7 Reasons Budgets Fail [and How to Fix It]

It may seem like a budget constrains you and stops you from living freely when in reality your future is determined by the constraints we put into our lives today.

There is that beloved word that makes everybody cringe- the budget. Why does the word budget get so much negative attention. I dare to say that when a budget is in place and working properly it is anything but negative- it’s freedom. You see, it may seem like a budget constraints us and stops us from living freely when in reality your future is determined by the constraints we put into our lives TODAY. 

People don’t fail because they don’t have goals, they fail because they don’t have a plan.

So when you are looking at making your budget this year and the months ahead, you have to be prepared. I know it takes work and I know it can be hard, but it’s worth it. I know you have plans, goals, and dreams. Let’s take the time to write them down and figure how to make those goals a reality.

So let’s take a further look at why your budget failed this last year.

1. You haven’t planned the month and the year in advance

Many of us fail to stick to our budget or overspend on our budget during the month because we haven’t taken the time to plan out the month or to determine where our money should go. There are many great resources out there for budgeting but I would highly recommend taking the course Financial Peace University  (FPU). FPU also has a free online budgeting tool you can use which helps to budget your monthly income. It’s called EveryDollar.com

Budgeting out your year and taking a look to see what the year has in store for you will take away some of the “surprises” that pop up during the year. Taking inventory of the regular things that we should be expecting every year will help us to prepare for the days it’s time to pay out. 

2. You and or your partner aren’t on the same page

When you are married, you and your spouse need to determine your financial goals. Both of your goals. Sometimes my goals and my husband’s goals don’t look the same. Maybe your spouse is thinking he wants to live on nickel-and-dime but you are not comfortable with that. You both need to state your comfort level and your fears. Then you need to meet in the middle or one of you completely has to change. I can guarantee that you both don’t think the same about money and your goals. Even if you say you do, you really don’t.

Tip: Your ability to stay on a budget will show if you’re
both on the same page.

For me and my husband, we wanted to save as much as we could for a house. So we minimized our expenses. We feel we can live with less stuff in life so we can save more money so that we can travel and can give more radically.

3. You haven’t found a goal that motivates you to save

Change happens when people start getting disgusted at where they are at in life. The frustrations and desire to change have to be emotionally convicting enough to make a change. Disgust can be one of the biggest motivators. Maybe you are disgusted with your lack of savings. Or maybe it’s your overspending. Maybe you are disgusted with all the fights about money. Maybe you are sick of not feeling like you are making progress in your future goals. Huge motivators for me have been: purchasing a house, being able to stay home with my kids, and Disneyland.

Food for thought: What is it that will motivate you when you don’t want to stick and stay to the plan? Let it punch you in the gut and help you change your behavior.

4. You fail to give

The next thing I wanted to say is that you must give. You must tithe. You must give back. Regardless of your religious beliefs, you must give. Yes, it is a biblical principle but a principle nonetheless. People who create wealth understand this principle. You reap what you sow. I totally believe that when you give 10% of your income God provides even when you can’t imagine how you could possibly make it. 

God is faithful-
when you give, it will not return back to you void.

5. You haven’t fully committed

Perhaps you like the idea of living financially free, or you like the idea of having more money in the bank, or you like the idea of taking a family vacation, or you like the idea of giving freely, BUT you really don’t want to do what it takes to make it a reality.

Let’s be real for a moment. I have been here. I have wanted to have all the “stuff” and go all the “places” and experience all the “things” but when push came to shove, what I really wanted was the $6 dollar latte and the $20 dollar target find. Well you may ask, what’s wrong with coffee and Target? Oh absolutely nothingIf you can afford it and if it fits in your budget. But what happens when you buy the $6 coffee once a week and the $20 target find every time you walk into a Target (which is probably once or twice a week)? Now you have spent $104 dollars that could’ve been put towards paying down your debt or saving for your next adventure. Now the real kicker is that most Americans are using their credit cards to purchase. So now instead of using $104 to pay down some debt you are adding $104 to your balance… It’s time to get disgusted.

6. You play the comparison game

I am guilty of this more than anyone. Comparing yourself to other people and what they have leads to discontentment. It also takes away your value. Comparing yourself minimizes the skills and talents that God has breathed into your very being.

Your worth is not defined by what you have.

If you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to others and you can tell that you are traveling into a dark hole of self-pity, there are two things you can do:

  • First, get off Facebook, Instagram and or Pinterest.
  • Second, you need to cultivate a grateful heart. Don’t underestimate good health, family, a home, a job, and food. We are among the 2% of the wealthiest people in the world.

