Author Topic: Creative budgeting for the charity-minded  (Read 1236 times)

Mississippi Mudstache

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Creative budgeting for the charity-minded
« on: March 19, 2015, 07:54:07 AM »
Just thought I would take a moment to share a bit of my wife's badassity.

My wife has a very different relationship with money than I do. She is naturally frugal - the type of person who will pick up an item in the store and carry it around for 10 minutes before deciding that she doesn't really need it and putting it back - but she doesn't much care for numbers, so trying to stick to a specific budget has always been a bit of a challenge. For sake of marital bliss, I usually just go along with it, since we are still saving more than I plan for (mostly because my side gigs are bringing in more than expected).

However, the last month was a pretty rough one on the food budget. Somehow we ended up spending $600 on groceries as a family of four. Our kids are 1 and 3, not a couple of ravenous teenagers, so I generally expect the total to be about $400. We also spent almost $200 on dining out, which is a line item that I like to keep under $100. I brought it up to my wife over the weekend - not in a critical way, but in a 'Did-you-know-we-spent-this-much?' kind of way. My wife is pretty sensitive and immediately got defensive, so I dropped the topic.

I didn't think any more of it until yesterday, when she told me about this idea, which I thought was brilliant:

We will cap our grocery and restaraunt spending at a certain agreed-upon dollar amount ($500/month). If we come under budget, any excess money will be donated to a humanitarian charity of my wife's choosing.

I thought it was a great idea. I know it will be a terrific motivator for my wife. She's far more willing to make sacrifices when there is an obvious benefit to others. And it takes some of the weight of "sticking to the budget" off of my shoulders, since it isn't just about my early retirement goals any more. It sets a minimum spending, but hopefully there will be no more $300-over-budget months, either.

I just thought I would share, in case there were others who might find this process to be useful. Hopefully, I can report back with successes in the coming months.


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Re: Creative budgeting for the charity-minded
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2015, 02:06:17 AM »
Sounds like a great idea!


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Re: Creative budgeting for the charity-minded
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2015, 05:49:44 AM »
Great idea!  We used to do this for my husband, except anything left over from our grocery budget was his spending money (he did the grocery shopping).  The great thing was when we abandoned this, he was so used to spending less at the store that he never went back to his spendy grocery ways.