A blast from my past – 2011, when I entered Phase 2 of adulting:

Cheese puffs are made by the devil. Satan’s executive advertising team put together their Buy One Get One Free deal and then sat back and watched as I walked in to the trap. (Like taking candy from a baby.) I bought them for Ayden’s birthday party, but all boys need to be entertained is a basketball court, several types of balls and pizza. They don’t need Cheetos. So home they came, with me, and now they are digesting. It’s a tragedy, really.

I am a sucker for a good deal, even if the good deal is ridiculous. I feel as long as I’m getting something free, it’s ok. I’m especially vulnerable to this logic when I’m hungry and grocery shopping. Buy One Get One Free Donuts! The free ones must not have any calories, so I just eat that bag and leave the other one for the kids. Buy One Get One Free chips, cookies, pizza…oh and sometimes salad. There. I redeemed myself a little bit, right? The point is, when I’m my weakest, I’m my most stupid, and being planned and organized is the key to keeping my stupidity to a minimum.

If any of you know me, “planned and organized” isn’t necessarily the first attribute that comes to mind. In my flesh, I am a crazy combination of neurotic and spontaneous. There’s a battle in my brain, for certain. But then I discovered The Planner. Without it, I am certifiably deceased. Within its pages are the details of my life – the roadmap to my days. I have only lost it once. That was a rough day.

It’s only recently that I have realized that God wants us to be proactive about how we spend our time and money. (Hang in there, I have a point.) What I like to call the “free spirit” in me felt restricted by the concept of planning to that extent. I wrote down the kids’ appointments, school related or otherwise, and called it a plan. I used to roll my eyes at people with planners and think things like, “You must be a lot of fun at parties” as I bounced around from activity to activity, constantly living in fight-or-flight, destroying my endocrine system and thinking I had it all under control. I was, admittedly, a high-functioning idiot.

As the years went by, 4 kids meant 4 different schedules of school stuff, sports stuff, and friend stuff. I broke down and hung a desk calendar on my cork board and filled it to overflowing. I used to get up in the morning and check the calendar, then give orders to my people: “Addison, remember your picture money. Ayden, don’t forget your science fair poster. Avery and Aubrey, it’s P.E. today. Wear sneakers…”

Then I became employed at a job where my schedule changes daily. Sometimes hourly. Enter said planner. This $10 tool contains fragments of all aspects of my life and has become the catalyst for my metamorphosis. I no longer bounce around. I actually know where I’m going and can (almost always) avoid the last minute scramble to get somewhere I forgot I needed to be. Then Financial Peace University sent my reformation into hyper-drive. 

Until last night, I passively absorbed the information from Dave Ramsey. Sometimes it sounded like blah-blah-blah-pie-in-the-sky-you-have-no-idea-who-you-are-trying-to-teach hooey. But last night I sat down and wrote my first in-depth budget. I got to see where each dollar needed to go, and that revelation changed everything. We have the power to be in charge of our money. We tell it where to go. We are the boss of it. Being the boss is my love language! If I am the boss of my money, I am the boss of my time. And, barring any unforeseen crisis, that reality helps me be free, contrary to my previous notions.

No longer will I be blown to and fro by the winds of circumstance. I will tell my planner, “No, planner. I cannot work Friday night” and I will tell my money, “No, money. You may not buy zombie finger lollipops. I don ‘t care if they are only $1.” I will say to my time and money, “I am the boss of you.” All of this under the direction of my Superior, of course. I’m excited not to be dragged around by my nose because of the crisis situations I create by not being a good steward. The next time Satan tempts me with demonic cheese puffs, I will look at my food budget and say, “Not today, evil crunchiness. Not today.”

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