Budgeting: The Breaking Point

There was a moment in time when I had my breaking point with our debt. It was after this past Christmas. Every year after Christmas I sit down at the desk and go through all of our files.

I transfer all the old bills and closed accounts to the filing cabinet in the basement. I like everything on my desk to be current for the upcoming year. This past year I made my annual debt list. Usually, this list gets thrown away around March.

Honestly, I would always get tired of looking at it. Who wants to look at a paper with all your failures on it? To me, that’s what that list was, failures. Since I don’t like failing and will generally not even try something if I think I will fail at it, this list was a real annoyance.

Like I have said before, we knew we needed to get out debt. We had attended debt classes and read books. We always thought we’d get out of debt someday. We just never really brought it down to the here and now.

I sat there and listed out all of our credit debt. Since I didn’t have the sheet from last year, I couldn’t be precise, but I was pretty sure the list had gotten longer. What a disappointment. I felt sick. Literally sick to my stomach. This was the exact moment that I knew I had to make it my goal in life to get us out of debt. I didn’t even care if my hubby was on board, I was going to do this with or without him.

That night after the kids went to bed, I showed him the list and told him my frustrations. We then had one of the frankest conversations in our history. He was equally appalled as we had spent an entire year with our heads in the sand. We talked and talked and hashed and re-hashed. Finally, I admitted to him that I didn’t believe anything he said. He admitted the same. We had had many of these “money” conversations in the past.

We “talked” but never “did”. He could tell me he was gonna budget till he was blue in the face and it didn’t matter, and vice versa. Our words meant nothing to each other. Here we were, after 13 years of marriage and 3 children and we had no stock in what the other one was saying. It was, to say the least, sad, eye-opening and life-changing.

We both knew we had to do something. We had to quit talking and start doing and it had to start immediately. We promised each other that this time would be different. We agreed that I would make the budgets out and then we’d go over them together before any money was dispersed. We knew we both had to be aware of the finances at all times for this to work.

Together we devised a plan with a goal that we felt was reachable for this year. We set that plan into action and we haven’t looked back.

That was nearly 5 months ago. Words cannot express what a blessing that breaking point is to me. For without it, we would still have our heads buried in the sand. When your head is in the sand, you are oblivious to what’s really going on around you.

We had to become willing to see what we were doing to our financial future. We had to be willing to change ourselves and our habits. Even though 5 months isn’t that long we have made great progress.

The road ahead is long but gets easier with each turn. If you are facing a mountain of debt, please don’t be discouraged. You can conquer it! I am by no means an expert, but I am here to encourage and help any way that I can.

So, when you reach your breaking point and you decide once and for all you want to budget, do it!!!! Remember, actions really do speak louder than words.

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