Thoughtful Spending: Budgeting

Ah, the dreaded word: budget. I love the word budget!!!!!!!!! It's so empowering and freeing! It gives you such control and insight! Embrace the word budget!

I've been budgeting since I was 14. Yes, that's right. 14. My father (and my mother agreed) had this brilliant plan to make me understand the value of a dollar, and the execution started around the age of 14. My job was to sit down on an Excel spreadsheet to categorize every way I might spend money: clothes, movies, eating out, postage, hair cuts, etc. Then I was supposed to estimate how much I would spend each month, accounting for school dances, people's birthdays, etc. which would increase the expense. Afterward, we would sit down and negotiate what were legitimate expenses and what weren't. Obviously, I learned to slightly inflate the numbers after I figured out he was going to question the estimated costs!

While I still cringe when I hear someone say "the value of a dollar," this was a huge learning experience! It set-up a financial foundation that's allowed me to manage life's curves. Such grocery bill after my daughter's allergy diagnosis. Boy do we spend a lot on groceries, and it's come down over the last six months as I've learned how to save money on food!

My daughter's allergies initially were: chicken, pork, turkey, green beans, carrots, peaches, cantaloupe, soy, oats, barley, and palm. As you can imagine, this meant a huge food overhaul. We had to get rid of most of the food in our house and head to the store for new food. Unfortunately, most of the food she could eat wasn't available at regular grocery stores (did you know tuna packed in water has soy?) which meant we headed to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. While TJ's is priced well, Whole Foods is also known as Whole Paycheck. My $400 dollar a month budget for groceries sky-rocketed to $800. Ouch.

Thankfully, though, I knew how to budget, and I was able to move things around to make the bottom line work. Budgeting works. It makes you feel in control when everything else feels out of control. You can plan for the unexpected, you can forecast the future, you can analyze the past!

I'm repeatedly reminded by close friends that my excitement about budgeting isn't in the "normal" category. I'm okay with this, but I'd love to hear how you secretly love to manage your money, too!

1 comment:

DandW said...

You obviously learned the lesson well.