budgeting

Our Budget-fu is strong.

Maybe you know (or maybe you don't) that Sarah and I are Budget Ninjas. I officially took Financial Peace University in 2011 and Sarah already a great saver/budgeter stopped in for a few classes. Since then we have always chosen to live on one income, one budget, one bank account. This has been a great blessing for both budgeting and for family life balance. Some people might say that it would take some time getting used to living on one income but it is something we agreed to do before were were married. It is also something I would never want to change.

What does one income, one budget and one bank account look like? It looks like a family with goals that are worth sacrificing for. It means prioritizing our spending based on our values. It results in a freedom to do something radical like answering the call to live on support.

To get specific. Sarah and I were able to pay off all of our student loans within our first year of marriage because we made a goal to be debt free, even if it meant we sacrificed our freedom to spend however we wanted. Not only is our family debt free (outside of our house mortgage), we have also weathered lay offs and difficult job markets because we prioritized saving wisely and giving generously.

This is all to say we are responsible with the money that God has blessed us with. We don’t budget so we can brag about it. We do it because we believe it is the right way to steward our finances. And now, it has enabled us to step forward on this support journey, confident that God is going to provide a way for us to commit to full time ministry.

We know that if you’re partnering with us financially it might be awkward to ask how we spend that money so we are just going to be upfront and give you an idea of where that money goes. The first step is a look at the actual numbers for how our budget operated last year.

A few things you may notice. Our total income was at a historic low. Why? We had Lincoln and in that season Sarah took time off of work to take care of him. It also meant that our health category was at a historic high because we had to pay for insurance premiums for both Sarah and Lincoln (not to mention all the bills for his birth). Things were tight in 2015, but again and again, God has astounded us with provision for our family despite the numbers.

If we've met with you before then you know that our 100% goal is no small feat and its not because we plan to live lavishly but to simply take care of the necessities many take for granted. Outside of the obvious (Home, Utilities, & Food) the largest use of income will be for taxes. We must pay our own Social Security, Medicaid, and Federal Income Tax. Typically an employer pays half of this and the employee pays the other. In addition to this we will be funding our own retirement (another benefit that most employers cover) as well as an emergency saving fund. The final expense that is often is partially covered by employers is healthcare insurance. Fortunately we will be able to utilize healthcare incentives provided through the Affordable Care Act and Healthcare.gov.

Sarah will have a part two post later on with our plan for 100% funding budget but we wanted to share a little bit of our our past & present so you would be empowered with the knowledge to shape our future!