There's a Garfield cartoon that I vaguely remember, in which Jon talks about naming appliances, and Garfield makes a comment about how every time a lightbulb burned out it would be like a death in the family. I was extra-sad when Sara the Dodge Neon died after three years for that reason. I'm glad that I didn't bother naming my 14-month old hard drive. It is now riding around in my work bag, and I ask all the vaguely geeky people I know to try to restore some of my data. Tim didn't back anything up, so a whole year of doctoral papers, three semesters of student grades, and who knows what else are now gone. Sigh.

Strangely (or happily... or something), with all that has gone badly this past month (car dying, $300 traffic ticket that Tim got for driving without the new tags, dogs fighting and the $1000 in vet bills, computer crashing), I haven't really been that stressed about it. It doesn't usually happen that things just roll off for me, and they have been, and I appreciate it. My eating habits are probably the main outward display of my stress level -- I haven't been doing too well with eating healthily -- but even that isn't as bad as it could be. Is this a function of getting older, or being more apathetic, or is everything eventually going to explode?

I am thinking of taking a vacation and going camping in a couple of weeks to try to prevent the exploding scenario from happening.
I have put myself in charge of the household budget for the next six months. I've decided that a) it's time for me to understand exactly how and where I spend too much money, and b) I am probably responsible enough to not get our house, clothes, dogs taken away. This morning, in a moment of weakness, I bought the Buffy Season Three DVD set. We're off to a flying start...

Seriously, though, I have gone through almost all of our bank statements since we moved here, and have computed how much we spend in a number of categories (food other than groceries, groceries, bills, misc, target... these are the big categories that we need to work on), and now I can hopefully set up a reasonable budget and stick to it.

How do the rest of you out there set up your budgets? Are they by category? Are they just written in your checkbook, and when you run out of money, you stop spending it? This still mystifies me.

The way I set up my eating plan (when I'm feeling disciplined enough to use it), is to have a checklist of portions of food I can eat per week, and when I run out, say, of checks in the cheese category, that means no more cheese for the week (or stealing a check from the meat category, which is allowable). I feel like I should be able to do the same thing with money, but it never quite works out for me. If y'all have any better suggestions, I'm open to them.

Things I'm considering:
-a 'date' budget, from which we go out on weekends
-a limit of number of trips to Target per month (we spend waaaay too much there)
-a postal budget, or buying some set number of stamps at the beginning of the month, and not sending anything once I've used them all (this would be painful for me and my nervousness habit)

sigh. i hate money.



June 2016

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