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Living on the edge... of your budget

In this week's Everything King, Wendy discusses budget woes. With her cat
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To me this is the most horrifying four-letter word in the English language: B-u-d-g-e-t.

The fact this is actually a six-letter word should tell you just how bad I am at numbers.

Hence, the abject fear of trying to figure out household finances.

With echoes of my mother ringing in my ears saying “you need to keep track of your finances” as she did for our family in her handy dandy ‘Hilroy’ notebook—I sat down with pen in hand trying to figure out how much I make and how much I spend in a month. It seems a bit lopsided.

I am one of those people who likes to live on the edge.

You know that exhilaration at the checkout when you put in your debit card and wait and wait and hold your breath and then it says APPROVED! Adrenalin rush! Wow, its like a ride at the fair! Whee!

I don’t even know how to do a budget. People have said the words spreadsheet and graph but I glazed over.

As my friend says, “A budget is like a diet for your money." It's true and every bit as fun.

I started out by making a list of all my luxuries.

Let me just say I do not live like a Kardashian. So, what is a luxury? Something we want but don’t need I suppose?

So, I started by cutting out everything fun that makes life worthwhile.

A luxury? Does that include a haircut? 

What about if I stretch it to six weeks and have a coupon?


This is really a need. You can’t be seen in public all naked fingered.

Take out coffee?

But, but, its my favourite thing. Is it acceptable if you don’t buy the $6 kind but just the $1.75 kind? I didn’t cross that one out yet.

I did give it the old college try and say no to a few things.

I cancelled Netflix. Guess my House of Cards just collapsed.

As if January isn’t depressing enough with its potholes and dirty snow, now you have to put yourself on self imposed house arrest without the flashy ankle bracelet. It is so depressing but I know myself. If I go out the door, money will be spent.

'Adulting,' which I am using as a verb, is so unpleasant I try to make it a game.

 Let’s see how low I can keep the heat before icicles form on my nasal hairs?

The answer is 63.

I usually sit in the dark with just a little candle light. That’s cozy and there is warmth, too.

How long can you live on grilled cheese?

Quite awhile and that one doesn’t seem like such a hardship, really.

Let’s go to the store and shop off the 'dead' bin for veggies and fruit. That’ll be fun.

Bring your own grocery bags—that’ll save a nickel a bag.

It has gotten quite serious. I even had a heart to heart with the cat.

“Otis, we have no money, so you’re going to have to cut back on the treats and the pooping."

I’m almost positive I heard him reply, “You first!”

None of this is remotely enjoyable. I am being flippant but I know this is how a majority of hard working people live by cutting corners and making sacrifices and trying to make ends meet—ends that keep getting farther apart. I know money isn’t the most important thing in life until you don’t have it and then its pretty darn important.

I could really use a glass of wine right about now. Alas, it is not in the budget.


About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
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