by Shannon Brown
There was a day in October 2011 that I will never forget. It was the day that my first baby turned two months old, and it was also the day I was due to return to work. He was a fussy baby who rarely slept and never wanted to be put down, and I knew my heart would be broken if I had to leave him. At the same time, I had no idea how we would afford for me to be a stay at home mom. Nonetheless, I sent in my letter of resignation.
We have made big changes in our financial lives since then to make living on one income work. However, there was one relatively small change that immediately and dramatically reduced our financial stress…
We simply started tracking where our money was going. From there we made a budget and a larger financial plan. Until that point, I hadn’t even realized how much stress was lurking just beneath the surface of our everyday lives due to not knowing where we stood financially. As soon as we had a goal and a direction that we were headed together, I was amazed at how the stress melted away.
No, not everything was perfect right away. Far from it. However, we now had a clear picture of our financial reality. Having to live on a tight budget might seem restrictive and stressful at first glance, but it’s really just the opposite. Now, whenever there’s something I need to buy for the house or kids, I don’t worry and wonder whether there will enough at the end of the month. I know exactly how much is in that budget category, and I don’t feel bad about spending within that amount.
Maybe you dream of being a stay at home mom like I did, or you want to stop fighting with your husband about money, or you just want to get to the end of a month without having to dip into savings or use credit. Whatever your situation, I challenge you to take a little time at the start of this new year to make a financial plan for your family. Then enjoy that immediate sigh of relief you experience.
Shannon Brown writes about frugal and simple living at GrowingSlower. She is the author of Natural Birth Stories: The Real Mom’s Guide to an Empowering Natural Birth. She and her wonderful husband are parents to an energetic little boy and a peaceful baby girl.
We would like to thank Shannon for being our guest today!
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