7. You need more accountability

Surround yourself with people who you want to be like. The proverb, you are who you hang out with, is true. Research shows that you are the average of your 5 closest friends. If you want to get yourself into a different place financially, spiritually, and personally you need to find people you can learn from. If you don’t have people in your life like this, then now is a perfect time for you to pray that God puts people in your life that can mentor and lead you!

The more you stick to a budget the easier it will become. Remember, discipline is doing what you know needs to be done even after the desire to do it is gone.

You got this girl!

What do you do that helps you stick to a budget? Do you find a tip or trick invaluable to sticking to your monthly budget?

Please share!

5 Tips to Successfully Use the Cash System

Do you ever wonder where your money goes at the end of the month? How many times have you received your W-2s and (jaw drop) wondered, “How is it possible that I could’ve actually made that much money? Where did it go?” Then you think to yourself, “Ok, this year I will budget better. This year I will save more,” only to arrive the following year just to repeat the same cycle?

I know I have been there. I have always hated tax day because I never knew what to expect at the end of the year. I think it boils down to the fact that I always had some sense of guilt and shame coincide with our finances. Well I’m happy to say that tax day isn’t as scary or guilt ridden when you put a plan into place. A budget is a sure fire way to get the angst out of finances.

We have been using the cash system for a while now and have used that system to pay down debt and to save for our house. Using the cash system has taken out the gut-drop feeling of “I hope I have enough money in the bank to cover this expense.” I know that it will help you to regain confidence in yourself and your bank account. 

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Yes! In the picture, that is my Living Well Planner from Living Well Spending Less!

Tips to Successfully Use the Envelope System 

Tip 1. BUDGET

You need to break your month and year down into your budget. Breaking your year down prevents you from any “surprises” that you weren’t prepared for. Such as tabs for your car and mother’s day. So bust out your yearly calendar and start looking at how many expenses you will have for the year. To see how to break down birthday and Christmas expenses take a look here.

Example of yearly expenses:

  • taxes
  • birthdays
  • Christmas
  • licensure fees
  • subscriptions
  • summer vacation
  • car expenses (tabs, plates, repair, etc.)
  • holidays (mother’s day, father’s day, etc)

Tip 2. BUY ENVELOPES

Once you have created your budget and know your categories you can decide how many envelopes you need. For automated bills (such as utilities, mortgage, insurance, garbage, school tuition, etc) I leave that money in the bank and I deduct if after it’s been paid.

Label your envelop with the appropriate title and write the 12 months down. (Some categories I use a new envelope every month, such as the grocery budget and usually the gas budget, so I don’t label them with 12 months).

Tip 3. PLAN AHEAD

If you know you are going to be running errands make sure you bring your envelopes. You can also keep your envelopes in your purse but I don’t typically like to carry that much cash so I just grab the envelope before I leave the house.

Tip 4. LEFT OVER CASH AT THE END OF THE MONTH

Well this is always fun! If you have left over money from an envelope there a couple things you can do with it.

  • you could always keep it in the envelope and save it for the following month
  • you could save it in a separate envelope
  • you could put it into your savings account

The envelopes that carry annual expenses should continue to be left in the envelope (such as tabs for your vehicles), but the money that can be used every month such as groceries, personal, toiletries, can be saved for a rainy day (sounds like something your grandma used to say, huh?)

Tip 5. MAKE IT A GAME

My goal is to always stay within budget but I’m always looking for the best deals on things and ways to cut costs. I find it rewarding when I come in under budget for the month. It makes me and my savings account happy. 

What kind of tricks can you use to keep yourself motivated to save? Perhaps, you reward yourself with the extra cash, or you save for your next vacation?!

  • What tips and tricks do you use to stay on budget? Have you found a successful method for spending and saving? Please share your comments and questions! We are all in this together! 

Thank you for reading!

xoxo Katie

 

 

Top 7 Christmas Ideas from Bachman’s Idea House

Enjoy an enchanted journey through one of Minneapolis’ most decorated home for Christmas.

My mother treated my daughter and me to a trip to the Bachman Idea House… and jolly, was it a treat!  To those who are not from Minneapolis area, Bachman’s is a gorgeous local floral, gift, and garden shop. There are many Bachman’s store around the twin cities area but the one in Minneapolis, right off of Lyndale, has a house located next to it that is called the Bachman’s Historic Family Home (aka the Idea House). The Idea House opens three times a year, once in the spring, once in the fall and once at Christmas time. Each time the home is open, the home is decorated to perfection and is filled with the spirit of the season.

