I am inching closer and closer to buying a new car, and I’ve arrived at the point one inevitably arrives at when buying a new car, and that is The Budget Shifts . . . now.
As my sister cannot stand it when I say “I can’t afford” something when I have the money but just choose to spend it elsewhere, I’ll frame this by saying my budget allocations are becoming much less flexible.
I was very good with my budget in France (except for the train tickets), and that was because I wrote everything down. It helped me remember as I made purchases that I had a finite amount to live on. I’ve been blessed to be living within a general sense of budget that evened out month to month, but I need to stay on top of things.
I’ve also been reading The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, and there is much discussion about the rationing system in England during and post-WWII. Many of the memorable wry comments were reactions to the statements of politicians about how housewives were now forced to present healthy, balanced meals to their families!
But it gave me an idea . . .
I made myself ration booklets!
My most “flexible” money movements are around food, and this way I can a) ensure I don’t eat out/be more thoughtful about meals, b) make shopping SO MUCH MORE FUN, and c) be more nutritious!
I plotted out what I normally buy each week, what kinds of foods I normally eat, and what sort of foods I probably could eat more of (gosh, it’s amazing how cheap vegetables are).
And don’t worry, I’ve included special-occasion foods too, like In-N-Out and the occassional visit to See’s and European butter for croissants and a six-dollar slush fund for “fancy baking” ingredients. But I’m already thinking of different menu ideas for the staple ingredients, and I think I’ve given myself enough flexibility (my one $3 “dry good” per week can be lentils, pasta, crackers, etc.) to make this interesting and fun.
Each booklet cover will be my accounting area for my vastly-shrunk “buffer monies” for the all-consuming “Misc.”
Of course, who knows if a) this will work or b) I will stick with it long enough to see if it will work.
I’ll be sure to update you all in June.