Why We OFB

Jo and Jo

It’s been an interesting couple of months in the OFB household. Life has been crazy. I’ve hinted at this a few times, but seriously, the last few months just really kicked our trash. Johnny has been traveling more than ever for work, and his workload has also been heavier than ever. And I’ve had some personal hiccups arise as well the past couple of months, which have been harder than usual since all my energy is already consumed by a toddler who thinks “no” means “yes” (she really does).

At times like this when life is throwing us more than we can handle, Johnny and I sometimes sit back and ask ourselves why we’re adding OFB to the mix. It’s not a question of should we? We decided that a long time ago. But it’s a question of why? What is the purpose of Our Freaking Budget? Do we feel like we’re actually helping to proliferate the discussion of sound personal finance? Two hours of discussion later (because that’s how we roll), we realized it all comes back to one very simple principle: keeping a budget has made everything possible. That is what we believe, and that is our message. And that message applies to anyone in any stage of life.

  • A student on the cusp of graduating and starting a first real career with thousands in student loans
  • A newlywed couple trying to traverse the financial changes that their new life brings
  • New parents trying to get a grip on how to have a baby without breaking the bank
  • A family of three with a husband/wife who recently lost a job, needing to find a way to make ends meet until they find their next job

We’ve been there. And each and every single scenario required one simple remedy — a budget.

Because of our budget, we’ve been able to get out of debt in less than two years, save for a rainy day, go on vacations (and keep a budget while we’re on them), put money toward retirement, and plan for our daughter’s future. We haven’t been able to do any of this because we’re smart. Or because we’re rich. Trust me, we’re neither of those. We’ve been able to do it because we’ve consistently stuck to a budget.

There are an abundance of sites that preach the nitty-gritty details people need to optimize their finances — what to invest in, growing your portfolio, the stock market, IRAs, etc. And while all of that stuff is good and well (and stuff that we have or will blog about at some point), it all means nothing if you’re not bringing in more than you spend. And there’s no better roadmap to following that principle than a budget.

So we hope to continue writing about all the weird, random stuff we currently write about, but we want to make sure that we don’t forget why we believe in this. (This post is starting to sound like an AA meeting.) So whether you’ve never taken a crack at budgeting or you’re still trying to figure yours out — or even if you’re an all-star budgeter who has your budget on autopilot and you rarely check it, we hope that we’ll have something worthwhile to share (even if it’s just a photo of Sally with another variety of food smeared all over her face). And here’s to hoping the demands of life become a bit easier to juggle in the near future!

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  • Reply Sara October 15, 2014 at 8:06 am

    You’re a total inspiration to me! You’re the only blog I enjoy reading – most of the others are filled with sales and deals, and if I’m budgeting I don’t need those offers tempting me! Between David ramsey and u guys we’ve paid back 20 grand of debt in 6 months through extreme budgeting. Theres another WHY for u- u r inspiring and helpful to so many! Keep it up please !

    • Reply Joanna October 17, 2014 at 2:50 am

      Thank you, Sarah! Your words really mean a lot. And that is *incredible* the amount of debt you’ve paid down so quickly. Major, major kudos!!

  • Reply Joshua C October 15, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Amen on how budgets allow for everything else to follow! I also want to say that I appreciate the way the both of your write. Your sass and wit are what makes your blog so refreshing to read! So keep OFB-ing!

    • Reply Joanna October 17, 2014 at 2:54 am

      Thanks, Joshua! If by “sassy” and “witty,” you mean “pretty weird,” then that we are!

  • Reply Rob October 15, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Cheer up guys! From past experience I know how hectic life can get at times. Wait ’til you have two little rug rats like we had when we were in your shoes! 🙂 Wouldn’t trade them for the world though. And back when our two kids were just a few years old I (like Johnny) was working a lot of long hours. Times were crazy then too. But eventually things got better and we all survived. And like you guys we too kept a detailed budget, ever since we were married in our early 20’s. Today, as you say, our budget basically runs on autopilot. I agree with you – everyone needs a budget – even if one doesn’t always keep to it at times because you can fix problems unless you first are aware that you one.

    Oh, and just a little side-note, Joanna – if you think that it gets crazy with “Little Miss no means yes” at times, try having 8 kids like my wife’s parents had back in the day! Now that lifestyle sure needed a budget, eh? 🙂

    • Reply Joanna October 17, 2014 at 2:57 am

      I always love hearing your perspective, Rob! I love hearing from someone who’s been there and done that and made it through.

