Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Four Letter Word...


Let's talk about a four letter word that is, in fact, a six letter word.  That word is budget.  I am not sure if it is an American thing or if the rest of the world has the same negative feelings about a budget. I think we think that a budget is only for poor people when the fact of the matter is not having a budget is what makes or keeps people poor. People can never afford to not know where their money is going. The rich either do it themselves, or have someone do it for them. Either way it gets done. 

I would like to discuss the whole idea of a budget because I feel it is an integral part of mommy-hood that is very often ignored.  We as mommies have a responsibility to our households.  I am not talking the whole 1950's checkered apron, beehive hair do, paste on a fake "my world could not be better" smile and hum while making a five course dinner kind of idea.  I am saying that as a woman, we-mommies have abilities that our husbands don't have.  Those abilities are not only necessary in the raising of kids, but in all other aspects of running a successful home (and, yes, there is a huge difference between a successful home and an unsuccessful home). One of those responsibilities is helping to manage the home's finances.  I am not saying that we have to do everything with the money, I would be terrible at that, but we-mommies do need to be a part of the monthly planning, or budgeting, of the household's income.  We need to know how much is coming in, how much is going out, and where it is going.  To do this, my husband and I take the following steps:

First, we have a monthly "meeting" to go over those three specifics.  Because my husband is the nerdy one of the two of us, he gets way more into the finances with Quicken and calculators and so on, but I still have a responsibility as his wife and as a co-runner of the household be educated in the area of our finances.  

Second, once we have gone over the how much and where to's, my husband and I set up a BUDGET (calm down, we do survive and live happily ever after).  Basically, we are telling our money where to go and making sure it goes there.  It is much like potty training. You point the kid in the direction of the bathroom and make sure the pee gets in the potty.    

Third, we make sure we spend the money according to the budget.  If we have allocated $300 for car maintenance, I can't decide to buy a new handbag with that.  If I have $250 for clothes, he can't buy the latest "must-have" in technology with that.  It's great because then I know that when I am spending money, I can afford to be purchasing that thing or those things. This gives me, as a women, such a sense of security and that makes me a better mommy!

Today I learned that you can, in fact, be in two places at one time.  Just learn to use your feet as hands.  

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