Commentary by Dick Wolfsie
When we first got married, Mary Ellen toyed with the idea of a budget, but when she realized that saving money required not spending as much, the idea lost a lot of its glow.
Now that we’re both scaling back on work, it’s time to revisit the idea. My wife will be very meticulous about this, wanting receipts and questioning each expense. I’d leave home, but I know there will be no moving expenses in this budget.
“I’m dreading this,” I told her, “but let’s get started.”
“Alright, Dick, let’s each name monthly expenses we can’t change. Then we’ll know what our fixed costs are.”
“Mary Ellen, that’s a good idea. I’ll start with the mortgage.”
“Exactly. I’ll say pedicures.”
“The car payment.”
“Excellent. I’ll go with make-up.”
“Gas and electricity.”
“Mary Ellen, a car payment is very different from make-up and hairdresser.”
“Would you want to sit next to me in the car with bad hair and no make-up?”
“Point well taken.”
“Dick, let’s each name something the other person could save on. For example, you should give up that cup of coffee you get every morning when you are in the car.
“Why would I do that?”
“According to an article I read, if we had saved that three dollars a day for the last 25 years and invested it in Apple, we’d have two million dollars in the bank.”
“I feel so selfish. If I had given up going to Starbucks instead of Dunkin’ Donuts, we’d be billionaires.”
“Here are more ways we can save, Dick. We can wash the car ourselves. We can do our own landscaping. We will save if we change the car’s oil ourselves. Do you get what I mean when I say the word save?”
“Yes. Now tell me what you mean by the word we. This is going to drive me to drink, Mary Ellen.”
“Not a problem. Just be sure to turn in your mileage at the end of the month.”