On Track…for What?


My declaration!


Spring and Summer were full of a LOT of adjustments for our family:

  • We made the decision to send our (previously homeschooled) children to public school for the first time
  • I started working a part-time job
  • Our church ministry commitments changed

and a lot more tiny things that have added up to great big change around the Downs House.


I’ve spent the early part of the fall trying to get a handle on the “new life” that we have right now.  I keep expecting to “get back to normal,” but to be honest, I’m not sure what that is!


While these major changes were taking place, a lot of other things fell through the cracks.  Couponing, meal planning, and budgeting were the first to go.  The budget part, at least, wreaked havoc on our finances, so we’re in “recovery” mode right now. As we started making our recovery plans, we kept looking at schedules and hours and monthly income until our eyes started to cross. We finally sat back and asked ourselves:

What are we working for?

We were trying to put a plan in place without actually knowing what we were planning for! So we stopped what we were doing, and started listing our priorities.  I’m going to share some of those with you over the next few weeks, but I want to make sure you know one thing:

These are our family’s priorities – I don’t expect them to be yours.

I’m sharing them with you because there may be one or two things in them that may help challenge or change the way you budget, spend money, or prioritize your time. I don’t expect your budget to look like ours – we are, after all, the Downs Clowns, and no one wants to copy us!  But there may be something you read that can help you with your budget.


So, for today, I’ll leave you with this:

Know what you’re planning for before you make your plan.


Make a quick list of your own priorities for your family.  Do you love eating out? You need to include that in – not try to eliminate it from – your budget.  Would you rather be able to buy a new CD, or a new book, every month?  What are your ultimate priorities for your family:  Would you rather take a couple of small vacations or one large one? Retire at 50 or send your favorite kid to college? (Joke, people.)

There aren’t right or wrong answers to these questions – they’re different for every family.  But you need to know what your answers are before you can start working to get there.

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