Raise your hand if you like talking about budgets? Okay, now raise your hands if you hate talking about budgets and it gives you crazy anxiety? Okay, now guess which category I fall into?
Alright, no more quizzes. Budget talks entered my life as a 21 year old– newly married, working a minimum wage job while my husband finished school. I worked there for six months before I got a better job on campus. My normal pattern whenever I went through a job/school transition was to treat myself to a shopping spree at Forever 21 or Delia’s or wherever else they sold $12 cardigans 🙂
But marriage makes new patterns and suddenly I had to discuss my spending decisions with another person. And since I was inexperienced in this area and he was a business major, I always felt intimidated and a little defensive during these conversations. As necessary as they were and are, I had to avoid them or fight through intense anxiety to have them.
Cut to 2019 and all the changes we’ve recently experienced and budget talks have been more important than ever. Fortunately I’ve gained some confidence in discussing numbers and since I’m determined to responsibly create our dream home, we couldn’t just have any budget talk. It had to be a TCK-approved budget. I thought I would share the method we came up with for budgeting our home improvements because it was one of the first times I didn’t feel terrible after one of these talks. Instead of asking for things and not understanding why the answer is no, I don’t need to ask the questions because we’re on the same page. And maybe this is more than anyone needs or wants to know but I really wanted to share something that’s been helpful and motivating for me.
The benefit of making a detailed list is that we know exactly what we need, about how much each room will cost and how long it will take to reach our end goal.
Here’s a sample chart to better visualize:
Now this can be customized to fit your own plans. Your priorities might be different depending on where you spend most of your time or the age of your kids. Your timelines might be shorter or longer or you might have an office or large hallway space that isn’t listed here. But I think the principle can be applied to a lot of plans, not just budgets. Creating a timeline and writing down specifics aren’t new concepts but their ability to build confidence and create motivation have been surprising discoveries for me. I like to plan and dream and specifics can often get in the way of that. But as I’ve grown up a little bit, I’ve seen how getting into the specifics can empower you and actually make your dreams become reality.