On New Year’s Eve, while Congress was busy waiting until the last-minute to “resolve” the Fiscal Cliff crisis…I was busy doing the same at my kitchen table.
As it goes with Cobblers kids going shoeless, I have to admit that my wife (Millie) and I aren’t always consistent with maintaining a home budget. When we have had a budget and a set of financial goals, it has been a huge positive in our marriage and when we let the budget slide, we’re both frustrated and feel like we’re wasting money.
So three weeks ago, I was having a guys night with four good friends and told them I needed their help…all they had to do was agree to take my money. I vowed that if I didn’t get our home budget in order by January 1st, I’d pay each of them $50.
With $200 on the line, I worked on it for several nights after that (Christmas Eve included). I dusted off my Mint.com account, massaged all our budget categories, made the choice to go back to using Mvelopes instead of Mint, and had everything set up a week before the deadline…but I wasn’t done.
I had told my friends that I not only needed to know all about our budget but Millie needed to be in on the plan, she needed to know what amounts she was “in charge” of, and be able to categorize transactions.
Unfortunately, I decided to wait until two hours before we were set to go out with friends on New Year’s Eve to have that little “budget summit” with her. But thanks to Millie’s graciousness and Netflix’s ability to babysit our kids, we got it done and averted the $200 fiscal cliff with smiles on our faces. And I think we did a pretty good job at it…well, at least Governor Christie didn’t have a press conference the next day telling us what disappointments we were.
Sometimes, knowing yourself is key to making smart choices. For me, a $200 penalty was plenty of motivation. What personal fiscal cliffs have you put in place? Which ones should you put in place.