Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Can I get an extra couple bucks for taking out the garbage?

Like the majority of the middle class, we’re completely broke. It really helps me sleep soundly at night knowing that if one of us were to get laid off or somehow become unable to work that we would almost instantaneously plummet into bankruptcy and foreclosure, doomed to move in with my mother and wallow in a deep, deep ocean of despair.

We’re slowly clawing our way to a more stable financial status, mostly due to my husband. You see when we met, I was the gal who always balanced her checkbook every month and he was the guy 3 months behind on his student loan payments. So it made sense at that time for me to take charge of the finances and things were going peachy keen until the inevitable – marriage, house, minivan and first child and then well there wasn’t as much petty cash left over at month end for the frivolities that we were used to enjoying; mountains of chocolate covered cherries and ringside seats at midget mud wrestling competitions.

Turns out that my theory of "ignorance is bliss" wasn’t so helpful either. So I handed the financial reins over to my, now fiscally responsible husband, who is mercilessly transforming our debt from a raging, rabid tiger to a cute little calendar-worthy kitten. Part of his budget plan is to supply me with a weekly cash allowance. This allows me the luxury of going out for lunch or purchasing my much needed frivolous items like chocolate and scrapbooking supplies, without disrupting the delicate balance of his budget.

It was actually my idea for the cash allowance because I was getting tired of the daily interrogation. "What’s that you’re chewing? Is that gum? Did you buy that gum? How much was it because I didn’t have that factored in to our budget this week? Spit it out, spit it out right now!!" Alright, that might be a slight exaggeration but you get my point.

I find that I’m much more choosey with my purchases now that I have a limited supply of cash. For example, this afternoon I ran to the drug store downtown with the intentions of purchasing some floss to help me dislodge a piece of apple stuck in my teeth. However, when I found that the cheapest generic floss was still a whopping 2 bucks, I determined that I could probably loosen that apple with my tongue and/or a paper clip over the course of a couple hours rather than frivolously waste 2 bucks that could buy me something else. And while there are somedays when I miss the frivolous spending, I think on the whole, this allowance thing has made me the tight wad that I should have been for years and years.

I did buy $2 worth of chocolate though because, well these PMS hormones aren’t going to quell themselves.


baseballmom said...

Um, yeah...we're broke too, and it's taught me to be seriously frugal. Even now, when we're becoming more stable, I am still careful, and it really does feel pretty good!

Becky said...

That's a really good plan, but like you, I often miss being frivolous. And hey, chocolate is like medicine, right?

Heather said...

Sounds like us, only E is the one with the allowance and the nightly interrogations, "hey! Did you *really* need to by that pack of bandaids?! A little blood won't hurt you!"