January 8, 2010

Money! Or, not.

If there is one thing that Luke and I talk about ALL the time, but hardly ever fight about, is money. I feel lucky to have a spouse who sees pretty eye to eye with me on this subject. Not always, but most of the time.

We have had a budget since we first got married. Over the years it has evolved from hand writing everything on a printed out form and stapling all our receipts to it, to an elaborate excel spreadsheet designed by Luke himself. And believe me, he has made several of those. But I think he has finally made one he feels satisfied with.

Maybe... we'll see.

I think that played a huge part in us graduating from school debt free. And even now, having four kids and two cars, our only debt is our house.

I'm not saying any of this to boast, truly I'm not because I know there are many people out there who have accomplished much greater things. I was just thinking.

New year we had sat down together, (or rather I forced him to sit and do it with me) and we wrote up a list of some things that we wanted. Not little things, BIG things. About 10 things. I guess you could say it was out "top ten" list. Some were things we NEED, like a fence across the back of our property so the kids don't fall into the ditch, and some were things we wanted, like a four-wheeler.

After that, I had Luke give the items on  the list a number based on priority. After that, I had him write down a ball-park figure for how much he thought each item would cost. It was a bit daunting to look at the numbers and yet, seeing it all written out that way made our list seem much more tangeable. Much more achievable than simply saying, we want to finish the basement, or whatever.

I think when I can see an actual number, it gives me a target to aim for and I am much more likely to work hard, stay focused and not stray when pretty red shoes come along, taunting me, trying to pull me away from the straight and narrow.

I had really, really, really, really, really, really, really, (deep breath) really, really, really, really wanted to start saving up my art money to buy some new couches for the living room. I have FINALLY found the perfect ones. Dark brown, leather, gorgeous, and the most comfortable things in the whole world. And that says a lot because I generally don't like leather. But they are also $$. Still, I thought I could save enough over the course of this year to get them by the end of it.

But after much discussing, Luke convinced me that we had other things to take care of first.

Like getting the storage room done so I would not only have a work station where I could FINALLY be productive, but also so we can start organizing and building up our food storage.

And the back fence to keep our kids out of the ditch and the weeds from the ditch out of our garden.

And the yard. The front still has no grass. Of course, its covered in snow but I mean, come spring. And a  yard needs lawn mower.

So, Luke practical-ized me and I gave up my couches in order to try and be more provident.

After all, our food storage is kind of sad. But it was a huge help when we were trying to pay off all of Alayna's surgery bills and when at the same time Luke's job decided to start paying their employees once a month rather than bi-weekly. So we are in the process of replenishing.

But as I think about building up our food storage, it seems a bit daunting. What about 72 hour kits? What about emergency supplies? Do I work on those things before, during, or after? Luke feels we should get our 3 month food supply before anything else. Which I agree with, mostly. But I would also like to start on emergency supplies that do NOT include food.

Toilet paper is on the top of THAT list!

I had bought these backpacks for the kids over a year ago when Walmart had all their back to school items on clearance at the end of September. They were $3 a piece.

All they have in them are some food and snacks and an extra pair of clothes. Obviously, the 72-hour kits and in need of some help.

Sometimes it seems like we have a plan. And yet, there are SO many things to take care of it's almost hard to decide what to start with.

I suppose at least we are trying, right?

There are many, many websites out there that have great ideas for food storage, emergency kits, etc. And if you haven't read Dave Ramsey's "The Total Money Makeover" yet, you should.

I want so badly to feel prepared and to know that we will have enough for our children should something happen. It weighs on my mind at times. And yet I can't help but feel that ANYONE who is TRYING to heed the prophet's counsel to "be prepared", will be blessed, no matter how meager their means might be.

And for that, I am truly thankful.

8 super cool people speak:

Heidi said...

Amen. To all of it.

Svedi Pie said...

I totally agree. I love the idea of living a debt free life. I really hope that Craig and I can keep up with you and Luke. Our goal is to only be in debt for a home as well. I love how you shared about using food storage while paying off hospital bills, the perfect example of why we have food storage. Keep it up girl! The sacrifice of the new couches are worth it (even if hard) :D

Valerie said...

Congrats on being debt-free!!! In our culture, in this day and age, that is unusual and great. That is one huge step toward being prepared. You are not going into debt for lots of red high heels and other fun stuff. You aren't even saving your money for those. You are working toward self-reliance and preparedness and I know that you are right. You will be blessed for doing that even if you don't have it all right away. But I do hope you can spend some of your money you earn from your art on some fun stuff too!

CJB said...

What a great post! Thanks for sharing. Lately there have been several articles printed in the Ensign about being self-sufficient. It has made me realize how much I depend on certain things. 2010 will definitely be a year where we become more independent. Thanks Sarah!!

Mama Smith said...

FANTASTIC!!! You and Luke will be SO BLESSED for following the counsel given by our church leaders!!!

Brittney said...

Way to go!!!! I love money.

Garvin Smith said...

Don't get too worried about 72 hour kits. This is NOT Church doctrine. The Brethren have never told us to get them. They may be a good idea, but the current commandment is to store, first, a three (3) months supply of what you normally eat (that's a lot of chocolate!), and secondly, to work on ones "Longer-Term Supply" (the old one year supply of basic life-sustaining commodities). See http://www.providentliving.org/channel/0,11677,1706-1,00.html

hjsmith said...

Hey girl I know it has been a while(: I so understand all that you are saying and then some(: I too feel overwelmed at times when trying to figure and get food storage for a large family and how to accomplish that let alone 72 hour kits. I know dad I read your comment(: You are not alone...and from your blog I mean that in a lot of areas not just this one(: Hope you are doing great. I love reading your blog it helps me feel not so alone too(: I need to update mine as usual and then there will be more to laugh at enjoy(: hopefully(: talk to you later(:

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