Finance Frump

05.01.08 | money | 14 Comments

First: You feel the tax rebate is:

Most criminal use of taxpayer money ever!
You want me to stimulate what?
Hallelujah! Money! Money! Money!
Why didn’t we have another kid in 2007?

Second: The best way to spend it is:

Save it all, baby.
Blow it on 79 cute shoes.
Invest in a Mutual What?
Add to our buy-a-home nest egg.
Donate to a local food bank.

I guess my bigger question is whether anyone else feels like they’re financially frumpy? Because, honey, we are. Oh, we paid off our “consumer” debt with our tax refund last month. But we’re stuck with a student loan, car loan, and a itty bitty substantial loan to both Dads for the Florida-house fiasco. And whenever I remember the Zabaleen in Cairo, I know that we are blessed more than we could ever deserve or earn for ourselves.

So, even though I know most (all?) of you are probably better examples of fiscal responsibility than me, I’ve listed the principles of financial frump fighting that we have found to really work (especially when we actually follow them). Would be very grateful for any other ideas you may have.

Fight the Financial Frump

  • Pay the Lord first.
  • Save 10% (Especially if by contributing pre-tax you get an employer-matching contribution).
  • Make a budget (Track fixed and discretionary expenses, set goals, blah blah).
  • Factor in some Mad Money so you don’t feel too deprived (This one’s easy to follow!).
  • If you’re really serious about sticking to a budget, use Dave Ramsey’s envelope system. This worked for us in Japan; helped that it was short-term, with a big goal in mind (saving enough to move to NYC for graduate school).
  • Plan for “emergencies.” Everything always costs more than it should. Especially those doctor copays and birthday presents. Use your employer Flex account if available (not for the presents, unfortunately).
  • Adjust your perspective. Really this is the biggest one. I am not as well-off as I think I should be. I’m not as good-looking or smart or creative as I feel like I should be either. And, worst of all, I’m not as grateful, patient, humble or NICE as I should be. But hey, at least I am self-aware, right?
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