Sunday, January 15, 2017

Due to Budget Constraints, No Sardines Will Be Purchased Until Tuesday

I have a budget, which is big talk from someone without any money. But now that I have a budget, I'm counting on the money to follow. 
Graphic: Copyright, Teece Aronin
My budget is calculated by taking each bi-weekly paycheck and setting aside at least half of what I need for each fixed monthly expense. Then I pull out what I need for groceries and personal care expenses for the kids and me and put it in envelopes. This keeps me on the straight and narrow and curbs the temptation to buy three shoes instead of two - you know, like people do. 

Sticking with a budget also means sticking to your guns. When the kids beg, "Please Mom, can't we have cake and chips for this weekend?" I calmly explain that they must then decide what they are willing to give up: toilet paper or heat. Notice the flexibility I employ in my willingness to dip into the fixed monthly expenses allotment in order to buy the cake and chips as long as they are prepared to sacrifice a bit on their end. I think this helps them to better appreciate the value of a dollar and to respect their mother's financial agility. 

If nothing else, they know that a woman with budget smarts and determination is in charge and that gives them a sense of safety when it comes to money. 

 My own personal finance hero is a woman I know who double checks the cost of what's in her cart before getting into the check-out line. If she's over budget, she swaps out or puts back items until she's at her limit again. She doesn't feel depressed or deprived over it because she knows the greater good is being achieved by being in control of her money. 

Being careful with my expenditures allows me to funnel more money into my vacation and entertainment accounts, and the kids appreciate that too. No more staying in independently owned hotel franchises with no elevators, no coffee and no door locks. This summer we'll be checking into a Holiday Inn, baby, and won't it be fine? 

Ah yes, the best is yet to come.