“A budget tells us what we can’t afford, but it doesn’t keep us from buying it.”

The morning is a bit chilly but is a lovely morning with a bright sun and a blue sky. According to the paper, today is supposed to be warm, 70°. I definitely need to clean the deck again so I can sit outside and enjoy the day.

I have to hit a couple of stores today, mostly for the dog, the cats and the birds. I cleaned the feeders yesterday and filled them with the last of the seed. While I was outside, a hummingbird dropped by. Gracie was lying on the lounge but sat up when she heard and saw the rapid wings of the hummingbird. It hovered a bit, and I was thrilled to be able to see the tiny bird so well. I hurried and added nectar to my hummingbird feeders. I hope it comes back to check.

When I was growing up, my mother always paid the bills. She used to have budget envelopes in which she’d place money every week when my father got paid. The envelopes were brown and were in a wallet like folder which I think I remember as red. On each envelope my mother had written the amount to put in and the bill to be paid. She also had a Christmas club at the bank so she’d have extra money for presents. Despite the envelopes and the budget, my mother always scrounged enough money for the Saturday matinée all winter and the ice cream man in the summer. On Saturdays, we’d get money for the ticket and a nickel for a candy bar. We usually bought candy which took a long time to eat like Sugar Daddies. In the summer, when Johnnie rang his ice cream truck bell, we’d run to my mother. Sometimes we’d get a nickel and that meant a popsicle while other times we’d get a dime which meant trying to figure out what we wanted. I know once in a while I’d get an ice cream sandwich or a cone, the one covered in chocolate with nuts on the top, but I also loved creamsicles and fudgesicles. It was always difficult to make a dime decision. The nickel decision was easy: a root beer popsicle. Every now and then I’d get a blue one, taste unknown, because it made my tongue blue which I thought was funny and worth showing the world by constantly sticking out my tongue.

When I first bought this house, it took half of my monthly salary to pay the mortgage, and I knew having little money meant I needed to keep a budget. I used regular white envelopes for mine and on them, like my mother, I wrote the bill to be paid and the amount to put in each envelope on pay days. I also started a Christmas club.

I survived those lean years, and at the start of every school year I made more money so within a few years I didn’t need a budget any more. I felt rich.

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14 Comments on ““A budget tells us what we can’t afford, but it doesn’t keep us from buying it.””

  1. morpfy Says:

    Interesting read,as I drink my coffee this morning
    “22 facts about Coffee” link–>http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/23-facts-about-coffee-the-worlds-most-important

    • Kat Says:

      Not only was that interesting but also filled with the best coffee pictures. I’m thinking the cafe au lait and the espresso look delicious!

  2. olof1 Says:

    I can’t remember anything like that in my home. I do remember how everyone borrowed everything from each other at the end of the month though 🙂 Two eggs here and a cup of sugar there or a gas token so they could cook dinner at all 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I never made a budget back in the days when I really needed one 🙂 but when economy got better I started doing that. Now I don’t need one and don’t make one. But I sort of plan my economy anyway so I can set aside some for worse months or a rainy day.

    I always bought a vanilla ice cream if I could chose myself. If I felt really rich I bought a cone with a thin layer of chocolate covering the top of it 🙂 It was very important that the candy lasted for a long time, so I bought very much the same things as You did. But I have always loved salt licorice so if I did feel rich I always bought that 🙂

    Have a great day!

    • Kat Says:

      My mother wanted to make sure she was never short of money to pay all the bills so the budget helped. We never seemed to need much as she took care of everything.

      The ice cream mad had to have portable ice creams as he served them from a truck. Ice cream cones we got from the soda fountains in the drug store. Chocolate chip was my favorite. I don’t know salt licorice.

      I had depleted my savings to put money down then I had to pay the closing costs and my first month’s insurance. I was broke, and that first year I stayed broke.

