Budget Busting

piggy bankI’ve been known to call myself a cheapskate from time to time. One friend says nope. I’m just frugal. I’m not sure either description is one-hundred percent accurate though. It just depends on the situation.

When the kids were small and there was never enough money to do everything I wanted, it didn’t take long to figure out how to manipulate my income so it stretched a little further. That sounds terrible but what it really means is that if I could bring myself to choke down hot dogs or tuna and noodles a few times a month – instead of expensive steaks or roasts (or dining out) – I could save quite a bit of cash for things we really enjoyed.

If I just lived on a budget and was willing to cook from scratch or make things that are far from my favorites. Fortunately, the two examples above are some of my son’s favorite foods – my daughter’s … not so much. So it took a lot of creativity, and a lot of compromising, but we did it. And it paid off too.

[bctt tweet=”The budget is not just a collection of numbers, but an expression of our values and aspirations. ~Jacob Lew~”]

The above quote expresses my opinion of a budget perfectly in that it’s totally worth it to cut back in some areas in order to have more for others.

Instead of the immediate gratification of a thick, juicy, char-broiled steak (swoon!), forcing myself to eat tuna and noodles, saving that ten or twenty bucks, added it to whatever I saved by having hot dogs in the same week – along with spaghetti or goulash another night – amounts to some significant savings over several weeks time.

And it could mean the difference between being stuck at home for yet another weekend – or taking off for a couple of nights on a mini-vacation.

What do my kids remember most? The fact that we had fewer ‘fancy’ meals – or the flying weekend trip to Mackinaw City, Whitefish Point, and Sault Saint Marie?

I’m banking on the trip. Why? Because they knew, same as me, that we sacrificed here and there to make it happen. We willingly chose to stop spending money on things we didn’t really miss in order to do something out of the ordinary. Something exciting and loads of fun. And living within a budget made it happen.

I read once that even though a year feels like forever when you’re a kid, those same three-hundred and sixty-five days fly by when you’re an adult.

Why? Because when we’re kids, we’re always looking forward to something. Let me say that again…

[bctt tweet=”Kids are always looking forward to something – all year long!”]

Santa, the Easter Bunny, Christmas vacation, summer vacation, the vacation at the lake, the reunion, what we’ll dress up like for Halloween… The list is endless.

What do we look forward to as an adult? Our jobs. Cleaning the house, doing the laundry, finding a parking spot that’s not two miles from the store entrance – and then doing it all again next week, and the week after that, and the week after that.

The solution for time flying, the writer of the article claimed, is to start planning things that get us excited again. Not necessarily a long vacation or an expensive concert, but something that excites us. Something that makes us want to start crossing days off the calendar.

And you know what? I agree!

Photo Credit: Morguefile.com

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2 Responses to Budget Busting

  1. Kristy K. James says:

    LOL. My mind is almost always on writing (or editing, plotting, outlining, or character profiles), but somehow, I need to figure out how to make time slow down. October is HALF OVER! Only 2 1/2 months until 2016. How can that be? Where did 2015 go? 😀

    You are right in that kids have little control over what they look forward to, but they seem to enjoy it even more because of it. For me, holidays are a lot of work and stressing over the budget when lots of gifts are involved (and because I hate shopping, lol).

    It’s terrible, but the thing I most look forward to every day is just feeling rested enough to write. When I don’t, it’s very hard to concentrate. Have I mentioned that I hate wonky thyroid glands? 😀 😀 😀 But yes, writing is one of the things I love the most – after the people in my life.

    Sorry about your headache. I’ve been dealing with those the past couple of days – because I had half a cup of ice cream two days in a row. My brain appears to prefer frozen yogurt. 😀

  2. Honestly, I thought you were going to take this in the direction of, “Delay instant gratification of sales in return for longterm pay off.” LOL I think my mind is constantly on writing.

    One difference I’ve noticed between kids looking forward to something and adults looking forward to something is that with kids, the things they are looking for are things out of their control. With us, we get to control what our big events are. To me, that’s exciting. I look forward to writing every day when I get up, and the day actually drags if it turns out to be the kind of day where I can’t write (thanks to external forces). Like today. I’m stuck doing everything else. *sighs* All I want to do is play (write), but I have to make dinner. And thanks to a headache and a lot of distractions all day, it’s not bound to get any better. Waiting for tomorrow is taking forever. LOL

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