time, part 1

A paycheck represents time spent – for many of us, the best mental and physical hours we have to offer. This time – as converted to currency – then is distributed toward the things you care about. You may find them a pain in the ass, or say you don’t like them, or that they don’t cost very much, or whatever. But numbers don’t lie.

My husband keeps a rather complicated, and rather awesome, family financial spreadsheet. Today he sent me an email which included information on the check he’d be bringing home tomorrow. Keep in mind this is a breakdown for one pay period (out of essentially two for the month) so is a bit lopsided (I’ll explain more in a bit):

%’s of this pay period’s income:

25% Housing
19% Food
16% Clothing shoppinz
15% Bills
5% Transportation
5% Debt
15% Everything Else

Equivalent days of work (12 in pay period):
3 Housing
2 Food
2 Clothing shoppinz
2 Bills
1/2 Transportation
1/2 Debt
2 Everything Else

A few notes: We are paying all of our housing expenses with this check. This means next period we will allocate 0% to rent (our total Housing expenses are about 12.3% of Ralph’s take-home income). This pay period we are allocating money to clothing, rather than to savings (our Savings model is 25%). Ralph still hasn’t figured how to work clothing into the regular expenses – and thus we have some catching up to do (although I do find myself wishing society would sanction Nels’ preferred dress code of tightie-whities and… no wait, that’s it, nothing else).

“Everything Else” includes things like buying gifts for friends, going out to the movies, the odd bill that must be paid immediately (like today’s vet bill for our new kitty), a meal out that my food allowance doesn’t cover, a relatively irregular expense like fabric for me to sew or bike tires or chicken coop supplies and feed, an impromptu trip to Olympia or movie rental or what-have-you. I like our Everything Else fund. It’s what keeps our life impromptu and rather enjoyable, most of the time.

My husband is awesome for not only working so diligently – and doing a good job at his profession – but for coming up with our financial system, for reducing our debt (largely medical bills we ignored while trying to buy groceries, while living in PT), giving us a road map so that our money is an asset we have choice regarding – rather than something there’s never enough of – and reducing our instances of utility shut-off* and other equally unpleasant experiences to ZERO.

He works hard for the money. So hard for it, honey.

* I find myself embarrassed by my use of and defense of the phrase “white trash” – which I have deliberately exorcised from my vocabulary and my world view. I am a work in progress.

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