I offer self-talk that breeds financial success.
We become better people, when we live up to someone or something bigger than ourselves. It reduces self-centeredness and prevents selfishness. This improves everyone around us. Happier people make other people happy. And, that’s us. Contrary to common thinking, successful budgeting does it for us.
It only requires success-breeding rules honored by both of us. The following mutual commitments convey our meaning and dedication to one another:
1. We can’t do it all yet, but we pledge to each other that we’ll work toward everything listed below.
2. When we make mistakes, we’ll not look back. Make no room for guilt, or it will spoil our future. After all is said and done, hitting our targets is not everything, but recovery is everything even if we stumble some more.
3. Money is available for everything we need, so long as we trade off money allocated to lower priority items to spend on higher priority items. Tradeoffs bless our endeavors by reminding that we always have enough money for vital needs. Tradeoffs also enable us to reprioritize our needs, wants, and wishes, and that’s the way it should be.
4. It may take years, but with each income increase we’ll squeeze our lifestyle until we live on 80% of our income.
5. As squeezing permits, we’ll first shift 10% into short range savings each year (e.g., Christmas, vacation, gifts, etc.). We’ll not use credit to expand spending on these wants, but we expect expansion later as income increases.
6. As squeezing permits, we’ll shift until we put another 10% into long range savings (home purchase, kid’s college, retirement, or whatever we choose).
7. Christmas and vacation spending will be limited to whatever we allocate at the start of the year and don’t tradeoff before those events arrive. Overspending on either event violates our principles and causes problems we intend to avoid.
8. If we have a budget item but no funds to put there yet (e.g., none for long range savings), we will budget and accumulate at least $1 a month to remind its still a high priority intention. We’ll track it as a target, let it accumulate as a $12 IOU each year, and increase as more income permits.
9. Our card balances will grow no more. We’ll stop immediately charging on our cards unless we set the money aside to pay it off with the next billing. Our monthly monitor of cash flow will be used to track and obligate these funds until the bill comes in.
10. We’ll pay off our credit cards as soon as possible. Once done, we will never again not pay them off each month.
11. If financial arguments erupt, we will discuss our financial management process and whatever shortcoming caused the issue with the view to avoiding it in the future. To argue about the money or each other’s faults merely triggers lack of faith in each other. It’s the process we adopt that keeps us from each other’s throats.
12. We’ll work up a plan for both of us to earn a reward each month. (Described in the next post.)
Budgetary rules make things come out the way people want, if they but impose and honor rules of their own making. Live up to our own rules, and we’ll become financially secure along the way and, perhaps, rich someday.
[More about newlyweds appears at posts 301, 297, 261, 257, 254, 247, 242, 230 and 224. Scroll down or search by number with dot and space following it.]