Refusing to Budget

Refusing to Budget

When we first got married, my wife toyed with the idea of having a budget, but when she realized that saving money required not spending as much, the idea lost a bit of its glow. Mary Ellen has an MBA, which has given her a new appreciation for some of the nuances of fiscal planning. She'll be very meticulous about this. She'll want receipts; she'll question each expense; everything will be scrutinized.

I'd leave home, but I just know there will be no moving expenses in this budget.

"I'm dreading this Mary Ellen, but let's get started."

"Okay, Dick. Let's begin by each of us naming expenses that we have every month and that we can't change. Then we'll know what our basic, fixed expenses are."

"Okay, Mary Ellen, I'll say the mortgage."


"The car payment."


"Gas and electricity."


"You know, Mary Ellen, I don't think you're really into the spirit of this. The car payment is a very different category than makeup and pantyhose."

"Would you want to sit next to me in the car with bad hair and no makeup?"

"Point well taken. Let's go on."

"Okay, Dick. Now we'll each name something that we think the other person could save on. For example, I think you should give up that cup of coffee and low-fat muffin you've eaten every day on the way to work for 20 years."

"Why would I do that?"

"According to an article I read in Money magazine, if we had saved that four dollars a day for two decades, invested it in IBM, Intel,, and Yahoo, then sold all that stock before October of 2000, we'd be twelve million dollars richer. I bet that puts a little crimp in your caffeine addiction."

"I feel so selfish. Just think, if I had not gone to Starbucks instead of not going to Village Pantry, we'd be billionaires."

"Here's another way we can save, Dick. Beginning today, we're going to start making sacrifices. We'll save by changing the oil in the car ourselves, doing the lawn work ourselves, cleaning out the gutters ourselves, and washing the car ourselves. I certainly hope you know the meaning of the word save."

"Mary Ellen, I certainly hope you know the meaning of the word we."

"Now we need to find a way to cut down on your office expenses."

"This is going to drive me to drink, Mary Ellen."

"Not a problem. Just be sure to turn in your mileage."