  3. Zoey & Me Says:

    I bought our first house no money down as it was a VA benefit. My closing costs were less than a grand. But we still worried about the $400 monthly payment forgetting we both paid more for our separate rentals. It wasn’t long before job increases made that measely amount chump change. So I know what you mean. This was back when electricity was $17 a month. !!

    • Kat Says:

      I remember coming home from the gorcery store that first year when my car started to smoke. I cried all the way home at the thought of a bill for which I’d have no money. Luckily it was just a hose leaking liquid on the engine.

      I put $5000 down and with the closing costs that was every bit of my savings. Every uear, though, I’d make more money and the mortage stayed the same. It was, like yours, chump change in a few years.

  4. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    My parents didn’t use anything like that. I tried to use the envelope system when I was older and had a real job and real bills but I’m not very consistent with those kinds of things and gave it up soon after. Now I have direct deposit, e-bills and online bill pay so I do it all on one day.

    I had a Genius Bar appointment today for my Mac. Figured it would cost me some money to find out what was wrong with the thing. It’s become slower than molasses running up hill in January and there’s no reason for it. Hard drive checked out fine. Diagnostic showed that Norton Security was sucking up all the power. The recommendation was to dump Norton. No charge. Not sure what I’m going to do yet.

    Interesting weather here today. Sun, sunshowers, clouds, more sun, thunderstorms in the distance with rain right here. Typical New England weather. Don’t like it, wait 5 minutes. 🙂

    Enjoy the day.

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      In the old days. when I first started working, I seemed to have tons of money then I bought my house, and it was slim pickings for a while. That was the only time I needed a budget. I too have direct deposit and pay most of my bills on line.

      Can you disable some of the Norton? I also have it on my Mac but it seems to be running fine. I get Norton free from Comcast.

      No rain here at all though I know it rained in Boston today. We had sun most of the day, and it was in the high 60’s all day.

      Have a great evening!

    • im6 Says:

      I’ve used Macs for 17 years or so and have never had Norton and (to my knowledge) never had a problem with security. I know Macs aren’t immune to getting hacked/infected, but the likelihood is much smaller than with a PC. I’m not telling you to uninstall, but if the people at the Genius Bar suggested it, I’d do it. And that’s 2 cents worth from me!

      • Kat Says:

        I think it’s probably worth a whole lot more!

      • olof1 Says:

        No Macs usually never get virus problems but without any kind of anti virus Macs can spread the damn viruses to others using PC’s

      • Caryn Says:

        Thanks im6. Genius Bar tech said as long as I was diligent about Apple security updates it should be fine. I am good about updates and back ups.
        My concern is that, in the past, Macs were not so widely used and thus too small a target for hackers but that isn’t so much the case anymore.

  5. Bob Says:

    My father always paid the bills when I was a kid. He had a checkbook with a stub on the end of each check instead of paper register. Christmas clubs were a scheme for the bank to hold your money without paying you any interest. A regular passbook account would work just as well and would pay you a little interest if you had the will power not to withdraw the money during the year.

    I have heard of a lot of people having problems with Norton anti-virus on Macs. Although there has only been one virus out in the wild since 1985, many people just don’t have antivirus protection. The only virus came through a phony updater to flash which installed the virus. I only update software from the producers website except for updates from Apple. Since I am a believer in safe sex, I downloaded a free anti-virus software application called ‘Sophos’. It’s free, updates its library daily and doesn’t use any resources. The only thing it’s found are a couple of Windows spyware that don’t do anything to a Mac.

    The rain ended yesterday and it was hot and clear again.

    • Kat Says:

      The bank paid interest, at least on the one I had. I don’t know about my mother’s, but I do know my parents would have had problems buying presents without it. Spare money wasn’t around all that much.

      I remember the checkbooks with the stubs. I had one when I got my first checking account.

      Now that both you and im6 are making a case for eliminating Norton from my Mac I may just do that. I’ll check up Sophos-thanks!

      I hope the heat stays away for you!!

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