Budget

In the last few weeks, I’ve sent one attachment to many friends. A sample budget.

I don’t recall how each conversation began, but all had some aspect of wanting to live “right”. Yes, a decently ambiguous word, lofty in nature and but oh so real as well. To some, this means living simply- carrying on from our days of Jesuit, Francis or other volunteer experiences. For others it meant tracking to ensure they never spent above their means. For all, it meant looking at their life, priorities, and interests, based on where they place their resources.

As I continue to live a ‘plan-less’ life , this is one aspect that I staunchly carry with me. Partially because my organized and slightly analytical side likes this structure, but mostly because of it’s benefit: a clear way to offer insight and align  priorities. The budget is a tool to help us live “right”.

A recent conversation had someone inadvertently criticizing me without knowing it. “Yah know, she doesn’t eat meat because of how much grain it take to feed an animal, but c’mon, what good does that do”?  Little did she know this is my reasoning, too.

I took a big breath to say, “I hear your point, and actually it’s the reason I’m a veg too. However, I also do it because it provides me with a way to live my life in a more complete, connected, and centered way. For me, I can’t say “I’m against hunger”, and not look at my own actions that affect it. Living like this, questioning, reflecting, acting- it isn’t perfect. But it is for me. It gives me peace.”

Later that week, I was on a conference call for an Editorial Board of a quarterly publication that I adore: A Matter of Spirit. As we discussed an upcoming focus on food, I stressed that it is important not only to provide action steps for people, but ones that let people discern for themselves what they are called to do.

We do not always need to be prescriptive. Sometimes all we need to do, is hand over the tools.

***

Sample Budget, Year 2012
Actual Estimate
Housing
Apt Insurance
Gas
Car
Insurance
Tolls
Oil Changes
Maintience
Phone
Food
Tv/Internet
Loans
Student
Car
Medical
Retreats
Donations
Gifts
Gym
Weddings
Trips
Concerts
Classes Improv
Tennis
Total expenditures: xxxxx
Income xxxxx
Subtract, Expenditures
Income Remaining #VALUE!
Additional Costs:
Roth IRA/Retirement
Taxes(if owed)
Total Add’l costs
Subtract Income Remaining- Total Add’l Costs
Total Left
Plug in how much you want to save and subtract from ‘total left’
Total Left
Savings Goal
Total Fun $ Left
Total Fun $ Left divide by 52= approx $ left to spend per week. 
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