On the 24th of this month, Felicia and I sat together and had our first Budget Committee Meeting. We instituted Dave's rules and got through the meeting without an argument. The goal of the meeting was to produce a realistic budget for the month of July and we thought we did.
One of the rules for me was to shut up and give the budget to Felicia. That was hard to do. My hands were actually shaking when I handed her the budget and had to watch her make changes to it. In the middle of our meeting, the part where she looks it over and makes changes, I had to run to the store to get diapers for the kids and when I came back she explained the changes and how she made the changes balance to zero again. Her changes were reasonable and we agreed to the budget. I am pretty sure we both felt good about the budget and were looking forward to putting into effect.
The next morning while I was getting ready for work I realized we forgot to budget for some very important items. We actually both agreed on a budget that did not have any money for diapers and formula. What were we thinking?!
When I realized this, I started to panic a little and did not know what to do. Normally, the thing for me to do is to throw my hands up and say it won't work this month, we will just try again next month. But this time I remembered what Dave said, that we were going to have Emergency Budget Meetings, especially in the beginning. So of course, we had another meeting, but this one took place 20 miles apart. Felicia figured out what we spend each week on both items and we came up with a total of $304.00 a month. The first step was for me to figure out what we need to cut out so we can add $304.00 to the budget and still have a zero based budget. After reducing the transportation, personal, and clothing categories, our budget was back to zero.
The next step was to allocate which paycheck each item was coming from and this was the hardest part. A lot of the things we have are due at the beginning of the month and so the first two paychecks are going to be really tight. It is going to be real important for us to stick to the plan to make it work. When I was done with the revised budget and the Allocated Spending Plan, I had to show it to Felicia, but since I was at work and so was she, I faxed it to her. She looked it over at work and she agreed to the changes. We now have a budget that we think is a realistic budget.
You would think that I would be relaxed, knowing that we have a plan in place, but I am not. I am so worried that we are going to mess up. From now until July 10th, we have no eating out money. This is our biggest problem, we can derail our budget if we give in to temptation. We have to spend every dollar carefully. Friday was Felicia's payday and we went and withdrew all the cash we need for the envelopes and put it in there: Gas, Groceries, Diapers, Formula, and Entertainment. Maybe this nervousness and anxiety I am feeling is the gazelle intensity Dave talks about. Hopefully, I can channel this feeling into the energy we need to get this done. The first test is if we can meet our goal of having the $1000.00 emergency fund done by July 31st.