Friday, November 19, 2010
I've been reading The Story of Doctor Dolittle to my kids in the afternoon. What a marvelous book! Even though Dr. Dolittle is a fictitious character, I love his approach to money. He doesn't have any, and it doesn't bother him in the least. It's his animals, actually, that are concerned about their dwindling, and then non-existent, finances. He viewed money a necessary nuisance. You've gotta have some, but what a bother.
Don't you sometimes wish we could be more like that in real life? We have more medical bills than the average person, and not very good insurance, so it's kind of like having a second mortgage every single month. What fun, right? God always provides for our needs, but I do have a responsibility to stretch the money we have as far as possible. It is somewhat stressful, and I probably inwardly fret about how it will all work out each month a bit too much. I would like to be more like Doctor Doolittle--not thinking about it too much and not letting it bother me too much.
Here's a practical way to deal with money:
One of my friends takes out $400 cash from her husband's check every two weeks. This is her grocery money, plus any spending money. If her kids need shoes, it comes out of that. If she needs gas, it comes out of that. Basically anything other than utility bills will come out of that fund. What's left over carries over. If it's all spent, she waits until the next installment to spend anything (even on groceries).
For some people, perhaps that may be too much money (she has five children); for others, it may be too little. The point is to find a figure that works for you, that reins in your spending, and then stick to it. You don't have to be legalistic with it (if your baby needs diapers and you're out of cash, go buy some diapers), but if you make yourself stick to it, you'll really control spending.
And here's the key from Dr. Dolittle: if you feeling like you're making do with too little, don't let it bother you too much. Seek to find free (or very frugal) ways to have a grand existence. There are plenty out there.
Linked to Frugal Friday.