My mother once told me I should have a budget. Many years later, I aquired a parakeet, and named him Budget. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep him….
What is the Tao of Budget?
To take an oversimplified view of the subject, let us say there are two basic types of budgeting: Big-Thingian and Little-Thingian.
Tom Chance is a Little-Thingian. He has some old debts and a few recurring bills. Today, he has a fistful of dollars (insert short snatch of movie theme). It isn’t enough to make a real dent in an old debt, nor is it enough to pay off an impending bill.
But Tom likes to think he’s a positive thinker. Wow, his glass is half full! So he drinks it. Literally.
When all the beer is gone, he still has debts and bills. And no beer.
Ben Buckmaster, a Big-Thingian, also has a fistful of dollars (insert short snatch of movie theme). He has old debts and recurring bills too, and not enough to pay off anything yet. Oh well. He leaves his half-empty glass under the tap. It will gradually fill if the faucet drips, and, if nothing else, it will still be there if he’s thirsty tomorrow. Ben has seen a lot of thirsty tomorrows.
Some days later, both Tom and Ben have found odd jobs that leave them with (insert short snatch of movie theme). Ben now has enough to pay his most pressing bill. He does so, and promises himself that if there’s a bit left over from the next paycheck, he’ll treat himself to a beer.
Tom, however, is in the same place he was before. Enough for beer and pizza, but not enough for child support.
Guess what Tom does. Again.
So…Ben is a negative thinker, right? A pessimist, a Scrooge, a tightwad, no fun. He won’t party because he can’t “loosen up” and forget his problems. Big-Thingians are No. Fun.
Tom is a great guy to hang around with. Too bad he’s in jail right now.
To sum up:
A Little-Thingian budgeter is in constant motion; he spends whatever he has. If it isn’t enough for the Big Things, he spends it all on Little Things.
A Big-Thingian budgeter rests in the Tao. His money grows through his inaction and his bills are paid.
A great Master once said, “It’s the priorities, stupid!”