Friday, March 6, 2009

It appears my bottom line may be a great deal higher than other people's bottom lines

As I sit down to pay the monthly bills, organize our files and accounting information, I glance at the dusty budget book shoved behind the seldom used fax machine.
I used to be so good at that.

When we lived in NH, where most everything was cheap-- probably their way to entice people to move there-- I was on a budget/money clinging kick. I kept track of every penny that came in and went out. I had a household budget book with designated categories of expense from frivolous entertainment to fuel. I kept every receipt and was able to submit my husband's travel expenses within hours of him deboarding a plane.
It was early in the marriage, and we had agreed that each of us would do the things for the family that we were good at. For me, it was being the Mom. It was organization, decorating, shopping, and planning- from meals to trips to birthday parties. I'm like a mini-Martha who doesn't cook as much.
For my husband, it was earning the paycheck, dealing with corporate assholes and generally anything that had to do with large machinery.

Since NH, and CA, and CA and PA... we have had our share of financial ups and downs, and even when it it took every bit of our savings to move to GA, we still never worried. We never went hungry and we never thought we wouldn't or couldn't succeed. We may have had a few battles about what was budgetarily important, but in the end, we never stressed about something as stupid as money.
After all, it's the world's most renewable resource. You can just make more. (says the woman who has not held a "real" job since 1993, worked 3 jobs so she could take 2 months off and backpack through Europe, filed bankruptcy after an ex- beau ripped her off and left her with a house and a dog and 2 Iguanas, and has been through 2- count 'em 2- tax audits)
Yeah, what the hell do I know?

Recently, it came to my attention, that our lack of stress and lack of concern about money means we have more of it. God is mysterious like that.
Not balancing the checkbook, not cutting coupons, not being the guy in the grocery store with the calculator figuring out the best value per ounce... NOT doing those things allowed the positive energy of wealth to flow our way ( f you want to go all new- agey on me). Whatever the case. I am free from the money worry. Either it's there or it isn't.
We pay off any credit cards monthly, have one car loan and are paying down the house. We put money aside for kids and school and odd bills. We don't think about retirement funds or shitty stocks.
We are hopeful for a future chunk of change that will foot future bills and buy us into a better area, but we aren't sitting around thinking it will come from a lottery ticket or a casino trip... or from some tax change/government help.

Know this. You can't buy love or happiness or health. You can buy the way TO them, you can even buy "band-aids" that look and for a short while might seem to be the same thing. But at night, alone in your bed when you take that minute to rewind your day... it isn't hard cold cash you'll remember.

I know people who are so focused on their money that it constantly eludes them. People borrow and don't repay, people steal and people owe. The money is scared to go back. All that negative energy... that kind of person will always struggle, and probably not just in their finances. Some people are so conscious of their bottom line, of their gross and expenditures, that it cramps them. They are like the woman who waits so long to wear the fancy dress, that it no longer fits her. Me, I'd mow my lawn in it.

Sure, there are real money issues, and we have some concerns with Obama in office. Seems like we may be penalized for our 'free' money values, for my husband's hard work in a growing and quite lucrative field. For our restraint in incurring senseless debt.
In these belt-cinching times, our pants are hanging loose, but that doesn't mean we're bending over and asking for it.
I just know that when I pulled out that dusty budget book and read the entertainment column, I wasn't ready to give up my $19 Blockbuster membership or the $26 gym, but in May, after my year is up? I may feel okay about dropping the $39/month massage.
Because it will be sandal season, and girl? Everyone knows shoe shopping cures all money woes. Especially when there's a two for $39 sale.

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