I admit it. I’ve become a Dave Ramsey freak.
I was talking to a friend after church on Sunday, and she said she thought she and her husband were going to go out to lunch with another couple, and she invited me along.
“Nah,” I replied. “It’s not in the budget.”
My parents came to visit us over Thanksgiving. We have over-the-air television (no cable or satellite) and it often doesn’t come in very well. We have to do these crazy dances to adjust the rabbit ears in order to get something watchable. We had a roof antenna a few years ago, but storms blew it apart and it’s not even hooked up to the TV anymore. Dad was a little frustrated, I think, that I wasn’t able to get anything besides Deal or No Deal.
“Well,” I told him, “We’re saving for a roof antenna. We just haven’t got all the money for it yet. But we’re budgeting for it!”
It’s the beginning of December, and we haven’t turned our heat on yet. We have a wood stove that heats the house pretty well, but it’s no tropical paradise. And snow is in the forecast for this week. I mentioned to Chef yesterday, “It might be time to turn the heat on.”
“Really?” he said. “You think so?”
I started thinking about the cost of the gas bill when we turn the heat on, and how we got all our firewood for free. “Well… maybe not yet,” I answered.
After all, that’s what sweaters and blankets and thermal socks are for, right?
I can’t remember the last time we went out on a date, aside from little trips to fast food restaurants where we use our mad money — mad money that we have carefully placed in the budget. It’s amazing how big a treat a Big Mac is when you haven’t had one in months. But now we’ve added “Date Night” to our budgeting, and we assign $10 per paycheck to our date. That means we’re going to have to keep putting money into the Date envelope and not take any out for a long time if we want to go on any fancy dates.
But we don’t need fancy dates. A movie from the library or a game of Scrabble or a walk among the Christmas lights all make pretty fine dates.
But I do miss margaritas.
Margaritas aren’t in the budget.
This year, there was one big gift I knew I wanted to get Chef for Christmas, and we budgeted for it, but that didn’t leave a lot of room for other things. So the other gifts I got for him are cheaper (hooray for the Dollar General!) and the gifts I’m giving others are a homemade craft. I spent less than $7 for gifts that I made for six people (and I kept a few for myself as well.)
After Christmas, I’ll show you what I made.
But I love that I spent $7 and less than two hours on these gifts. Now that fits in the budget.
Dave always says (don’t you love how I’m on a first-name basis with a man I’ve never met?) — “Live like no one else so that someday you can live like no one else.” Well, I don’t think I know anyone else who wears a hat and scarf in her own house to avoid turning on the furnace, or who stands in a particular place in the living room for fifteen minutes so that she and her husband can help conduct the television signal long enough to finish the episode they’re watching, or who scours the Dollar General looking for deals on Christmas gifts that she will wrap in newspaper because she won’t spend money on wrapping paper.
Because someday, Chef and I are going to be out of debt.
And we’re going to have savings and investments and we’re going to give lots away.
And we’re going to buy a houseboat that we can live on all summer.
And I, for one, am going to drink margaritas.