What is Your Problem?

So I’ve been asked to speak on “living within a budget” for a women’s event that my church is hosting on Sept 23rd. It is going to be part of a series about living your faith intentionally. (Contact me if you want to come.)

I AM SUPER excited because, as a former teacher, I LOVE teaching and don’t get to do it anymore.

AND I LOVE talking about why my ideas are awesome.

Oh wait. Herein lies the problem. Are my ideas awesome? Hmmmm . . . .

In preparation for this talk, I have realized that I have approximately 12.5 hours of material. Even I, with a slight case of narcissism, know that my ideas are not that awesome. As you can imagine, this is too much material even if I ply the listeners with yummy brownies.

I want to say everything about budgeting that I know and also throw in quite a bit about which I know nothing just so that I seem smart. I also want to make sure that I cover every possible question that anyone might have about the subject or address potential problems that people are hoping that I address.

Also I want to seem clever. And funny.  And not annoyingly long-winded. And of course, super spiritual, not in a daunting way, just in a “WOW, I bet her kids never poop on themselves and then wipe it on the walls” kind of way.

And I want something cute to wear.

This is the curse of the people-pleaser with no fear of public speaking and a tendency to ramble.

Do you talk so much that you have a reasonably strong fear that you will actually die, pass away, in the middle of the sentence? This haunts me. I have long prayed to become shy and pristine.  Maybe I have not been quiet long enough to hear the answer to this one.

Okay, but back to the talk for the women’s meeting. My goal in this post is to ascertain from you my readers, some of whom may actually come to hear my talk, what budgeting problems, queries, or questions would you like to hear about? Maybe this will help me to filter out some of my random rambles. (Oooo “Random Rambles,” wow, that just suddenly became my new fav category idea.)

Please let me know if you have any questions for a totally un-financial person who is bad at math, never reads non-fiction or self-help book, has not read Dave Ramsey (don’t pass out), or that blonde lady that Kristin Wiig does the impression of, and has only practical experience and no debt on her side.

Hmmm . . . temporary narcissism now has been replaced by crushing sense of inadequacy.  Please ask easy questions. What’s your budget problem?

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6 Responses to What is Your Problem?

  1. Laura September 13, 2010 at 7:59 am #

    I think you need to tackle the reasons why we women don’t follow the obvious practical budget advice. Such as, our husbands don’t want to be cheap, or, we don’t want to deny our kids, or, we are afraid to say “no” to things that come outside the budget… just some ideas. Think of the things that we ALL kind of “know” common sense… the “tips” we have all heard before or would be able to agree on in a general sense… and then figure out WHY or WHAT are we doing or rationalizing that prevents us from having better habits.

  2. Kristen September 13, 2010 at 8:00 am #

    how do you get started on a budget? we have tried numerous times in our 8 years of marriage but there is always some inevitablr huge medical bill or a grandparent dies and we have to fly to the funeral, etc. we don’t have savings (can’t seem to put enough away to stock up). i can’t decide if we’re just one of those couples who say, “this just doesn’t work for us!” when reallyiy can work for anyone who is determined enough and has a little knowledge or if our misionary life sylte truely doesn’t lend itself to being financially “stable”. i mean, we live on “faith”… so how do you budget that? especially now when we are having to spend money in a short amt of time that we normally would be spreading over a three year stretch? not to mention all the medical stuff we’re getting done now to save trips to australia?

    do other people have these problems, too and i’m just making it into a missionary problem? help! tell me how to do this! :)

    • thelowryder September 13, 2010 at 11:37 am #

      I will probably address some of this at the meeting, but just as a quick short answer, you will have to revamp your definition of a budget as a constant, stable, predictable pattern for spending money. No one’s life is that constant stable or predictable, so most budgets fail. Especially when your income is dynamic, your budget has to be dynamic as well. If you have a lot of expenses that AREN’T dynamic, then you have to get creative, use percentages, etc.

      But, and I will say this as nicely as possible, the Ukarumpa charging mechanism is about the WORST possible way to really stay financially responsible. Unless you get to a point where you can get a month ahead of the charging, you are having to spend money before you get your givings, you are just playing a guessing game. J and I never really mastered it. My best advice would probable be to try to create a spending budget that comes in shy of your worst giving month. The months where giving is better will provide you with “excess” that can be used for unpredictable expenses. You probably are already doing this in a sense. This is called spending your savings, which is what savings is for in my book. :)

      The trick is not to immediately spend the excess on good months for all the things you feel entitled to and may even *sort of* need. We love to reward ourselves, but then we kick ourselves for it later.

      But some aspects cannot be budgeted, like faith . . . 😉 It sucks, I know . . . Most missionaries are forced to be pretty good stewards of their money, so you probably don’t need to worry about it. Just ignore the gurus who say that you have to keep your savings for a rainy day. Missionaries live in constant rainy season.

      K

  3. Kay Bruner September 13, 2010 at 8:17 am #

    Yeah, I agree with Laura that you ought to address underlying issues. Of course there are all kinds of good resources out there for the practical part. But I think the most important thing you could talk about is the rewards of living within your means. Because the rewards of living outside your means are pretty obvious–the shoes, the bag, the hair, girl, you look so good…the cruise, the ski trip…

  4. Megan September 14, 2010 at 7:53 am #

    I think you should definitely address the savings issue, because people will wonder about it if you show them at all what your budget is like and there’s no savings on there. I’d at least explain briefly why you don’t budget in for savings, but let them know that many people do budget for some savings each month. That way you won’t have people tune you out who don’t agree with your opinion of saving.

  5. Jillian Weir September 24, 2010 at 2:54 pm #

    Just wanted to let you know that your talk was AWESOME! Very wise and witty and Biblical. Thank you so much – I’m much encouraged to get back into nitty-gritty penny-pinching! :)