Thinking about money can drive me nuts. Actually, it’s thinking about spending money that handicaps me.
Not too long ago my wife was unemployed for over a year. With her unemployment check and my job we were able to keep our heads above water most months. There were times we dipped into savings and were very thankful we had planned ahead and had enough there for a cushion. Because we were in that situation my wife got involved, which got me involved :), with Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace program. We began to learn more about money – how it works and how we can either be a slave to or master over our finances. All of that “training” has put us in a rather simple mode of contemplating every purchase we make – big or small. That’s what cultivates my conflict.
The other day I ended up replacing my work shoes which were three years old and falling apart. Then I took the dog to vet for some annual check-ups and blood work. Then I put gas in the truck. It was a “nice” three hundred-dollar plus day! I was really feeling bummed about it. Then, because I’m reading through Genesis again, I had been looking at commentaries and struggling with whether or not to buy one on Genesis. Would I read it all? Is it worth the money to have another book? Heck, I have books stacked up in the dining room that I haven’t completed. Would I wane after a week or two then lament making the purchase and put that book in the stack with the others? I was beginning to feel like an old Batman movie – “Pow!” “Zam!” “Zonk!” I was reeling from the blows of indecision.
But wait, indecision is a good thing. It helps me think through my purchases. Something rather transforming when I consider my past behavior toward money – we have it so lets spend it!
Adding to my “conflict” is that nasty little thing called a budget. We have one!! We not only have one, my wife works diligently at maintaining and monitoring it. We have “regular” budget meetings. Fortunately, my only responsibility at those meetings is to make a change to something – anything – in the budget. I usually opt for moving some of my shooting funds to another category that may need an extra boost that month. Yet — and this is a big yet – I feel pretty comfortable with having a budget. Although we may not be as thorough as some with every dollar having a name. We do know where all our dollars go in month. I keep receipts and turn them in like a good little boy. We have envelopes with funds for certain activities – eating out, groceries, gas, etc. When it’s appropriate, we pay cash which, I might note, is most times. I have a “blow money” allotment that is mine to do with as I please. I can spend it all in a week or save it up to have more cash for those little things I might “need.” It’s all rather refreshing and yes, sometimes crazy.
It’s unlikely my conflict with money will ever be totally resolved and that’s okay. I’d rather have conflict in the midst of organization than conflict in the midst of chaos!