There are 7 top themes that I observed at the Bachman house that I believe will magically transform your home this year for Christmas.

~1.  Plaid ~

Buffalo, gingham, tartan, herringbone! You name it! Plaid is the name of the game this year. There were many beautiful displays with splashes of plaid.

I love the contrast between the natural elements and the pop of color from the fabric. This display was placed on a coffee table next to two adorable coffee cups. Great way to add some color and elements to your coffee table!

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This was probably my favorite wall. This room was designed specifically for the furry friend of the home. Plaid was the name of the game here! There were many patterns in this room and it all flowed beautifully. Don’t be afraid to mix and match!

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~2.  Evergreens~

Now it should not be surprising that evergreens are a top seller for this house (considering it is owned by Bachman’s), but the real kicker was the vast types of evergreens that were used in the displays. No expense was spared on these gorgeous displays.

Make sure that when you are building your winter pots that you have many elements in them. It gives your display beautiful texturing and makes it more magical.

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Combing natural elements with ribbons and bobbins truly create a beautiful display. I would have loved to share more photos but I just don’t have the space!

 

~3.  Wood~

This has probably already become apparent, but wood, especially birch, is a hot item. There were so many displays, wall hangings, and accents with birch in them. However, birch wasn’t the only loved wood at the Bachman house. Check out these adorable ideas!

 

~4.  Metal~

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There were many tin and metal elements throughout the house. I loved this one in particular because it is so vintage and because if you look closely enough you can see metal ribbon in the evergreens! I don’t know why pine needles and metal get me so excited but it just does and I love it!

Tin cans with cute snowflakes were placed in the Christmas tree as an ornament. There were also metal stars hanging from the back of the dinning room chairs with ribbon.

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This kitchen display is such a cute idea! I might have to try it. I have my grandma’s old sifter and grater. The grater is too rusty to use but it holds sentimental value and I don’t want to get rid of it.

If you happen to have any old hand-me-downs or treasures from your grandma or mom try placing them in a tray and displaying them!

~5.  Animals (deer, birds, hedgehog, yes a hedgehog)~

This was such a beautiful arrangement. I thought it was creative to put a deer head in in the wreath. So fun!

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~6.  Bottle Brush Christmas Trees~

The bottle brush Christmas tree has made a comeback! I’m not sure when these things were originally created, but I remember them at my mother’s house when I was little. I just recently noticed that Joanna Gaines posted a picture on instagram and you know what? she used bottle brushes for decorating a piano. SO cute! I just saw these at Target in the dollar section. Run, quick, before they are all gone!

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~7.  Flocked Christmas Trees~

There were many, MANY trees in the house and the majority were flocked. This is coming back around as well. I recently saw an article about this in the Better Homes and Garden magazine. If you haven’t seen the December issue, you can check it out online here.

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Hurry and make it out the Bachman’s Idea House before the last day on December 17th! For more information see the Bachman’s website.

Thank you for stopping by! Please be sure to subscribe! Have a blessed day.

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All the photos were taken from me at the Bachman’s Idea House.

Hunting [Christmas Trees]!

Thank you Nick and Elaina for letting us pick a tree from the McMillan Farm! We love it dearly.

My family just got back from an After-Thanksgiving-Day-Christmas-Preparation- Weekend. My cousin has most recently moved to the countryside of Wisconsin. She has taken the leap from city girl to country girl. (To read about her recent move and the many adventures of her homesteading life check out her blog Adventure This Life.)

Now onto the hunt! Their property has many beautiful trees- one of which became my family’s Christmas tree. The land is beautiful. The weather was beautiful. The trees were ripe for the picking.

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Cutting down your very own Christmas tree is like a right of passage to the holiday festivities. Nothing creates that Christmas feeling like cutting down a beautiful pine tree for your home.

I had considered the Charlie Brown tree, but my daughter was not thrilled with the lack of branches. Onto the next!

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I adore this picture of our son. Even though this is his third Christmas, this is probably the first time he will be aware of what Christmas is all about. He loved the hunt for the Christmas tree.

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We found the right tree! Time to cut it down!

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

(hahaha! I love Lincoln’s face in this picture. He was obviously done with the cold 😉

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Thank you for taking the time to stop and take a look-see at my blog. Blessings to you during the holidays and the new year!

 

How My Blog was Born

Taking a step of faith can be intimidating, but you never know what will happen until you simply take the first step.

