Tomorrow being the first day of March let’s engage in some March Madness. I belong to a social media group with the mission of organizing our lives. Organizing also means decluttering. Simplifying. Divesting oneself of unnecessary baggage in oh so many ways. After all this work, we don’t want to purge and then replenish our stash of stuff with new stuff. That thought brings to mind the need for a budget.
My challenge to my online group is to create a budget during the month of March. I decided to offer up the same challenge to my readers. However, I’m challenging everyone to include a line item named Mad Money and personalize what that means to you.
You have a budget, you say? Well, I have a few things I want to say about budgeting and Mad Money, but you already knew that.
About 30 years ago when I devised the first real family budget, I made it so restrictive, there was no room for fun, frivolity, serendipity. The budget came out of arguments over, yes, you guessed it, money. Like most couples Martin and I had our money vices. I was perplexed when he opened his palm one day to proudly display a pair of red anodized nuts or bolts or some hardware to shave a gram off the weight of his bicycle. They cost $6 each! Remember, we’re talking circa 1990 here. As I expressed my ire, he served me a comeuppance reminding me about my exploits at the garden center.
After setting the budget, it didn’t take long to figure out it needed to be a tad bit fluid so a Miscellaneous line item was added. And, the line item that probably saved our marriage and continued our hobbies among other things — Blow Money. Blow Money was simply my term for my and Martin’s personal allowances. It could just as easily be called allowance money, enjoyment money, don’t want to be on my deathbed with regrets money, hobby money, impulse money or anything else I decided to call it. Today I call it Mad Money removing any connotation that it has anything to do with cocaine!
Aside from the fact that our personal allowances meant we could go mad, as in crazy mad, buying anything within its limits, having a set amount to spend on plants or whatever each month taught me something. This was money with no holds barred. No questions from the other. No judgment. However, having it somehow changed the dynamic.
For example, I’ve been invited to my share of kitchen parties, home decor parties, candle parties and whatever else parties someone could come up with to sell products. The guys reading this were most likely spared from this part of the capitalist agenda. Having Mad Money didn’t make me go crazy about what I bought. It did exactly the opposite. It made me more thoughtful, more mindful, more judicious about the choices I made. Having a finite amount of money to spend made me think twice about that kitchen gadget, vase or scented candle. It even made me think about that pretty plant I saw at the garden center. Impulse purchases all but disappeared. If an item didn’t shout out to me in a great big bellowing voice, I walked away from it.
As a result, I have my share of stuff, but you’ll find I still have plenty of empty space on my walls, tables, desks, floors and the garden, as well. It’s what I call negative space, which calls attention to the things I love, much of which has been a part of my home landscape for decades. It also makes my yearly declutter, organizing venture very manageable. And, the more things you have, the more complicated your life. All that extraneous stuff needs cleaning or repair or servicing as well as space. It takes your time, your energy, your spirit.
Going a little mad this March as in Mad Money may help you organize, declutter, simplify, pare down, with spirit lifted and energy to spare. Let me know if you take up the challenge or already have a budget including Mad Money in your life and what you do with it.