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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Confessions of Self-Righteous Budgeter

Oh Dave Ramsey. How you haunt me.

Last time I posted about the Leipprandt family finances, I was embracing the brokeness and finding joy in the journey. That was September.

In October we got some not so exciting news about our health insurance premiums going up. As in UP. UP UP.

In November, for the first time since beginning this journey back in 2007, I realized that our outgo was going to be more than our income. Not by too terribly much, around $200 or so. Without cutting back our comfortable lifestyle (Tivo, eating out, spur-of-the-moment $2 Buck Chuck purchases) we were going to have a negative cash flow month. I did realize at the time that in the grand scheme of things, this was a rich person's predicament. A few small sacrifices and we'd make our budget without issue.

But you might also recall that I was 8 months pregnant in November. And I had an 18 month old. Who had a double ear infection. Who was not napping. Poor poor me.

It was too stressful, this budgeting thing, knowing that the numbers weren't going to add up the way I wanted them to. So I punted. I didn't pull cash out, we just used our debit cards. (No big deal right?) And then I didn't actualize the budget. (Why was I doing that anyway? It's not like there wasn't still money in the checking account.)

And November turned into December, then January and now February.

For months now we haven't been living on a budget. We've been swiping our debit card at will, secure in the knowledge that Chick-fil-A and Target can't possibly break the bank. Right?

We've been fortunate, the checking account hasn't been overdrawn. But we haven't been putting money into our Roth IRAs or the Squirt's college fund either, because I haven't known how much we had available to put away. So Saturday night we sat down at the computer with a bottle of wine (as any good budget conversation should begin) and took a hard look at the dirty truth. There's not enough money right now to go into all of our neat little categories.

Come March we begin anew. Cold hard cash from the ATM, little white envelopes and everything.

Because I know it's worth it. This Dave Ramsey thing is like losing weight. First you have to do the REALLY hard work - the strict diet, the brutal exercise. And then you start seeing your progress and it doesn't seem so very hard anymore. And then you reach your goal and you discover you LIKE working out and you FEEL BETTER when you eat your vegetables. So you keep it up.

And that's when you know you're free. You're free to have cake when you want it without feeling guilty. You're free to skip a day or a week of working out, because the healthy habits are ingrained now. You're not falling off the bandwagon without getting back on.

So we're jumping back on that wagon. Anyone want to join us?


  1. I realize your the CFO, but seems to me your husband was the lazy one and allowed ya'll to fall off the wagon.

  2. But he's ready to jump back on and step it up.

  3. I'm so proud of you for posting this... it takes serious guts to put your finances out there. I wish that we could have had these kind of honest conversations with our small group before we broke up. I think we would have grown closer for it. We understand your struggle. It is so hard to cut back when you feel like everyone else is just spending more. Saying NO to things is never easy, but if it makes you feel better, I am doing it with you this year. It makes finding free entertainment a new challenge in your life. Park anyone???

  4. We are going through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University at our church right now and though we already lived on a budget, we look at so many thing so differently now. It's not easy, but we know it will be so worth it later!

  5. I'm right there with you sister! With being a military family we know all to well the strain. I'm just so thankful we learned early on in our marriage about this program That doesn't mean we've been perfect all the time or that life hasn't thrown us more than a few curve balls, but it does mean we know we are held accountable by our heavenly Father with it. Oh boy the guilt I feel when I'm not!!! My parents also taught me how to bargain shop and not to buy something new if you can get gently used. That has saved us so much money over the years ( money of which we really never had to begin with).


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