Saturday, January 15, 2011

I Whip My Budget Into Shape

I think everyone has at least one thing in life they battle against. One area where you constantly fight for control. There are some seasons when you find yourself mastering that thing and it feels amazing, but then you start getting comfortable and that thing creeps back in and before you know it, it has you under it's ugly thumb all over again.

For me & Ron, that thing is money management. We've been fighting that monster since we got married 17 years ago. We've made some atrocious decisions along the way, and we've made some really good ones. But no matter how many steps forward we take, the monster is always there ready to drag us backwards again (I can't even count how many times I've reset my progress map in Dave Ramsey-land).


This is a new year! And the difference between this year and every other year before is my one word:

DETERMINATION - Deciding it's worth it to finish what you've started.

It's worth it to make a budget that works. Life and marriage and parenting are all much less stressful when you're not worried about how you're going to buy groceries to cover the next eight days until payday because on the last payday you went to Red Lobster because you were tired of eating Mac & Cheese for a week straight. (Are we alone in this?)

Food is the big killer in our budget for several reasons, and I think the biggest one is that I HATE TO COOK!  I'm not good at it and I'd rather do just about anything instead. After a long day of work and driving the kids all over town, I just want to hit a drive-thru and be done with it. And we often do, thus blowing our food budget to pieces.

So, one of the practical steps I'm taking to stick to the budget this year is menu planning. Revolutionary, I know. My sweet friend, Melissa, made me this awesome Menu board for my kitchen. My kids think it's the greatest thing ever and insist on having it filled in at all times.

I'm not promising it will be filled with amazing meals, or even healthy ones (one step at a time, folks) but it will be filled in. I am determined to make a plan and stick to it. I found a great website that does Menu Plan Mondays where they have recipes for a week's worth of meals plus printable coupons for some of the ingredients. And there are tons of other helpful sites for busy moms who don't like to cook.

So, I declare here and now that this is the year the Crawfords will whip the budget into shape, whip the budget into shape (and yes, I will sing that like Willow Smith) especially in the food category.

Will we still eat out? Heck, yes! But it will be part of the plan and written on the menu board. :)

How about you? What's the one thing you battle and what are you going to do to beat it this year?


  1. uuggghhh....I hate cooking too! I convince myself that if I don't think about it someone will miraculously come and feed my family. When this continuously doesn't happen, I just call Justin and ask him to stop at Little Ceasar's on the way home. HORRIBLE! I blow our budget on eating out every week (sometimes, I make up for it by feeding the kids cereal, though) again HORRIBLE! I might just get me one of them there menu boards and follow suit. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Krista, I feel the exact same way! At any given moment, I can come up with 42 reasons why I shouldn't cook and we should just eat out. "Little Caesar's is only $5.99." "I just cleaned the kitchen." "There's only four of us tonight...there's no sense in making a whole meal, right?" Arrrgh.
    But I do have to say that the menu board has really helped. It's a small thing, but it gives our whole family a visual of the plan that we're all trying to stick to. And for the kids, it's created this weird sort of anticipation over what's coming up for dinner. I didn't expect that, but it's pretty cool.