OFB Baby Update: 15 Months

Baby Bucks

General Baby Thoughts

We have entered the climbing stage of toddlerdom. Sally spends half an hour climbing up on the couch, and then down from the couch. Up on the couch, then down. Up, down. UP… you get the idea. This has resulted in her falling off the couch several times, which leads to crying and then climbing back onto the couch. When she’s not risking her life by walking around on our bed or trying to climb out of the grocery cart, she’s a very fun little girl who says “Yah” and “No no no no” dozens of times each day.

And, for you future parents out there, I’m gonna tell it to you straight. Tantrums have started… at least for our little angel. Stiffening her whole body, trying to force out a cry, and throwing herself onto the ground are a few of Sally’s signature moves. And then she screams and flails about to her heart’s content. Johnny and I are trying our best not to yell and fling ourselves about in those moments, too. But when she’s not throwing tantrums, Sally’s a pretty swell kid, and we’re as obsessed as ever.

Financial Baby Thoughts

Financially, this is a good age. Sally’s too young to know what the Easter Bunny is, for instance, so he won’t be visiting her this year. Are we heartless? And she’s too active to really care about toys, so we haven’t bought her any of those recently. In lieu of an Easter basket, I bought Sally two books, which cost $10, since she is a bit of a bookworm these days (including actually eating through the books). As far as clothes go, we haven’t bought any clothes in months. She grew so fast the first year, but then it slowed down big time. But everything’s starting to look a tad short, so soon I’ll be buying her some summer clothes in the next size up. I did recently splurge on these red Salt Water sandals, but the cute overload all summer long will make them worth every cent spent, which was $25. I thought I’d be buying an Easter dress for her, but my mom did the honors, so our only other expenses for the month were about $40 on diapers and wipes. So the grand total for the last 30 days of Sallyhood? $75

And now, some pictures of our pride and joy:

15 Months 1

15 Months 2

15 Months 3

For the been-there-done-that crowd, does this sound pretty typical? How do we relate and differ? Does Sally’s love of digging through our trash mean she’s gonna be the ultimate thrifter?

The Many Definitions of a Budget

Budget

Some things are meant to be subjective. Like your favorite candy, for instance. If I asked Johnny to define the perfect candy, he’d grab a box of Good ‘N Plenty’s from the cupboard. If he asked me to define the worst candy, I’d take that box of Good ‘N Plenty’s and throw it in the trash. And as Johnny mentioned in this post, he won’t be partaking in any Peeps next Sunday. So I’ll be forced to eat double the amount of Peeps so we stay in good favor with the candy gods. But it’s perfectly a-okay for our definitions of good candy to be polar opposites.

But there’s one thing that seems to have lots of definitions when it should just have one definition. And that’s budgeting. If you asked 10 random people if they have a budget, there’s a good chance that almost every single one of them would say “Yes.” But if you asked them what a budget is, you’d probably get 10 different answers. And here are a few of them:

The “I’m out of money” budget – This budget is the one where you don’t spend more than you have in your bank account. I know this budget well because I used to budget like this when I first started college. Friends: “We should all go out to dinner tonight!” Me: “You guys can go, but my budget is just too tight.” Translated: I’d love to, but I only have $5 in my bank account. I thought as long as I didn’t go into credit card debt, I was doing okay. Sure, I spent every cent I made. But it wasn’t overspending because I didn’t spend more than I had, right? Right??

The “I don’t buy the most expensive stuff” budget – Sometimes, budgeting is defined as simply restraining your spending, even if just a little bit. Buying a $2,000 rug doesn’t deserve a pat on the back just because there are $10,000 rugs out there. Or this: “We stuck to a budget on vacation.” Translated: We didn’t always choose the priciest restaurants, and our room wasn’t the penthouse suite. Unless there’s a rhyme or reason to how much you spend, it’s not really budgeting.

The “As long as it’s a good deal, it’s okay to buy it” budget – There have been months when Johnny and I have found ourselves drifting into this definition of budgeting. Despite coming up with a specific budget, you don’t really commit. Or, rather, you commit until something totally splurgalicious comes your way. “We’re not spending any money on clothes this month.” Translated: If we go to Target today and I see a cute shirt, I’m getting it. Because Target’s a good deal. So it’d still be within our budget.” 

Maybe one of those definitions sounded eerily familiar, like seeing an actor in real life and thinking he must be someone you know. Or maybe you have a different definition of budgeting you’d add to that list. Johnny and I would like to add a definition, and that’s our definition of budgeting.

The “I track my spending with a purpose” budget – For Johnny and me, budgeting has a simple, yet specific definition. First, it’s setting financial goals. Then it’s coming up with a plan to achieve those goals. And last, it’s tracking your spending and savings each month. It’s not just tracking and saving, though. It’s tracking and saving with a purpose.

That’s our definition in very, very short form. If you’d like our long form definition, here it is. Maybe someday when we’ve met every savings goal we can think of, it will be okay to to just buy what we want, when we want. But I’d like to think that even then, we’ll still stick to a budget. What about you? How do you define budgeting?

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