What I Learned About Life When My Husband Got Fired!
From Chapter 5: Open Your Eyes Before Your Wallet
Red finally summoned up the courage to start looking at their financial situation and slowly starts working her way through a six step "Where Is Your Money Going" checklist. As she prepares to tackle Step 4: Develop A Realistic Budget, Red gets to break some surprising news to Black about a fond childhood memory.
|OK. I'm ready to tackle Step 4. Is this something we can do via e-mail or do I need to come over and see how you do your budget?|
|Here is where I have to say, "Do as I say, not as I do," because I have not done a personal budget in years. But I can remember my first one.|
|You remember your first budget? You have a strange collection of fond memories!|
|It was when Mom put me on a clothing budget. She gave me an amount I could spend every year and wrote it on a big manila envelope. Every time I bought something, I would deduct that amount from the total and put the receipt in the envelope. I always knew how much was left in my budget, so I never had to ask if I could buy something. Mom was brilliant!|
|[Silence for 5 seconds, followed by a burst of laughter.] You're kidding, right?|
|No, it was brillant.|
|No, it was a punishment! It wasn't Mommy's way of teaching you about money; it was her way of controlling you. She was tired of you constantly wanting to buy clothing, and so she did it to shut you up.|
|Are you sure?|
|Very. Mommy told me the story many times. You loved expensive clothing, so she came up with a number that was less than she was willing to spend and told you that was your "budget." I only liked cheap stuff, so she never gave me a budget.|
|Then she did you a huge disservice, because whatever the ulterior motive, it was brilliant. Besides teaching me how to budget, it taught me to save for future purchases and motivated me to get part-time jobs in high school so I would have more money. Which all probably contributed towards making me feel comfortable with finances. I ended up being one of the few women in graduate school majoring in finance and spent the first half of my corporate career in financial planning and budgets.|
|Fine. You live a charmed life! You're the only person I know who could turn a punishment into a career.|
|But remember, I had no idea it was a punishment. Until today.|
|Which I find hilarious. Especially since everything is usually so damn obvious to you.|