With one hour to spare, the government of these great United States was able to agree on a budget for the upcoming fiscal year that avoided a shutdown. $38 billion in budget cuts were introduced, all of which seems to have come from cutting discretionary spending, a category which has no real function other than to pay for things on a whim. It’s hard to imagine that the entire government was willing to shutdown and the resolution turned out to be a “budget overhaul” of less than 4%.
This little episode got me thinking whether or not I can related to this kind of back and forth in creating my own budget. Say you or I bring in $5,000 a month and my goal is to appropriate that money everywhere. I spend the needed amount on the mortgage/rent, utilities, food, gas, etc. then place the remaining funds in my “discretionary account.” where I can do what I want with them.
Would you or I be willing to get into a fight with a loved one over $175 of this $5,000 budget? It’s possible I suppose, as perhaps I want to buy the MLB Extra Innings Package and she wants a couple of trips to the salon. Could this fight result into a prolonged battle? That’s possible too, as $175 is a good chunk of change to fight about each month, and over a full year, that’s more than $2,000.
So while I originally classified this potential mess as foolish, I can understand that when it comes to budgeting, two opposing parties may not take to kindly to negotiations. Happy to see both sides come together at the midnight hour.
Onto the best money articles from this past week.
12 Most Common Tax Scams @ CNN Money: Learned quite a bit from this post. For example, you can write off dry cleaning expenses for uniforms you must wear to work, but not for suits you must wear to work. Huh.
How to Pick a Caregiver For Your Elderly Parents @ Consumer Boomer: I have a good amount of years before I have to deal with this kind of situation but I can’t imagine anyone else taking care of my mother and father. Except my brother of course!
5 Ways ‘Jersey Shore’ Changes Summer Rentals @ The Street: Coming from NJ, I can tell you that the Jersey Shore actually does a pretty good job of showing you the Seaside Heights area of our state. If you subtract the people, it’s quite nice really.
Don’t Want a Mortgage? Build and Live in a Shipping Container Home @ PT Money: I’m a little skeptical at just how functional these shipping containers are. I mean, I can understand if they make good shelters during a storm, but I could never deal with a house and so many right angles!
And this past week, we participated in the Carnival of Personal Finance.
Published or updated May 23, 2011.