Squeezing the Last Drop

Squeezing the last drops out of your budget… that’s how it feels sometimes when you are trying to fit something else into a budget that feels overloaded already. I mentioned the other day that I would love to get to have someone to clean my house once a month. My friend Amy does this and it has been a huge success for her. She cleans her house every week, but once a month it gets a good deep clean. I think the good “deep clean” has been missing from my life recently. My little kiddos just keep me running and somehow between the three of them, my darling husband, working part time from home, blogging, and writing a book… cleaning the baseboards and fans is just at the bottom of the list.

Anyway, having a house cleaner come once a month is going to cost me about $50 a month. It is not a huge amount, but it still feels like a mountain. So, how do you squeeze something else into your budget? The temptation is always to take it from the money that is going to savings. However, if you allow yourself to go down that road, your money for savings will be gone in no time. You have to value your future and yourself enough to leave that money for savings alone… and yes, it is tempting for me too. However, if you have a surplus of income beyond what you need for your budget and where you are comfortably saving more than 10%… well, praise the Lord. You can probably stop reading right here :)… OK just kidding, keep reading. It will be good for you anyway.

So, if its not coming from savings, where does it come from? The answer is, all over. The way I squeeze in another project is to first talk to my husband. We sit and talk about what is important to us and what we might be willing to give up. We will also talk about areas that we might could do with a little less in. And then I work with our budget and I might take $20 out of my grocery budget, and $10 out of baby money, and $10 out of our gas money (a little iffy because of gas prices), and then maybe I will commit $10 from the money that I earn on the side each month. It may seem silly, but it is this negotiating process of fine tuning your budget that really can work miracles in allowing you to accomplish something that you really want.

What I am challenging you to do is not to just look at your budget and think that it is impossible to squeeze any more out of it. If there is something that is really important to you then look at your budget in terms of your priorities and try to take little amounts from all over so you don’t feel it as much. For that matter, your priorities will change from time to time. You may not always be doing as much driving and can reduce that amount, or you may decide that having a house cleaner is more important to you than coffee dates. In other words, you don’t stay the same from month to month or year to year. Your budget is a reflection of you and your dreams and priorities and it should change with you. There is always a way through if it is really important to you. You may not get to do everything, but there is usually a way to do what you really want. You might just have to decide what that is.