I wasn’t sure what I wanted to talk about today. I have several options listed on my “idea board” but none were calling to me. Usually when I blog, I’m fired up about something and need to get it off my chest or it’s something that I’ve discovered is super helpful and I can’t wait to share it. Then it occurred to me, every day I do things that are meant to help heal my autoimmune condition in some way or another….why not blog about one of the first things I did today that did just that?!?! It’s something that I’ve come to enjoy and it’s super helpful in relieving stress. So, that’s exactly what I’m going to do!
Budget… another little depressing word…. at least it my dictionary. Although, soon, I might have to change my definition for this word. I’ve always found budgeting to be pointless. I create a budget, set it aside, and then never look at it again, until I create my budget for the next month. A process that has set me, and my family, up for failure when it comes to staying out of debt, saving for fun things, and living stress-free.
Before I continue, why am I talking about a budget when my blog is supposed to be about healing my Hashimoto’s symptoms? Well, that’s because stress is HUGE in wrecking havoc on a person, regardless of whether you have an autoimmune condition or not. And not having a budget and living financially careless, causes much unneeded stress… and you know you can’t disagree with me here! Keeping your body in a constant state of stress can eventually lead to a burn out. This could include constant migraines, stomach problems like cramping or nausea, anxiety and depression, adrenal fatigue, constant fatigue, high blood pressure, increased heart rate and potential for a heart attack, disruption of sex hormones, aches and pains of the joints, and two of the most obvious ones, increased or nonexistent hunger feelings and increased fat storage. Stress can lower your immunity and cause you to be more susceptible to illnesses. If you’re trying to heal any part of your body, an over abundance of stress is definitely not your friend. So over withdrawing on your account… not having the money for taxes…. spending more money than you planned… not knowing where you money goes…. all keeping you up at night… adds stress to your already over stressed body.
When you’re trying to heal, which is what this blog is about, your body needs to be in it’s rest and digest state, turned on by your parasympathetic nervous system. If you’re in a state of stress, you’ve triggered your “fight or flight” system, aka your sympathetic nervous system. When you’ve triggered “fight or flight” mode, your body sends your blood supply away from your gut and, instead, to your muscles to prepare for the perceived emergency. All of your resources are being used to expend energy for the fight at hand. No healing can be done in this state. When you are in “rest and digest” mode, your body is calm, sending your blood supply to the gut, which happens to be right on the other side of 80% of your immune system. In this state, your body increases digestion (optimal for absorbing necessary nutrients), restores it’s resources and healing can take place. The “rest and digest” mode should be our goal. But all too often, it is not.
My goal, as someone wanting to heal symptoms from an autoimmune condition, is to find ways to relieve stress on a daily basis. One of these ways has been to figure out how to enjoy creating and sticking to my depressing, and most frustrating, budget.
I’ve always done my budget by hand. Which meant that I’d have to go back and manually write down how much I had spent and do the math to know what I had left. This is WAY TOO time consuming for someone taking care of clients, in school, working out, writing a blog…. oh and trying to be a good wife and mom. So, I googled “best budgeting apps” one day and stumbled upon a few. I started with three possibilities and I’ve narrowed it down to two. I’m still in the trial period with both but I know that I’m going to have a hard time deciding which to get rid of. Here’s my personal opinion on the three I started with:
This was recommended as number one. It was created by Intuit, the same company that created QuickBooks and TurboTax. I almost immediately got rid of this one. I’ve used QuickBooks for several years and Mint was about as user friendly as QuickBooks, which to me, is not much. For people that need something relatively simple and easy to use, I don’t recommend Mint. Apparently though, lots of people love it, so you may want to give it a try.
This one is probably my favorite if I had a gun to my head and had to choose. It was recommended as the number one get-out-of-debt budget. I find it very user friendly and can absolutely see how it can help one get out of debt. I get e-mails almost daily, if not daily, from Jesse and Todd (from YNAB) giving me little tips and tricks on how to take advantage of the app and budgeting in general. I’m not usually one to enjoy getting a ton of e-mails from companies but I’ve actually read every one of their e-mails and have found them very helpful and encouraging. (Side note, I don’t know if these will continue after my trial period or not.) You can hook up your bank account so transactions are easily imported. Once you’ve matched a Payee up to a category, it automatically matches it in the future. And if you want to change what it matches with, you can easily do that. Another feature I love about YNAB is their goal setting section. You can create goals and the app keeps track of how well you are doing. For example, if I want $1,000 saved for a vacation by June of this year, once I set up my goal, YNAB keeps track of how much I need to save each month to reach my goal and adjusts accordingly should I save more or less.
This one is my second favorite, right behind YNAB. This one may even be more user friendly. Just like YNAB you can set up your bank account to automatically import your transactions. The only difference is, where you have to approve the transaction with YNAB, with EveryDollar, you just drag and drop the transaction in the proper category. While YNAB has the goal setting feature, EveryDollar has the Debt Snowball and all of Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps. This is an amazing asset, especially if you are a big Dave Ramsey fan. As you plug in your debt, EveryDollar tells you which debt you should pay off first and which debts it recommends you just pay the minimum balance.
Both YNAB and EveryDollar have reports and graphs that you can check to see where your money is going. You can also do both online from your computer or from an app on your phone. YNAB is an annual fee of $83.99 and EveryDollar is an annual fee of $99 OR you can do monthly payments of $14.99.
I recommend that you try out any of the three or look for one that works best for you. The beginning of the year is always the slowest time for both Matt’s and my businesses. I would have been overspending and putting us in the red had I not been using YNAB and EveryDollar. (Yes, I’m still deciding!) And even though we aren’t in the financial position we want to be in, we are already several steps ahead of where we’ve been in the past because we actually have a plan. I’m not stressing (I take care of our finances so I usually carry this burden) because I’m not over withdrawing and I’m not using credit cards… I’m spending the money when we have it on what I’ve planned it for. This has taken a huge burden off of my shoulders and I’ve actually come to enjoy checking my budget each day… allowing my body for some additional “rest and digest” time. 🙂
Until next Wednesday….