      And just so you know, I won’t be trying having 8 kids…. I grew up in a family of 8 kids, and experiencing it from that perspective was enough for me! 🙂

  • Reply elaina October 15, 2014 at 9:44 am

    I stumbled upon your blog about a year ago. You have changed my thoughts on money, retirement, and debt so much. While my budget would probably be considered a “sad attempt” in most people eyes, it’s working for me great! I am in the “building an emergency fund” phase right now and with my tiny income that basically all goes out the door in living expenses I have managed to save $1000 in a short time! I look forward to all your posts even when it is just a random few paragraph check in about anything! You guys have made an impact on my life that I truly appreciate!

    • Reply Joanna October 17, 2014 at 2:58 am

      That’s awesome, Elaina! Way to go on building that emergency fund. And thank you for the kind words… they mean a lot!

  • Reply Myles Money October 15, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I couldn’t agree more. We all need a roadmap, We all need a plan. Unless you’re made of money and don’t need to care, how are you going to keep track of everything without a budget?

  • Reply Katie B. October 15, 2014 at 9:49 am

    I just discovered your blog a month ago and I have to say – it is one of my absolute favorites!!! I love reading it. I read all sorts of financial advice, but this blog is my favorite because you’re two people living a very similar life to me and my husband and I can totally relate to everything you’re writing. I can see how your advice plays out in real life. I appreciate all your honesty and encouragement!

    My husband is in his last year and a half (BETTER be his last year and a half!!!!) of doctor school (PhD doc, not MD doc). While we make maybe a third of what we will make once he is done, we are somehow staying afloat – all because we budget. Some months are harder than others, but this is the first school year where we have not really needed a student loan (and we have a 20-month-old in daycare!)! That’s amazing! We are so proud!

    • Reply Joanna October 17, 2014 at 3:00 am

      Thank you, Katie! Hearing from people who are in the same boat that we are is inspiring for us, too!

      And I love hearing about your experience with keeping a budget. Way to go! Keep up the awesome work!

  • Reply Sarah October 15, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Okay, y’all almost gave me a mini-heart attack because I thought you were about to say that you were going to stop blogging for a while. Just had a favorite blogger decide to quit and their intro sounded kind of like yours. Huge sigh of relief here! Can’t lose you guys too! 😉

    • Reply Miranda October 15, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Are you referring to YHL because that made me really, really sad. Also, I had the same mini-heart attack and thought the same thing… =)

      • Reply Sarah October 15, 2014 at 10:31 am

        Yyyyeeeessss!!! I literally had tears in my eyes when I read their last post. They were the first blog I ever read (over four years ago) and I have read every single post since I started. I still keep waiting for them to pop up and go “just kidding!! we could never leave you guys!” but that’s probably not going to happen. A girl can dream though, right??

        • Reply Miranda October 15, 2014 at 10:52 am

          I know. =( I went to one of their book signings when they were in my town and got to meet them. They are so nice. I’m really bummed about the whole thing. I mean, I understand, but still. I’m going to miss them big time… Glad I’m not the only one in ‘mourning’.. Haha!

        • Reply Sarah October 15, 2014 at 1:23 pm

          No, you are definitely not the only one in mourning! hahaha
          I’m so jealous you got to meet them though. Hopefully they’ll have another book tour when they release their second book and *maybe* I’ll get to meet them then. That would be amazing!!

        • Reply Becky October 21, 2014 at 9:40 pm

          Me, too! Now we’ll never see what there house looks like without all the blue trim! And I’ll miss following along as Clara and Teddy grow up. *sniff*

        • Reply Sarah October 22, 2014 at 12:36 pm

          I’m hoping they’ll at least post pictures to their instagram as they make progress….and as the kids coninue growing up!

      • Reply Joanna October 17, 2014 at 3:02 am

        And I agree about YHL… I still am pretty devastated that they’re gone. They were simply the best!

        • Reply Miranda October 17, 2014 at 9:14 am

          Agreed! Any chance you and Johnny want to buy that house you were thinking about and start renovating every room?? You even have a cute blonde baby girl! 😉

    • Reply Joanna October 17, 2014 at 3:01 am

      Oh no! We didn’t mean to sound dramatic! Sorry it came off like that!

