Newlywed Financial Blunders
When we were first married we got into a lot of debt (though not most than some but still hard on a one-income household) and we were set to change our ways.
Around that time in 2002, our parents introduced us to Larry Burkett's wonderful video series on finances. We watched these video tapes and were greatly encouraged to get out of debt and control our spending.
Larry Burkett's teachings from Crown Financial Ministries was such a great blessing and it encouraged us to freeze our credit cards (in water and a container in our freezer) so that we would stop using them. Then we set out to have some sort of budget for everything, holding our expenses accountable and set for a specific purpose.
The Goal is to Be Debt-Free
When we actually saw how much money we didn't have to spend on eating out, that became a luxury item instead of a necessity. When you're really pinching pennies and determined not to use any credit whatsoever then big sacrifices are made. Your perspective on what you truly need versus your wants and desires begin to change. You see where you can manage another week without that certain item.
We tried to make or learn to make things on our own as much as possible. Our Bradley birthing insructor, who came in for a one-time day training, introduced us to the wonderful Mother-ease cloth diapering system. They had cotton unbleached cloth diapers with snaps that kept us from using velcro ones that wore out and also allowed us to use one size that would fit all potentially.
Because we didn't have it in our budget to afford to buy many baby wipes, we bought inexpensive cloth bath towels for less than ten dollars. Most of them were actually leftovers from my home birth with our first child Heistheway. I cut that up into smaller squares and learned to zig-zag the edges to keep it from fraying. Also, using water and soap (when necessary) went a long way! We mostly wash our babies even unto this day although we now have enough money to buy baby wipes for other purposes when we need it.
We've used a few tools in the past to help us track and manage our family's finances. Currently, though, we use You Need A Budget. You Need a Budget (YNAB) offers a desktop app for OS X and Windows as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. The iOS iPhone and iPod app makes it possible for transactions to be entered on the go. The iPad app even allows you to edit your budget on the go. This makes it much easier to keep your budget current!