Friday, September 12, 2014

FPU Night 3, on cash flow planning and envelopes

The author in France with a tiny blue French
backpack that she just HAD to have right now.
When I was 15 I took a week-long school trip to France. My mom gave me an envelope with enough money for food and some shopping for the whole week. Notice I said whole. I spent ALL my money in the first 2 days on clothes and expensive food.


All of it.

For the rest of the week teachers and other kids had to bail me out because I had no other money to buy food. Yes, food. The staff of life. I didn't get in trouble for this. The plane landed and my mom met us, gave me a hug, and paid everyone back.

Where I should have been totally ashamed to be borrowing money left and right for un Coca or le hamburger, I remember very little shame at all. I think I even borrowed more to shop more.

Needless to say, not indulging my every shopping desire is still hard for me. And in this week's FPU class Dave explains how, just like my trip to France, when you don't want to overspend in a category like food or clothes you put your cash in an envelope and don't spend more than that. And just like in France I've already overspent and it hasn't even been a week.

But wait! I have an excuse!

I was participating in les grande consignment sale pour les enfants at a local church. I consigned and signed up for 2 volunteer shifts just so I could get first dibs. I put an allotted amount into the clothes envelope for this moment and then promptly went over it with my check book. I found that once you are in an overheated room with hoards of other ladies grabbing and going a stained dress from an expensive brand starts looking a lot more attractive than it probably would if you saw it in someone else's closet.

Unlike France, though, guilt ensued. Part of me clings to my excuse, "It was an out of the ordinary event! I HAD to spend." But I know there is always an out of the ordinary event. You may not be in France or at a huge sale of smocked dresses but something will come up and if I want to successfully do all the FPU steps I have to learn how to say no.

But this month is just practice. October is when we get serious.

Besides the envelopes this class had a lot of information about cash flow planning. Lots of forms and information on how to fill out those forms. And information about having a budget meeting to discuss all spending with your accountability partner (aka your spouse if you are married).

If anything at all comes from this class it will definitely be learning to communicate more (and better!) with my partner. No secret spending. Everything on the table.

So even after I overspent my clothes envelope I fessed up about it.

For October I'm dreaming of an envelope out of Harry Potter that has the power to bite.

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