Flying dollar

The beginning of a new year seems to be the ideal time to work to get one's budget and finances in order. Along with the myriad other resolutions we women tend to make (I will lose 10 lbs, I will exercise more, I will have consistent quiet times, I will be a more joyful mom, etc.), determining to establish a balanced budget, get out of debt or increase savings is often high among the priorities!

I think that, in light of the current recession, there is no better time than now to revisit how you manage your money! For those who are in that place of desiring to make some financial changes, set some goals or just learn to be better stewards of your money, here are a few wonderful resources that I just need to mention.

Good Reads to Get You Started:

@ Simple Mom
Zero-Based Budgets for the Home: A Primer
How Do You Budget Wtih an Irregular Income?
Keep Your Spending Tidy With an Envelope System

@ Money Saving Mom
Budgeting 101- Part 1 and Part 2

@ Keeper of the Home
Setting up your cash system- Part 1 and Part 2 (answers to some Q&A about how our family uses a cash system)

The Best Class You'll Ever Take:

Financial Peace University

This course would be one of my top recommendations for anyone- single, young marrieds, families with children, those in debt or struggling to make ends meet- seriously, anyone! It will completely challenge many of the ways that you have thought about money or handled money. It will give you the tools to get your finances under control, no matter where you are at. It will enable you to start planning and working towards big financial goals (paying off debt, owning or paying off a home, creating significant savings and investments, preparing for unexpected circumstances, etc.).

We first read Dave Ramsey back in our first year of marriage. We were greatly in debt (close to $30,000 which was mostly my university student debt), and working hard to pay it off as quickly as possible. Through the management principles we learned, we payed off our debt in less than 3 years of marriage, despite having a baby and having me at home for two of those years! We are now working through the rest of the "baby steps" outlined in his books and course, including substantial emergency savings, long-term savings, education savings, and down payment savings. Can I just say how incredibly good it feels, to know that we run our budget and not the other way around?

To find a class near you, click here. If you live in my area (the Fraser Valley, BC, Canada), my church is putting one on starting in March, though registration is happening now (email me if you're interested- keeperofthehome (at) canada (dot) com). We are encouraging everyone we know to attend!

If you're not ready to attend a class, then check out Dave's book, The Total Money Makeover. You won't regret it!

Find a System You Love:

Here's my husband's review of the one that we've been using for over a year now, and love to recommend to anyone who will listen. :)

You Need A Budget.

Though there are many great systems out there, and it's important to find the one that works for you, we happen to think this is an excellent software for anyone desiring to do zero-based budgeting!

Care to share some of your New Year's financial goals? What resources have had the biggest impact on the way that you view and manage your finances? Any others out there using a zero-based budgeting or cash system?

These are all resources that work-for-us!