Thursday, February 12, 2009

Back to money matters: Household Budget lessons

Inspired in part by J. Money at the highly readable Budgets Are Sexy blog, and in part by the gajillions of dollars we've seemingly spent in the past five weeks of house buying and moving, I'm going to tackle something I've never detailed on the blog before: the household budget.

This post went through three major revisions.

Big Ass Lesson #1: Blogger doesn't have an easy way for me to do tables. And back when I first learned HTML, tables didn't exist. Then it was coding tables by hand, which I hated. So, screw tables. No tables in this post. Gonna do it old-school and ugly. Enjoy.


Big Ass Lesson #2: Don't blog about your spouse's bathroom habits. That's the comparison my partner uses to describe her aversion to sharing the actual dollar-figure details of our cashflow. Perhaps it's in part a Very Canadian aversion to doing anything that would call attention to the fact that you're doing alright in life, in case it might make others uncomfortable. Perhaps it just gives her the heeby-jeebies. So, here's a hopefully-informative but un-embarrassing look.

Big Ass Lesson #3: Revision #2, without the numbers, was still too much exposure for my lady.

So, here's a laying-bare of the budget, naked but wearing a parka:

Cashflow in: Every payday, soon-to-be-Mrs. BigAss and I put a set amount of cash into "our" chequing account. We used to figure things out proportionally by inome, but our incomes are now close enough that it's presently unnecessary to do all that math. We had a zero-balance plan set up before the house-buy, but we bumped it up by a little more than 10% as a "make things work" number. Any more and we'd be feeling the hurt in our personal moneys. Anything left over after putting in the "chunk" is ours to do with what we please. For me, I stash a bit away in savings or the company stock program, and fritter away the rest on dumb stuff like cigarettes and cinnamon buns. And transit passes and taxi fare and flowers and such more-important things. It's not a lot, but it adds up if I'm smart (which one would hope that I am, by now).

Cashflow out: We have expenses. They are accounted for. That's all you're getting. I will say that the mortgage is the biggest piece, with savings, electricity, car lease and groceries also being major players.

Question to the audience: I'll grant that I've long had issues with boundaries on sharing my personal information, often leaning too far on the wide-open side. I'm more likely than most to tell people things about myself that others would be uncomfortable sharing. Gosh, I wonder where I learned that. Anyway, talking about money is clearly something a lot of people feel is taboo. Sure, there are plenty of blogs around where writers go into excruciating (and educational) detail about their budgets ... but to be fair, all the ones I can think of are run by unseen people under pseudonyms. Me, I'm out here as me. And as my 'manda reminds me, this is not a PF blog -- this isn't Big Ass Super Finances. It's mostly read by friends, family, acquaintances and assorted weirdos looking for dozens of varieties of "big ass".

So, what do you think? Is a "critique my budget" post only appropriate for people who don't tell you who they are, where they work, etc.? Does the fact that I'm full-out telling you who I am make it creepy and weird to explain our money strategy? Thoughts?

4 comments:

  1. I think that you are already likely on the right page by all the budgeting research that you've done, so what are you hoping to accomplish by being open for critquing, really? An "atta boy"? ;)

    Tell me something about Scientology. It's been a while.

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  2. Tend to agree with the above. Is the world a better place knowing you spend $38/month on cinnamon buns? I would think specifics on $$ & cents are more appropriate to the anonymous world, NOT tied to specific real (public) persona's. I feel uncomfortable with self promoting voyeurisms on "private" matters. Broader "concepts", sure.

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  3. I hear ya, I hear ya. A good part of it is the mentality of "for a lot of people, this is hard, but look at me! i'm winning! yayyy!"

    About Scientology ... gosh, I've been so deep into the other present-time matters that I haven't even been following the goings-on.

    The folks from Anonymous emailed me recently to celebrate the anniversary of their then-much-publicized campaign of demonstrations.

    Also, Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, was recently the voice of an auto-dialer campaign urging Scientologists to get busy/spending on the road to New OT 7 (the level Tom Cruise is at). She started off the voice message claiming to be Bart Simpson, which may or may not have impresed the people at Fox.

    Also, it's still crazy and damaging........ and bad for your budget, nyah!

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  4. I think you're right on the money my friend! both by having a joint checking (w/ the separate accounts too) and by keeping the details on the down low.

    We all have our reasons for blogging and talkin' about our money situations, but there's no way in hell i'd be spilling out my junk knowing that friends would be reading it ;) they can get on my nuts whether i'm making $100k+ or $10k, so I'd happily skip on the drama.

    That being said, it sure does feel good getting it all out there and seeing who wants to hate, and who wants to praise. But again, mine's a 100% PF blog and so it fits...

    But yeah - keep doing your thang buster! You're always crackin' us up :)

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