Monday, March 12, 2012

Money Monday!

Tony and I could be Mr. and Mrs. Goody Goody.  We are, and have always been, rule followers.   I'm the bigger offender.  Tony laughs at me because I ask permission to do things that I know are allowed.  (Like make retuns with the tags still on and receipt in hand 2 days after purchase.  I'm always afraid I'm going to hurt their feelings.)

But, when it comes to money and budgetting, we break three major rules.

Rule 1- Don't use credit cards.  Don't have credit cards.
We use credit cards, almost exclusively.  Why?
1.  We pay them off in full, and we can stick to our budget.
2.  Getting cash in Panama is a bit of a nightmare.  Setting up a bank account can take weeks to accomplish, and then we have to pay for wire transfers.  Also, we can only transfer so much money before more tax implications hit.  Using an ATM card would carry a 3% transaction fee each time, and it would require multiple trips to get the cash we needed for a week.  (Panama maybe a "developing" country, but the cost of living is very American!)
3.  The credit card reward programs are amazing these days.  And since we don't go over budget, and don't pay interest on the balances, we make money from using credit cards.

Rule 2- Have a "blow money" amount in your budget.
This one is Tony's nemesis.  According to Dave Ramsey, "Your blow money is a small account for a little bit of letting off steam."  Aren't there better option for blowing off steam then spending money?  Do people not blow enough money as it is?  Starbucks, desserts, gum, little purchases here and there.  I'm confident that my grocery budget takes plenty of "blow money" hits.  Do you have a dining-out budget?  That's money "blown," too.  Until we can create a budget where only needs are ever purchased (not a want to be found in any category), we won't have a "blow money" amount.  And on a similar point, just because we have money allotted doesn't mean we spend it all.  Once Tony sliced all the categories by 10% because he felt like we were spending money just because it existed in the budgets.  Money in your budget isn't going to expire.  You don't have to spend it all.

Rule 3- Set Aside a Portion of Income to Give Away.
Surprised?  This is one rule we tried for years.  Beside the tithe, we would set aside an allotment to give as we became aware of needs.  It has always been a huge failure for us.  Just a few months ago, we figured out why:  We need to be prepared and willing to give it all away.  Not just the amount we figured would work for that month's budget.  If God calls us to give, the answer must be "yes"- not "let me check the budget and get back to You."  Some months we give very little beside tithe.  Other months, I'm not certain where the money is going to come from, but it has always worked out.  God wouldn't call us to give, and then leave us high and dry. 


So, what about you?  Are you a money rule follower?  Or have you found breaking rules to be better for you? 

3 comments:

The Debt Free Fashionista said...

We have "blow money." It works for us. That is the money we use if one of us wants to go out to lunch with a friend or purchase something for a hobby. Things of that nature. How do you budget those types of things in? Do you have a seperate category for "fun stuff?" We don't. And for eat outs, we only take it out of the budget if Tim and I are together or as a family. If it's one of us individually, we have to use our "blow money." (I hate that phrase, by the way. LOL)

panaMOM said...

We do have a dining/entertainment budget. Any food that we eat out comes out of that catagory (together or seperate). That would also include trip to the beach, bowling, funsy type things. We have budgets for the kids' clothes (because otherwise we would go broke!!) and school needs. And a small ($15) budget for adult needs that is usually not spent.

If it works for you, more power to you! I definitely think everyone should go with the strategy that keeps him/her on track!

(And I agree that phrase is the worst! I googled it earlier, and I was a nervous wreck to see what came up!)

lizbeth321 said...

We don't have the international issues that y'all have to deal with and we still use credit cards (and probably always will). We pay it off each month and make fabulous reward money! We tend to use our reward money to get restaurant gift cards (which means you have to use it to eat out) and have a date night rather than a specific date night budget. Although we have used our rewards as actual cash to pay a bill before!

Finding a system and budget that glorifies God and works for you is the key. Being flexible and obedient when God improves your budget is essential! ;-)