle I was in.
Don’t worry, Brandon knew all that stuff about my financial situation before we got married. As we approached the end of 2018, we knew one of the things we’d want to get a handle on in 2019 was our money, so we met with my accountant and talked through some things. By the time 2019 rolled around – and my word for the year established – we decided to really get on this budget train.
Well, sort of. I started a trial of a budgeting app, but I was focused on exercising, getting weddings booked for my first year back in business, and Brandon was still in the throes of his RCMP application, so budgeting wasn’t really put into practice just yet. But we did look at how we could make our money go further, so we sold my car. My beautiful, been with me through both moves, spacious SUV. I loved that thing, but I loved the idea of financial freedom even more.
Plus I work from home, so we really don’t need two vehicles right now.
That sale helped our monthly numbers SO much. It would take until the summer, when I was now SERIOUSLY serious about working through my money issues (the emotional ones) to start budgeting. I’d heard of You Need a Budget from clients/friends of mine years ago and had done the trial, but it didn’t stick. This time around?
Oh baby, I’m a YNAB evangelist now.
We looked at our numbers – what we make, what we need to survive, what my business needs, all the things – and put our budget into action. Every two weeks or less I’m in YNAB tracking all our spending and telling our money what we want it to do. The transformation in my ability to deal with money and look at our bills and make goals for our future is truly extraordinary. I LOVE knowing the numbers and being waaaaaay less anxious about money – it’s so fun now! The freedom I have when I go to Costco and spend $150+ KNOWING the money is both there and has been assigned to this shopping trip is such a gift.
The fact that I flew through writing this post and am hitting publish without second guessing what I’m sharing? Incredible.
We’re still paying off some debt (a lil’ credit card debt & student loans left), but our money is doing what we tell it to, not the other way around. I took it to heart to “delight in discipline” when it came to our budget last year and the payoff has been huge. Thanks be to God for giving me the opportunity to receive grace through something as tangible as my budgeting app! We’ll be on this budgeting train forever, no doubt about that.
Interested in getting your money to work for you, too? Here’s my referral link to get a free month of YNAB in addition to their free 34 day trial – it’s worth every penny.
Onward to 2020!
Well, it’s already 2020, so continuing with 2020! My word for the year post will be up next!