  • Reply Miranda October 15, 2014 at 10:36 am

    1. You scared the crap outta me because I thought you were going to announce that you’re not blogging anymore. So… glad to hear that’s not happening. #icanteven
    2. I have also been feeling like a crazy person for the last couple of months. September was just the worst. I blame Mercury being in retrograde. I have no idea what that means, but apparently it’s a thing, so I’m blaming it. You should totally do it with with me.
    3. I don’t where I’d be without ye old budget. Well. I do, actually. I’d be broke. And sad. And wouldn’t have any money for a good haircut or fancy yoghurt that’s spelled with an ‘h’, and those things are really holding me up right now.
    4. I’ve had too much coffee so just ignore this whole comment please.

    • Reply Joanna October 17, 2014 at 3:04 am

      Oh dear!! The last thing I wanted to do is make anyone think that. And sorry to make your YHL thoughts resurface. I’m a terrible person!

      Stupid Mercury in retrograde. I’ll blame that, too.

  • Reply Emily @ evolvingPF October 15, 2014 at 11:19 am

    I recently took the time to re-evaluate why I blog and it really helped me refocus on the activities and audience I want to have. I think times of stress and change tend to provoke those thoughts.

    ITA about the importance of a budget! Especially for keeping the goals in a marriage in the forefront for both people.

    • Reply Joanna October 17, 2014 at 3:04 am

      Yup, it’s a simple thing, but it makes all the difference!

  • Reply Jen October 15, 2014 at 11:20 am

    I find your blog to be one of the most real financial blogs that I can relate to. It’s a road map for where my husband and I want to be (debt free, saving for a house, savings in the bank, able to save for our future children’s education). It gives me the daily affirmation I need that yes, we can do this! Stick to the budget! So thanks for hanging in there for us. 🙂

    • Reply Joanna October 17, 2014 at 3:13 am

      Thank you, Jen! Your words really mean a lot. We literally started with nothing (in the red, actually), and we haven’t gotten any help along the way. And yet, we’ve been able to accomplish our goals. So you guys can and will definitely have success!

  • Reply Abbie October 15, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    I’m going to echo what Sarah & Miranda said above… I was very concerned that this was a “welp, see ya later” kind of post, and I’m very relieved that it’s not. 🙂 Your blog has been exceptionally inspirational for me, and helped me get on track with a REAL, ACTUAL budget a few months ago. And it has continued to keep me motivated even through the seemingly endless vet visits & meds that come with having a very sick pet (tiny cat is doing okay now, thankfully). And now that I’m desperately scrambling to get my financial house back in order, I’m very grateful for blogs like yours that remind me that it’s possible.
    Just my long-winded way of saying thank you! 🙂

    • Reply Joanna October 17, 2014 at 3:15 am

      Oh no! There I go sounding more dramatic than I meant to… so sorry about that! I’m so happy to hear your budget is going so well and that your little kitty is doing well!! How lucky it is to have such a caring mama! And thank you for the kind words… they really mean a lot!

  • Reply Even Steven October 15, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    I’m new to the site, but the obstacles that you mentioned with more travel and work, while caring for a new baby would make anyone think that life is going to fast and to take a moment and be happy what you have done and continue to accomplish.

    • Reply Joanna October 17, 2014 at 3:16 am

      Thanks, Steven! I think what we really need is a vacation!

  • Reply Hilary October 15, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    I just started reading your blog- literally, 2 weeks ago. I am a 36 year old woman with 2 young kids & I’m a SAHM. I love your site! It’s strange how – more or less- all budgeting advice is the same but the way you present it seems so much more understandable to me. Kudos! and Thanks for your candor : )

    • Reply Joanna October 17, 2014 at 3:17 am

      Thanks, Hilary! It’s really helpful to hear that. Lots of times I write a post and just pray it makes sense to other people, so it’s good to hear that it sometimes does!

  • Reply Amy October 16, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    I really enjoy your blog – your budget conversations remind me of the random budget conversations I have with my husband!

    • Reply Joanna October 17, 2014 at 3:19 am

      Thanks, Amy! They’re necessary conversations to have, even if Johnny and I oftentimes have to just agree to disagree! 🙂

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