One thing that comes with baby: review of the finances! A couple months ago I went through our monthly expenditures to try to see what our current budget was. Yes, for the past 3.5 years of marriage Matthew and I have not lived on a set budget. We knew what monthly bills we had and we knew how much excess there was. We never spent more than what we had so it seemed a good system. We were able to put away some savings for the future and all was well.
With a baby on the way, that system doesn't seem to be the best. So I made a list of our expenses. We immediately cut out some non-essentials so we could use those funds on baby gear or to add to savings for once baby arrives. This included getting rid of Xbox Live, one of the RPGs Matt plays on his computer, and magazines for me. I also started cooking more at home so we would have plenty of leftovers and we limited our "date nights" which used to be every week or sometimes multiple times in a week!
Christmas was the exception where we went out of our budget... but that happens every year. After that I began to stress a little about finances once baby comes. I was not planning on coming back to work after the baby but I might go back to my current job, find a new job where I could work from home or take baby with me, or transition to a new position in the same department I am currently in. So many options to help out my family financially.
Anyways, we have been much more careful with our finances in 2012. We had a major blessing when we received our lease renewal paperwork and saw that our rent cost is lowering by $60 for the next year! We figure we'll renew for one year. If Matt is selected for the Army then his training will last around the year timeframe at least so Jackson and I will remain in Lynchburg. We also thought we needed medication for our cat, but she has stopped urinating outside the litter box so that problem may be solved! We determined to only have one date night a month except in special circumstances (ie, my graduation, when Matt hears he is accepted into the Army, etc). I thought this would be difficult since we were used to eating out whenever we both were home at the same time. Amazingly, we have been able to keep to one date night a month! Yes, it's only been 2 months so far... but it has been so enjoyable to cook and make new meals for us. Preparation for mommyhood!
I have honestly been so impressed with both Matt and I and our willingness to sacrifice our wants for the baby. It seems minor, getting rid of Xbox live and magazines, but to us that was part of our lives before! We'll probably resubscribe to all of that once we get settled into a new routine with life and finances after baby... but for now we want to play it safe.
This morning Matt wanted me to come over to his computer as I was getting ready for work. I expected him to show me something "cool" in the game he was playing. I am not a morning person so I rudely told him no and continued what I was doing. A little later he came over to me and said he had canceled his game and deleted all of his characters so he wouldn't be tempted to renew the game. He received a free 7 day subscription so had been playing on that. This was one of his favorites games and he has played it for several years. It requires a monthly subscription. He wanted me to click "enter" to cancel his character with the most playtime and status. He knows the money could be better used elsewhere and he knows he will most likely want to spend time with Jackson instead of the computer once he arrives. This is one of the reasons why I love my husband.
Having a child will certainly our lives. Much more than we anticipate, I'm sure. But we will be in a new phase and have new adventures and new desires. I can hardly wait to see the changes in our family. We both love Jackson so much already. It will difficult not to completely spoil him once he gets here. At least we can spoil him with all our time and love!