Fiscal Responsibility in the New Year

2008 may go down in history as the year the Harris' experienced financial ruin. Why? Job loss? Nope.  Disability? Uh-uh. Terminal illness? Not even close. No, the reason one can smell impending disaster on the air is that Blair and I have decided that come January 1st, 2008...(drum roll and deep breath) Dena will be in charge of family finances.

As close friends know, I pretty much use my fingers to add up anything totalling over twelve. So why put me in charge? A couple of reasons. One, we're trying to get get a grip on our finances. Back when I was single and broke, I knew the cost of everything. I could tell you to the penny how much milk, gas, and celery cost. I knew where to find the cheapest gas in town. But nowadays, while we certainly don't go wild by any means with our spending, we just don't pay much attention to what we buy (and by we I mean, of course, me). I have no idea what our water or electric bill runs. And, although I'm kind of embarrassed to admit it, I often don't know how much gas or milk is because, well, I just buy it and don't think about it. So it's time to take a leap back to reality.

The other reason is that when I'm in charge of the money, I tend to be tighter than Blair with spending. Sounds not true, but it is. I'm a cheapskate at heart. We have some big goals for the New Year, including building and furnishing a cabin and it's going to take some careful money watching to make that happen.  Plus, we now have fish to care for... <grin>

Blair and I have spent several icky evenings mapping out a monthly and yearly budget. Actually, the evenings weren't that bad. They were even kind of fun. My dread of sitting down to do it was much worse than the actual event.

We've decided to try tracking our receipts. Which means you-know-who gets the joy of entering receipts into the computer a couple of times a week. I've already warned Blair that he better have plenty of chocolate in the house on those nights to offset my bad temper which is sure to follow. (I love to type words, loath keying in numbers).

And here's the fun part. We're starting a money envelope for entertainment and eating out. I can't prove it to you, but I suspect a large portion of our income goes toward my mochas at Starbucks. So we're setting aside a certain amount of cash each month. Once the envelope is empty, no more lunches, mochas, or Chinese food for dinner until next month.

I also get to be in charge of family requests for borrowing money and I am already practicing my best "Thor, God of Thunder" voice to say, "NO! And now I shall smite you for even making the request."

It's not all bad...