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Friday, March 16, 2012

The Business of Housekeeping

This is my favorite part of the book so far, the idea that if you budget your time, money, and resources wisely you will have free time for yourself. In a generation where the majority of people, regardless of income levels, live paycheck to paycheck - many in debt up to their eyeballs; if we aren't budgeting our money, we are probably not budgeting our time either. This is leaving many people tired, stressed, overwhelmed, and broke.
WD and I are currently taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. There are many people out there who will tell you how to budget your money, but Dave's principle is that you live like no one else (getting debt free) so that later you can live like no one else (with no debt, having savings and security).  It is a 100% credit card free life, on a zero based budget, where every dollar is spent on paper before the month begins. He teaches the envelope system, which just like the 1924 advice above. You give each budgeted item a separate envelope so that you don't spend the grocery money eating out (or buying a new purse). Put the allotted CASH into each budgeted envelope. Cash helps because it physically causes your pain sensors to go off when you spend cash, which does not happen when you swipe a card.
I took this class before we got married, so we are proud to be off credit cards, but the budget seemed very limiting to WD before we took this class together. It has been amazing for our marriage because I no longer look like a stingy miser. We can have whatever we want, as long as I know in advance, and it fits in the budget (which is a pretty foreign concept for a generation of credit card babies). We have both felt the stress of money has been lifted, and I no longer have to feel guilty when we go out to eat  because there is money in the envelope for eating out. It is a life changing freedom.
But what about my credit card points, and my cash back program?
You will spend 12-18% more on a card than you will if you are working with cash only. I have never heard of a credit card that gives you 12-18% cash back or 12-18% reward points.

So what if we budgeted our time like we budget our money?
To some people, a rigid schedule seems restrictive. But what if sticking to a schedule meant you were guaranteed your freedom, hobby time, or personal time? If you were aware of everything you have to do, you know when to say no. I run the schedules for the professionals in my other part-time job. If they don't have an hour open for an appointment, I don't book that hour appointment. Yet with my own life, I often take on things I do not have enough time in my day to do - which leads to stress, and shortening my sleep time.
BUDGETING TIME CHALLENGE: Let's take one week where we obsessively schedule everything necessary. (Don't forget to schedule in your favorite quiet times.) You may look at your schedule and see why you are so tired and stressed because you are going over budget on your time by trying to cram 26 or 30 hours of activity into a 24 hour day. Keep this in mind: Schedule EVERY minute before the day starts. Now you do not need to be productive all 24 hours - you will drive yourself crazy. Schedule a cup of coffee on the porch with your Bible, schedule a walk with your dog, schedule a nap or extra hour of sleeping in. Having too much leftover time will not benefit you - you will probably end up wasting it anyway doing something you didn't think was important enough to schedule. 

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