Saturday, February 19, 2011

Budgeting is for the birds

The Hubs and I decided to make a budget for the first time in our four-year marriage in order to pay off our horrendous student loans. Two weeks ago, I was gung-ho about cutting back. I mean really cutting back. Like spending money only on complete necessities. We're talking Suze Orman type stuff, like beans and rice for dinner until we're paid off. This means my clothing allotment was taken down to zero. But two weeks ago, I was ready. Two days ago... not so much. I am weak. WEAK! At my first temptation, I failed. And it went something like this....

Thursday, Boo and I tagged along with The Hubs to Provo while he spoke with BYU students for work. My plan was to kill a few hours window shopping with Boo during The Hubs' meeting and meet for dinner with McKensie, The Hubs' sister.

First we went to a Carl Bloch art exhibit at BYU. It was beautiful. Breathtaking, really. Boo, only tried to touch one or two of the 100-year-old, original paintings worth millions of dollars, and asked only once if he could take the life-sized portrait of Jesus home with him for his room. I was impressed. He actually asked some pretty good questions about the paintings. The majority of the time, however, he spent telling me this was taking too long and was boring and he just wanted to go see the toys at the "book place." I am a huge advocate of bribing children for good behavior. Sue me. I told him if he was good, we could go to the BYU bookstore and play with ALL their toys. I wasn't even sure if they had toys at that point, but luckily they did. And it worked. I was able to finish the exhibit with no significant melt-downs. And off to the toys we went.

Much to Boo's excitement there was much toy goodness with which to be played. And we played, and played and played. Until I was the one complaining that this was boring and taking too long and he was telling me, "two more minutes Mom," handing me more toys to play with to keep my attention.

Finally I talked him into going to look at the clothing section of the store. I knew this was dangerous, but we still had an hour to spare. What is a girl to do? Surprisingly, they have pretty cute clothes occasionally. I know what you're thinking. A bookstore? But it's true and I had to look. Much to my pleasure I saw nothing that caught my fancy. Nothing popped out at me, dangling it's cuteness, forcing me to buy it. I did like one sweater that was 50 percent off. I tried it on, liked it, but practiced some new-found self discipline and calmly hung it back up. I felt good about myself. The sweater was cute, looked good on me and was only $12, but I resisted. The Hubs would be so proud, I thought.

I took Boo's hand and began to walk away, feeling triumphant. Wait, something caught my eye. A little black dress? Oh, no. I must look. My size? Yes. Dang it! I'll just try it on for fun. We have a little more time to kill, what else are we going to do? I dragged Boo into the dressing room with me. As I looked at my little-black-dress-clad self in the mirror, I thought crap! I look awesome. And then, as my self-discipline was beginning to crumble, Boo said, "Spin for me, Mommy. That is a spinning dress!" And that was it. The dress was basically hanging in my closet.

Defeated by a dress, I guiltily walked out of the dressing room, laid it on the cashier's table, gave her my money which was supposed to pay for our ration of rice and beans that month, took the bag and left the store with my head held low. The Hubs was right. It can't be done. I can't stick to a budget. And then a thought: I'll hide the bag. I paid cash. Beautiful, unaccounted for cash! He won't even know!
I lifted my chin, smiled at Boo and realized we had killed just enough time.

We picked up The Hubs and sure enough, the first thing he said as he situated himself in his seat, "So what did you buy at the bookstore?" He sucks. How does he know me THAT well?
Before I could catch my bearings, Boo piped in from the peanut gallery in the back, "A dress," he said so nonchalantly as if he had every intention of ratting me out the whole time.

I looked back with wide, betrayed eyes. "My own son," I thought. "I underestimated you."

Sure enough, the look of pure, "I told you so," satisfaction lit up The Hubs' face.

It can't be done.


Candy said...

hahaha! I love this! I want to see that black spinny dress! And wish I had one of my own!
I'm sure you didn't break the bank buying that dress, don't feel bad! Maybe you'll just have to half your ration of rice and beans for a while huh? :)

Alicia said...

That was SO cleverly written. YOU MUST send this in to a magazine. You have to. It is so well written. Send it to Good House Keeping, Sunset, Victoria, etc. Seriously.

Aside from loving this post, I just gotta tell you (coming from a similar student loan situation), you CAN budget, but you can't budget when you only say rice and beans and nada else. Don't be that strict and it will work better. Budget in a small about of gift/indulgence money each week. Even if you can only do $30 per week to spend on random purchases, it's better than saying you can't buy anything and then feeling guilty because you can't stick to that---because no one I know can! :-)

Anyway, good luck on your budget endeavors, we are in the same boat!

B-Blogit said...

Budget is a four letter word but it is essential just like diet :(

GeNee said...

I hate to budget. i always think if I die tomorrow I will be glad I had fun shopping today. But I can usually be satisfied with stationary.

Shelese said...

Ha!! I have tears I'm laughing so much! Loved this post!

Jamie said...

Kelli, will you please write a book? I am totally serious! I love your writing, love love love it! I really think you should consider it, at least for my sake. Loved the story, so well written I felt like I was there wearing the fabulous little black dress.

cindy said...

you are hilarious i'm still laughing. i can picture every second of this. you really painted a picture.

HappyHodges said...

Oh I am cracking up! Thank goodness you and I dont have to budget together because we would both sink in a ship of well fashioned clothes lol!

Cassandra Potter Kemp said...

One of my favorite posts ever, your writing style always delights me! I hear you sista, I can't do a budget either.. I always end up begging for more or saying take it out of me next month's budget.. Shopping rehab is a must for people like us.. :)

Heidi said...

Fantastic Blog.
I am now following you! I can not wait to read more.

Please follow back at

Centsational Saver said...

New follower here. I love your writing style and enjoyed reading your blog tonight. You should look into Dave Ramsey's financial peace. We just did our budget and it's not SO bad. Of course putting yourself in the middle of temptation will make it more difficult ;)

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