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Saturday, February 9, 2008

B***GET


"Budget" should be a four-letter word. Because when you're talking with your spouse about money and the word "budget" gets thrown out, it feels bad, like getting reprimanded by your 2nd grade teacher for talking during the lesson. When someone says they're on a budget, it's a nice way of saying they don't have any money. A hopeful euphemism that isn't big enough to hide the truth.



As of January we are on a budget. Which is a nice way of saying that the money I didn't realize I was spending on Bubba's halloween costume (Grimace), groceries (luxury fruit smoothies), and preventable emergencies (the locksmith's fee for retrieving the only set of keys from our locked car), is maybe more than is coming in.

We've decided to try having a cash allowance. At the beginning of the week, I retrieve the allotted amount of cash from the bank, and I try to stretch the money out until the next ATM withdrawal. To be honest, at first I thought I would hate this budgeting techinique, but it's actually starting to grow on me. It's made spending money into a game that rewards me for spending less. If we get to the end of the week and have money left over, then we can upgrade from Wendy's to say, Red Robin for dinner.

Plus, spending cash feels more like spending money than using a debit or credit card. If I opt for the generic brand of a product at the grocery store, I'm actually walking out of the store with a dollar more in my pocket. Chi-ching.
Even still, this new money managing method comes with some drawbacks. Like this week, Bubba had exactly 2 Pringles in his sack lunch on Friday because the cupboards were pretty bare. And sometimes the game of spending less than the determined budget amount isn't as fun as other less fiscally restricting activities. I'm already craving carefree shopping sprees at Target, under florescent lights, tossing a knit sweater into the cart, raiding the sale rack in the children's department, perhaps strolling down the frozen foods aisle and spontaneously splurging on a pint of Ben and Jerry's ...

6 comments:

janel said...

So does B**dget mean it's time to shop for shoes at Goodwill? (Where's the Exchange when we need it?) I really liked the picture of Bubba in a suit, holding 2 pringles in a bag. Classic. I wish I were there to share a contraband pint of Ben and Jerry's..., for old time's sake. Back when we had big money from Notre Dame rolling into our student accounts. : )

jdm said...

I totally understand where you are coming from. Matt and I are really trying to save. And now that we are a single income family its been hard for me to accept that I am not really contributing the way that I had been. Anyhow like you said the game may have changed but the players remain. Ok you didn't actually say those words. But I have been doing little things to try to help out our family in similar ways. And this last week I actually sold 2 things on Craigslist. We weren't using them and I couldn't think of a time that we would so I thought someone might want them. Anyhow within a week they were sold and I was able to buy 2 baby bjorns and a pack & play with the money. I knew that we needed them for a trip this summer but somehow couldn't force myself to fork over the money for them. Anyhow I felt crazy proud for not spending anything for some things that we needed and you know I get a little personal delight from being crafty because I love a good deal!

Stacy & Mike said...

We are on the "envelope cash only" system right now and most the time it works and is wonderful. Once in while it's annoying and I resent not having what cash I want on hand knowing my debit card has the exact amount and more than I need.
Pringles...I love them because you can usually find them for $1 and I can usually fit that amount into the b**dget without much difficulty. However, if they are gone by Wednesday Mike doesn't have a crispy, salty snack Thurs and Friday. We just laugh! Loved this post!

Vic, Linds, and the girls... said...

That is a very good way to do a budget. I need to try that. That was a good post, loved reading it!! Hope you guys are doing well!

Marci said...

B***get is such a bad word around our house I am not allowed to look into our finances lest I have nervous breakdown! One day, when we are rich and famous I hope to look back on these days and laugh. Until then cheers to top ramen!

kdudley said...

WHAT?! We have to budget after law school?!!! HA HA HA...I'm totally living a dream thinking otherwise! I loved this post, mainly because I can totally relate and you wrote it out just perfectly. Thanks for sharing and making me remember we aren't the only people in the world who have to do budget :)