This One’s on Me

The Hayley household is budget-minded.

I’m not saying we are cheap, I’m just saying that we make a budget each month and we stick with it. This is a fairly natural process for my CPA husband, but not such a natural process for his #1 fan.

When we were newlyweds, Kelly took one look at the sorry state of my checkbook ledger and declared: “We can not live like this. We must get on a budget.” And so it began.

He developed an Excel spreadsheet – color-coded and categorized for ease of use. No problem. All I had to do was toss receipts at Kelly and look at the spreadsheet every now and then. Easy, breezy.

Several months later he suggested I take charge of the spreadsheet for two months so I would actually learn how to use it, rather than simply watching him use it. I didn’t think that was necessary, but Kelly convinced me that I needed to understand it in case he died of a heart attack and I was left with a spreadsheet I didn’t understand.

I didn’t tell him that if he died of a heart attack, the spreadsheet would be the least of my concerns.

So I took over the spreadsheet for two months. That wasn’t quite so easy. I still tossed my receipts in a pile. To my horror, they stayed there until I put them into the spreadsheet. Not fun, not simple. But I learned how the spreadsheet worked and gratefully turned responsibility back over to Kelly two months later.

Now we have a great system. We work on the budget together at the end of each month, identifying known and predicted expenses for the coming month. It’s quick and easy and rarely (very rarely) are we caught off-guard.

I still hand Kelly receipts each month. There aren’t as many now, since we are mainly cash-based. When I do have a receipt, I’m careful to mark which budget category it should be charged to, keeping the record keeping process clean and quick.

Until we went to San Antonio, that is.

While Kelly was running the marathon, I took some time to get in a little Christmas shopping. And I stumbled across the most perfect piece to add to my Nativity collection. I had to get it!

I didn’t have a budget number for it. It wasn’t really Christmas (though it was Christmas-themed). It wasn’t for entertainment or home improvement. I really wasn’t sure what to charge it to. So in a pinch, I scribbled on the receipt, ME.

I meant to change it, or at least write a clarifying note, after I had a change to think about where to absorb the expense. However, it was a busy day and I never got back to doing that (Multi-tasking saps my brain again!). So Kelly was given a receipt that said ME.

What’s this?
Oh that! That was a Nativity to add to my collection. It’s really wonderful and you know, I never got a Nativity when we were in San Antonio for vacation.
That’s great, but why is it charged to ME? There’s no ME budget category.
I wasn’t sure what to charge it to. I meant to change it to something…well, I’m not sure what exactly.
This is pathetic. Really, Shannah – charge it to ME?
(Smiling, arms spread in a gesture of largesse)
No problem, this one’s on ME. No really, just charge it to ME.
I see where you’re going with this. I simply meant that it wasn’t a gift for someone else.
That’s right, it’s obviously a gift for ME.

I would be aggravated if he didn’t make me laugh so darn much! Sigh.

5 Comment

  1. Well, if you had run true to form, you would have signed it “Love, Me” – or “Love Me?” It would have made perfect sense, and Kelly probably wouldn’t have even questioned it. I’m totally shocked he doesn’t have a “Love Me” category on the spreadsheet ….

  2. I know!!

  3. Ed says: Reply

    Maybe at Christmas Kelly can show how he has the excel set up. Jeremy wants to get one going for me. We have the budget but I just use word perfect right now.

  4. John says: Reply

    I can see this whole conversation in my mind. I, too, laughed.

    You two actually talk about your spreadsheet from month to month? What a novel idea.

  5. Novel idea, eh? 🙂

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