So we just successfully completed our first "budget month". I was amazed at how well it went, how free I felt, and that we even managed to have a few dollars left over at the end of the month. We learned a lot throughout the month about our relationship with money and how carelessly we were spending before. It's amazing how the little things add up, and how you really can live without that gossip magazine or frozen-prepared food.
The thing I thought I would miss the most is going out to eat (and don't get me wrong, I do miss it) but now I look forward to and appreciate the times when we do go out. Out of our entertainment fund we plan for two dates for just Brian and I, and one date each for Biniam and Emma. Brian and I rotate who gets to take the kids on their dates. The dates aren't anything fancy; Brian and Emma went to Red Robin, Brian and Biniam went to a discount movie, and Brian and I ate out once and went to a movie once. But we all look forward to them.
There were a couple glitches last month, for example we forgot to list our cell phones on the budget, and Brian had to use his debit card a couple of times when he forgot to grab cash (we're trying only to use paper money until we get a hang of things). But we're really excited to be gaining control over our finances, and we know that the Lord has blessings in store for us.