Saturday, January 31, 2015

Budgeting and blessings

Every time I sit down to do our budget, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all the help we receive. I know not everyone has these specific blessings. Not everyone can make ends meet. I'm not bragging... I'm thanking.

Of course, there is my job at the university. It is something I love doing and I am struggling to realize that in a few short months, with the approach of summer, my job will be finished. There are also our amazing parents. From insurances of all kinds, to presents and gifts, and help with the little things, they are such a blessing. Although we look forward to the day when we are completely independent, right now we feel that a little financial help from our parents is a good thing.

Finally, there is my Grandma, Bubbi. She passed away many years ago. In fact I think she has been gone from my life longer than she was physically in it. But, she set up a trust fund to help her grandchildren get through school. Not only has it provided current security, but also a comforting feeling that there are fewer student loans to pay off in the end.

So, "thank you" for all of your help.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Making decisions

My friend, Elizabeth, was blogging about decisions and fear. This was my thought:

Sometimes Heavenly Father lets us walk into the darkness, but we are never alone. We are with the light of the world. Sometimes our eyes just have to adjust. 

As I rolled the idea over in my head I realized just how true it was. When Stuart and I got engaged, I knew it was right. I loved him, and we both loved God. Therefore, we were connected by something much more stable than a feeling. However, I had moments of fear during our final stages of courtship. You see, majoring in family studies, I see all the statistics. And, since working on coding, this perception is only worse. I see broken couples almost everyday. Affairs, anger, drifting apart. 

But, the Gospel, and the atonement, are not only there for our broken pieces. if we let Him in, Jesus Christ amplifies the happy times in our lives. With Him we "see the good in the world". 

We can understand that there is much more to this life than looking for a job, choosing a major, or any other decisions that have to be made. Instead, when a decision is made, we can focus on the good of it, and pray for continued guidance. 

If we move forward, not only in confidence with our decision, but in confidence with God, we will not fear. Instead, we will be warned if something is not right. We will have a stupor of thought. It's a feeling of being unsettled, of being discomforted. Those two feelings, fear and discomfort, take time to discern. But, they are discernable. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The homemade meal

Yesterday, I made a grocery list and still forgot a couple of things. But, I am determined to stay under our budget, despite only having a little bit left. That's when I started to do the math.

You see, I already know plenty about family dinners, as that was a big part of my studies during my undergraduate education. Family dinners are healthier, and give you added time with your children, which leads to better school grades for them, and less delinquencies.

However, this another, much more obvious, benefit to a homemade meal. The cost.

Stuart and I have a budget of $45 per week for our grocery budget. This not only includes food, but also includes any needed housing needs like sponges. So, if you took those expenses out, the budget is more like $41.

I go to the store every seven days... or six if you count that fact that I forgot the noodles last night.

So, divide 41 by 7. Go ahead, do the math. I was pretty amazed.

5.85. But, there are two of us in the house, so that means that our daily food expenses (haha) are 2.93. For three meals, that means we spend about 92 cents. Wow. If that doesn't persuade you to eat out one less time, I'm not sure what will.

Now, granted. We often have weeks where we don't really eat meat, and substitute beans instead. We save up for meat little by little, and we have an occasional night out to eat. Probably more than we should. But right now, I would say I am pretty pleased with how we are doing. We are well fed and happy.

How do you do your family meals? What tips have you learned about budgeting better?