Every January 1st, I madly pledge allegiance to an overly lengthy and overly zealous list of New Year’s Resolutions.
This Year’s Top 3 Rezzies:
1) Letting Go of Something/Growing Something. (Besides my plant children.) I wrote down one thing I wanted release in 2016 and burned it in our lovely fireplace. (I scribbled this detestable word on a the back of a check belonging to a crummy bank that I would also like to “release” this year.) Then I wrote down an aspiration I wanted to cultivate in 2017 and buried it in a plant. I chose our Hearty Hydrangea, Harold. Side note: I could have “released” about 10,000 things, but I made myself choose ONE. Streamline 2017!
2) Master the “splits” (this has been a top New Year’s Resolution since I was eleven years old.) THIS IS GONNA BE THE YEAR, GUYS!
3) To finally implement a real-deal-adult-get-your-life-together-right-this-instant-BUDGET. i.e.: actually put money into the budget to purchase a useful online app that tracks every single little penny spent so even a seemingly tall weeny-teeny coconut milk latté from Starbucks doesn’t go unnoticed…a lotta my bucks go to the ‘bucks. Sigh.
I mean…guys…it’s TIME. My husband and I are (somewhere) in our 30s. It’s time for the real-deal-adult-get-your-life-together-right-this-instant-Budget. And there’s no time like the present. And New Years day to kick you in the tush.
The problems I’ve encountered attempting a so-called Budget in the past have been abundant. Examining your funds (or lack there of) forces you to confront life choices and past purchases you absolutely do not want to confront or remember. It’s pretty darn easy to eek by paycheck to paycheck, (or to not eek by but convince yourself you’re eeking by and believe it because it sure is easier than actually confronting the issue). And, guys! You can always leave it up to “next month” when you’ll have money again, right? (At least that’s what the money gods told me.) But when next month rolls around, that panicked feeling begins to creep up your spine, and once again, you scramble, scramble, scramble. And feel terrible that you didn’t really do any actual budgeting.
Budget ignorance is indeed budget bliss.
I’ve tried it all. There was MINT (which admittedly I only used once after finding it made me look a bit too closely into the money mirror, and, upon reflection, turned and ran away in horror.) And to top it off, the app provided no solution for fixing my issues, it just showed me what I did wrong. I’ve tried diligently writing everything I spent down (and then promptly lost the notebook). I’ve tried a good ol’ fashioned checkbook approach (but somehow the numbers always come out slightly…ok wayyyyy off). Each attempt to begin a budget at the beginning of a new year begins with such promise, diligence, and grit…and, like good ol’ buttoned up Frosty, has always melted into a puddle of muddy waters by Spring.
My husband and I sat down to dig into our Budget (he calls it invigorating; I call it tedious.) Because of the tedious budget, I deemed it be implemented over a Bottle of Something Absolutely Fabulous (the mere sight of numbers make me want to hide under a blanket as if I were watching The Shining.)
We chose a bottle of 2006 Launois Père & Fils Brut Blanc de Blancs “Spécial Club” Champagne. I was wary since we’ve tried some non-vintage bubbly from this producer that weren’t to my taste. But this vintage bottle was delicate, elegant, dry, light, playful on the tongue, not too citrus-y, crisp, complete with a touch of yeasty-ness without becoming a full yeast bomb. 11 fabulous years old, lithe, and in great balance (unlike myself at 11).
And an instantaneous reminder that drinking something so lovely needs to be a part of our ever so imminent budget.
We found a site called YOU NEED A BUDGET. (In fact, we really did.) The site has entertaining comics, videos, and a podcast, so I was sold immediately. Instead of admonishing you for your lack of funds, you start to look at what’s important in your future, and backtrack from there. Say we want to make sure we can afford a new couch in the next year…(ours propels us so far forward we end up sitting on the floor by the end of movie night). So we’ll allot small amounts each month to save for that. Then say we get hit by a large medical bill. That would take precedence, and we would move funds around to allot for THAT. It’s a constantly moving target.
Budgets can bring up a treasure trove of emotions and tough conversations. The past rears it’s ugly head in debts small and large (that stupid pair of way too pricey and uncomfortable shoes you bought, or taking out money to start a business). When you can implement a way to fight past debt in a meticulous manner, the present becomes so much brighter. For the near future, a honeymoon trip to Champagne (hopefully before our 1st anniversary) would be a great goal. And for the more distant future, an aim would be a home of our own one day (complete with a wine cellar of course!) to store our fabulous Sparkling Wines!
Approach that dreaded budget with a calm mind, a willingness to look deep into your habits, and a large glass of indulgent Bubbly. And here’s to glorious success in all your Rezzies this year! I’m off to practice my splits.
Photo by Rebecca Call. Transcendence Theatre Company, 2015.