My alter-ego is a CFO for a 200-employee nonprofit organization, so you think I’d get the importance of budgeting. And I do – for work. It creates accountability, permits efficient delegation, allows for reasonable oversight. We’ve got budgets within budgets, way up in the middle of the air.
Here at home? Nah. (And most definitely not a specific budget for homeschool supplies and books, aka a wheel within a wheel.)
Moral Sanctimonious Answer. Our family motto is to “live generously.” Following a budget seems to dampen the impulses to give. I don’t want to “plan” my giving – and then feel like I’ve done my duty once I’ve given – like I’m entitled to everything that’s left. It’s ALL God’s, and He is faithful to provide. If He tells us to give, we give. (Ahem… Love the words. Back to our reality.)
Seriously, I far more admire the couple who mortgages their home to sponsor a mission than the couple who has their retirement planned to the T and then some.
The Easy Answer. I’m lazy. Budgeting and tracking expenses accordingly takes work. When I get home from reconciling accounts, the last thing I want to do is reconcile more accounts or try to figure out why Mint.com isn’t working right. I’d rather play with my little girl.
The Real Answer. A bit of both. Plus, budgeting brings out the OCD in me, makes me overanalyze things, visualize the pain and poverty of the world every time I contemplate adding a non-necessity to my shopping cart. I start thinking about what is really a necessity in the global context and have a hard time justifying a haircut, curtains, or a trip to Subway. It’s just easier not to think?
My husband is a deal hunter; he spends hours researching prices without spending anything, and when a great deal is available, he wants to be able to act on it if he has the money. Me? I hate feeling ripped off. I have chronic buyer’s remorse. So, budget or no budget, I tend not to shop much to avoid that feeling.
We always have enough. The secret is letting God define “enough,” I think.
The Homeschool Materials Answer. We have two library cards. We get to review a lot of products. We download all the freebies. We shop 75%-off thrift store sales. When we happen upon something that is just perfect for Esmé, we check around for the very best deal we can find, or we wait for the sale, and we buy it.
We are surrounded by educational materials. Esmé has everything she needs for scholastic excellence.
More important is the development of character.
Esmé doesn’t fully comprehend the value of money yet. We’ve worked on the idea that she needs to save up in order to get some of the things she really wants. Saving is good. Budgeting is good.
More than the gratification of getting something she has been long saving for, however, I want her to experience the joy of giving her entire piggy bank’s contents to someone in need. Not mandated or even encouraged by me, but simply sprouting from a generous spirit.
Esmé definitely does not realize it yet, but she will always have enough.
For other posts on homeschooling budgets, check out the TOS Blog Cruise next week!