Thursday, January 22, 2009

Paint By Numbers

As it nears the end of the month, my husband and I tend to look over the monthly budget and see how we're staking up. So far, we're under in 3 out of our main 4 categories. Under by enough that it looks like it will balance the one category we've gone way over in; Pets. As you may remember, one of our goals for this year is to stay under budget in all categories. It seems like it would be easy to do, but it always eludes us.

My husband likened this to painting by numbers last night, which I thought was a good analogy. We can see what colors (money) we have to work with, and where we want them to go (amount budgeted per category), but when we start painting we can't seem to stay within the lines.

Neither of us is sure why. It seems like something just always comes up that we're not expecting.

This month, for instance, we got one of our dogs neutered. We knew this expense was coming up but we weren't quite sure when we'd be able to do it. There was some extra room this month so we decided it was time and we bit the bullet. Of course, this put is over our monthly budgeted pet amount. (Although, I am happy to report, we cut the cost in half by checking with more than one vet for pricing.)

We were throwing some ideas around to fix this issue in the future, like coming up with a list of long-term expenses we know will be coming up and starting to work those into our budget. Christmas would be one such expense. I'm just curious what other people do for these things. Anyone out there have any ideas?



I know people that set aside money year round for Christmas, vacations or just emergencies like pet surgeries. Another suggestion is that many stores such as best buy and others offer 0% financing so you can pay it off over time instead of all at once. Same thing if you get a 0% interest on a credit card for a certain amount of time. Obviously there is a self-control issue there, but why not build credit and possibly reward points for something else or even cash back.


because the point we are trying to achieve is 100% debt free, God doesnt want us in debt, even if it is 0% apr.

We have an emergency account, but we dont really, or havent, classes these "last minute" purchases as an emergency. Its not an emergency to get a dog neutered.

I am thinking we will start trying to budget X amount of dollars to better account for these expenses.


You know your budget more than anyone reading this and know what is in your best interest, but I don't consider it debt nor financially irresponsible if someone takes advantage of paying over time without any accrued interest and possibly earning incentives by using a different payment method.

And like I said, there is a self-control issue. Obviously if someone has existing debt they may not want to do this or if they will buy to much.

I know someone will say any form of owing money is debt and we should be debt free. That is fine if they take that position, but I think if they take that position then I would expect them not to partake in a home loan, car loan or school loan.


@ Craig:

God doesnt want you to sin, so I expect you not to sin.

Just because there are expectations, doesnt mean they are always followed.

Likewise, it is very often that we learn what God expects, a little late. At that point in time we have to play catch up, in this case, it would be to refrain from incurring any new debt, and pay off what debt you have.

That is the step we are at.

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