Roses are red, violets are blue, sometimes dreams really do come true- hmm… er… ah… and sometimes life doesn’t go as you think it will. Here is a short version of my life and how my blog “Love Creates a Home” came to be.

 

My Story

I have never felt that I’ve led an extraordinary life, but I have always felt that life should somehow be anything but ordinary. Over the last few years, my boundaries, comfort zones and my strength as a woman, mother, and wife, have been pushed far beyond what I could imagine.

Let me start by introducing some of my family.

Here is my love. He is my rock solid strength when I don’t think I have any. He is my knight in shining armor when I need to be saved [even when I don’t think I need saving]. He is my best friend and greatest ally.

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These are my other two loves. One of them born from years of prayers, medical interventions, and hoping. The other one born unexpectedly during one of the most unexpected times of my life. Each of them a miracle; each of them a blessing. This is my family. My loves. My life.

As I said earlier, my life journey has taken me out of my comfort zone and stretched me beyond what I thought I could bear. Moving across the world to another country may sound like a crazy thing to do but when you are called by God to go, you go. So with my husband and 16 month old baby girl we headed off for an adventure around the world. That journey brought about many hard days but it also brought our son into our lives. At first it can be painful when you let go of control of your life and let God take the reigns but the reward is so much greater than the pain. After living for two years overseas, we decided to come back to home country. Family was the driving force for us to move.

After we moved home, we spent an entire year living at my parent’s house. It was wonderful to see our children build relationships with their grandparents but my husband and I were hungry to move into our own home. We searched for a year to buy a house. The market was hot for sellers and ridiculously expensive for buyers. We were out bid many times during our house hunt.

When we finally stumbled upon our current house, we knew right away that we had our hands on something with potential. The house had been on and off the market three times. There were some “red flags” with the house, e.g. possible foundation issues, plumbing issues, non functioning HVAC system, and animal infestation. So naturally we signed on the dotted line! SOLD!

We bought our house in June of 2017 and moved in a month later. We have been in the process of cleaning it out and fixing it up since then. Pretty much for the entire two years we lived on the 18th floor of a sky-rise apartment, I had been dreaming of DIY projects, home design, wall colors, refurbishing, simplifying, homesteading and goal setting. It wasn’t that I was waiting for a house, I was waiting for a home. I was wanting to belong to a community again; settle down, grow roots, build relationships. I wanted my kids to know where “home” was. Honestly, sometimes it didn’t feel like we would ever have normal again. Transitions can be hard especially when you are transitioning back to your home country after living in another country.  What I learned during my three years of waiting for our home is that you shouldn’t wish the waiting away, because life happens in the wait. You can choose to learn through the wait and hold on for the ride or you can complain about how things aren’t as you want them to be and miss life that is happening in the wait.

I spent a lot of time reading during this waiting period of my life. Learning how to grow personally through the wait. Sometimes I feel like I am learning the same lesson over and over again. Does anybody else feel that way? I have definitely been in the wait before and each time it doesn’t seem like you will make it out, but you know what? You always do. The breakthrough finally happens. The prayer is finally answered. The direction is made known. The door is open. Keep persevering in hope and faith because you never know when it’s you time. If you are too busy wishing your time away you might miss the opportunities that are right in front of you.

I have always enjoyed decorating, DIY, home remodeling, cooking, creating a home and gardening. Pretty much I would love to be a full time Joanna Gaines or, in my mother’s generation, a Martha Stewart. I love creating something ordinary or broken and making it beautiful and functional. Over the last few years, I have toyed with the thought of blogging. You know the best way to not fulfill your dreams? Think and think about an idea and never do anything about it. It wasn’t until this past summer that I had some very close people in my life speak into me and gave me the courage to start sharing my experiences via a blog. I am not a professional interior designer or architect but I definitely have a passion and the drive to convert the used to beautiful and to turn nothing into something. I have a heart for women, entrepreneurship, small businesses, creativity, action, organization, dreaming, goal setting, and personal and spiritual growth. I am excited to see where this blog will take me. I am hoping you will learn a thing or two that will help inspire you to achieve a dream (or to pick a paint color) that you have always wanted.

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We are still in the process of fixing up our house. I would love it if you would join me as we figure out the ins and out of our remodeling projects and hopefully you can take some golden nuggets with you along the way! Grab a cup of joe and a hammer and join me as we begin.

 

Shout out to my girlfriend! The cute cute sloth notepad in the first picture is from her store Spoils of Wear.

 

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