Friday, January 18, 2013

Closeout: Family Budget

Yesterday I was thinking of the utility of shocks to the system--sudden moments that imprint themselves on our brains in a way that can overrule day-to-day routine, and, in fact, help set us onto a new (hopefully better) routine. The question I left with was: How would you react if you got to the store and realized you didn't have enough money to cover your groceries?

And my answer is: I don't want to know. I mean, I have ideas, sure, but I'm going to keep them that way for right now. I'm going to start budgeting these things with cash envelopes, and I can tell you that every time I take a look at one, the idea of spending too much is going to wash over me like an ice bath.

But in a good way.

Because the alternative is to not have that feeling (or some other sort of discomfort), and run the risk of going over our budget. And that feeling is a lot worse than the idea that I might be embarrassed in front of the cashier at Wegman's.

So, like the Food Plan, the monthly budget is going to be a work in progress. I got some differing advice from Reddit the other day as to how tightly to monitor these occasional expenses, and got a variety of responses. Once again, I found Dave Ramsey having the best advice: make a new budget every month. This isn't some thing you can do once and follow it forever and ever. Doing the budget each month means that we'll be able to work into it the quarterly and occasional expenses (birthday presents, I'm looking at you), as well as keeping our eye on the ball moving forward. Definitely feeling better about this than the process (or lack thereof) the last time around.

Speaking of which, this was the last of our pre-programmed (some would call them "fixed") tasks, and now we move forward to the larger list.
A blank pad of paper whose sheets were turned into ideas. That's a metaphor. 
While I was at it, I also added a few new ones:

21. Cut up 10 chickens
22. Do 500 push-ups
23. Learn to speed read
24. Design a dungeon crawl

Sharon did the honors of selecting this week's task, though you'll have to wait for tomorrow to hear what it is. It's a good one to start with, and the only hint I'll give is that it's one of Alex's originals. Speaking of whom, he's just posted his Week 2 results--give him a glance if you can.

And that's it for me tonight. Have a party tomorrow and some custard setting on a cooling rack upstairs--will definitely make for an interesting update. But now it's time for Dr. Who.

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