Saturday, May 26, 2007

Expand. Contract.

"It's terrible in here. It's like communism." - Anya, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Season 5)
Three months ago, Muad'Dib and I decided I should have my own account and my own money. I should have an allotment given to me every week, and have to budget my spending according to that "allowance." We did this because I, like many bored or emotionally hungry women, was a spend-a-holic. Not really a shop-a-holic because I didn't enjoy shopping, didn't like looking for things to buy, but I did enjoy purchasing on impulse. My justification was usually one of the following:

1. "I work hard with the kids. I deserve a reward."

2. "If I leave the bag in the car until Muad'Dib's asleep, he won't know I've bought it, and it doesn't count."

3. "I have just returned something and gotten X amount of dollars given back to me. I can spend it on something fun because it's basically money already spent."

4. "Muad'Dib needs it."

5. "Lemur needs it."

6. "I'll need it for the baby."

This list could go on, I suppose, but the most common ones are up there.

Having an "allowance" seems like a juvenile idea to almost everyone I've mentioned it to. But I say spending money like a drunken sailor and then getting angry when I get caught: THAT'S juvenile.

I was assuming that Muad'Dib's job was merely to fund my "rewards," because I was doing the most work and deserved the most fun in return.

How selfish was I?

WAS. Caught that did you? Good for you. And good for me.

After my first overdrawn fee that took $27.50 out of my account, I cried. I expected that Muad'Dib would be looking at me like he had always done when I bought something useless and expensive. But he didn't. His face showed sympathy and even pride. When I asked why, he said, "You never reacted this way when I told you WE were overdrawn. Now it matters to you."

It was then I realized that this wasn't an allowance, it was a stewardship.

Muad'Dib has made the money. He has given me an amount that can mould to fit my needs. Mainly because my needs become clearer when I have to fit them into my budget.

When we began, I had $100 a week. Then Muad'Dib up-ed it to $200 a week, to include gas and medical things. Then, two weeks ago, he brought it back down to $150. Wanna know something interesting? $100 worked. $200 worked. $150 worked. I can spend and I can save according to what I am given.

My spending expands and contracts to fit my amount of resources.

That's why it's narrow-minded for people to say if they had more money things would be easier. You'll just find more to spend it on. I've said it before and no doubt it will slip out again. BUT this knowledge gives me so much power over my resources. Not the other way around.

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