Creating a Tegdub
Everyone has heard of the four-letter words we should avoid using. But not much is
said about the six-letter words that should roll off our tongues with ease. You know,
words like please, thanks and dare we say it, budget.
There is a myriad of different software packages and books written about how to
write and use a budget. But let's face it, this isn't rocket science. Why spend money on
something that is supposed to help you control your money. And that's a fact that we'd
like to state right up front. Most people have a negative reaction to the word budget,
because the term brings up a connotation of doing without. But, in reality, it is designed
to do just the opposite. It will help you to do the things that you want to do. Many
people are going through life working for their money. With a proper budget, your money
will work for you.
But for the few diehards who are still having difficulty with the word budget, we're
not going to use that word again. As a matter of fact, we're going to reverse the word in
our ongoing attempt to reverse the emotions generated by the word itself. Let's create a
Creating a tegdub can be an exciting, exhilarating experience. And it's not too hard
either. So it's time to get started. As with all jobs, we will need a few simple tools to
do this one. They are: a pencil or pen, calculator (for those who don't like to do math
the old fashioned way) and paper. If you would prefer, you can use the spreadsheet program
on your computer, but keep the pen and paper, they will come in handy later.
Now take the pen or pencil and draw a line down the center of your paper (or use 2
columns on your spreadsheet). Label the one column IN and the other column
OUT. Under the 'OUT' column, list all of your monthly expenses. Take your time.
Come back here and compare your list to ours when you are done.
Hopefully you have all of these on your list:
- car payment 1
- car payment 2
- car insurance
- cell phone
- internet access
- gas for car
- credit card 1
- credit card 2
- credit card 3
- and some things we may have missed
Now list what are known as the tegdub busters. These are the expenses that seem to
come up every month, but they seem so small and insignificant that we tend to overlook
them. As a congressman once famously stated, "a billion here, a billion there and pretty soon we're talking about real money." Well most likely in our case it's not a billion, but a dollar here and a dollar there and pretty soon our tegdub is out of whack. Once you've completed your list, come back and compare it to ours to make sure you didn't miss anything.
Here's our list:
- dry cleaning
- vet bills
- Christmas presents
- birthday presents
- anniversary presents
- hair care
- auto repairs
- medical bills
- home repairs/remodeling/redecorating
- and other things which may be unique to your situation
It's true that many of these expenses do not occur every month, but if we prepare
for them, it's not such a shock to our wallets when they appear. For instance, take
Christmas presents. We all know Christmas comes once a year. But suppose we decided to
spend $60.00 on gifts. We could spend the whole $60.00 in one month or tegdub $5.00 each
month for a year. The overall cost is the same, but the impact as a percentage of our
monthly budget is much less.
It's time to move on to the fun part. Next to each item, write the monthly amount.
when this is completed, total the column. You now have your total expenses for a month.
A scary figure, we're sure, but hopefully the next step will make it a little more
Under the 'IN' column, list all of your monthly income. This would include paychecks,
tips, investment income and anything else. When you have completed this, place a dollar
amount next to each item and total the column. If all went well (and it rarely does the
first time around), the value at the bottom of your 'IN' column is greater than the value
at the bottom of you 'OUT' column. If not, it's time to make adjustments. Most likely you
won't be increasing your in's, so you'll have to cut back on your out's. Some apsects of that are fixed of course like tithe (10% is always 10%), car payments (most lenders won't let you pick the price you pay each month), so it's best to look at some of the adjustable values. Perhaps, for the time being, entertainment will have to be a little less extravagant. Maybe you can go an extra month or two without the full blown treatment at the beauty salon and so forth. Only you know what you can live with.
We're almost finished, only a few steps to go. Take your pen and paper and carry
them with you wherever you go. As you think up more items to add to your budget, jot
them down until you have a chance to add them to the master tegdub. It's amazing the
things that will pop-up in every day life that we overlook.
OK, we've done the easy part. We've created the tegdub. Now we move on to the hard
part, live with it. It's going to be hard at first, but trust us, as time goes by you'll
see how nice it is to have a few extra dollars at the end of the month.