There's nothing better than a family financial boom. Flush with cash, you and your spouse breathe a little easier, you dream a little more, and the door of possibilities opens just a little wider. The great temptation is obviously to do something fun with the money... something a little reckless. The responsible thing is to use it to get ahead. How do you decide
Income and the money that your family takes in from selling things, refunds, additional jobs, or anything else that generates revenue is never linear. Your income is either decreasing or, hopefully, increasing. Even as you move through the year, your budget will grow or shrink at times. There will be unexpected bumps in income and unexpected contractions. Despite the temptation, I'd encourage you to stay the course
, stay responsible, and enjoy the security that getting ahead brings.
Alison and I have been having a great year. A number of things have caused our income to rise to new levels. We recently thought back on how things were when we were first married and how difficult the budget was
. We're now way better off than we were 3 years ago and it's a great feeling. We're making great progress on our goals and we’re staying in control.
Perhaps the biggest scheduled increase in our budget happens on a schedule. Alison is paid bi-weekly and so we get paid three times in a month twice a year. Since we live on two paychecks a month, that means we essentially have a third paycheck to use for discretionary purposes in those months. There are all sorts of fun ways we could spend the third paycheck, and we've certainly made a few fun purchases, but we largely have remained committed to getting ahead on our goals.
When I compare the feeling of buying something fun, which we have, to the security and stability that saving for a goal brings, which we also have done, I much prefer the latter. We could afford to upgrade our TV, but honestly, I'll be over that in a few days. We could afford to do all sorts of things around the house, or go on a nice date night, but we know that reaching our goal is a much more satisfying pursuit.
We're not perfect and not every dollar ends up where it’s supposed to, but we've pulled each other back from the edge of the cliff
many times. Each time, I find it helpful to remind myself that there's an infinite number of ways that we could spend that money. By recognizing that there will be something else that I’ll want after I buy that next “thing,” I’m better able to say no to myself.
Being an adult may be regarded by some to be boring, but I prefer the restful sleep of making the right choice than the nervous stress of a plan falling apart. The decision is yours, choose wisely.