This month, my goal is to designate my spending amounts on the first of the month, and leave my savings categories untouched. No shifting money to cover other deficits
Growing up, it was just my sister and me at home. We had a middle-class upbringing that didn’t focus much on finances. If we needed something, we bought it. We had no concept of limitations.
Well, we sure aren’t in Kansas anymore, Toto.
My family of eight has lived in Israel for seven years now, since my oldest, now fifteen, was eight. Baruch Hashem, we can make ends meet; my husband is an administrative assistant for a US-based company, and the generous National Insurance payments for my two special-needs kids cover the shortfall.
There ought to be enough money — on paper there is — but I find myself juggling to finish the month. I want to have more breathing room and more money put away in savings. I know it’s there somewhere — but where?
Dare role model
My rebbetzin is an amazing lady; she accomplishes so much. I really admire her discipline. She has her Shabbos totally together on Thursday.
I thrive on organization, and I budget every month through the YNAB (You Need A Budget) app. But I cheat every month, too, and shuffle money from category to category as needed. Pesach is an annual strain, so as a frugal budgeter, of course I have a Pesach category all year — but most months we just end up withdrawing that money to use for some more immediate need.
This month, my goal is to designate my spending amounts on the first of the month, and leave my savings categories untouched. No shifting money to cover other deficits.
I anticipate I’ll have to say “no” more often to my kids — and myself — and we’ll have to tighten our belts somewhere. I get my gentle-but-firm tone ready, and I do my best to project reasonable estimates for each expense category.
I know groceries are likely to be my biggest pitfall; they always are. I have a thing for healthy eating and organic produce, which is pricey, so I mentally prepare myself to make some compromises.
What I don’t do is meticulous list-making, menu planning, or comparison shopping. I have a pretty good handle on what my family needs, and I only shop at a low-cost supermarket, making sure to do my shopping there when I’m in the area. I get cheaper produce and dry goods at a local community “mechirah,” a food sale prominent in chareidi areas in Israel.
I only use the local makolet when I need an item right now, but their prices are not overly inflated so that’s okay.
My expense tracking might be high-tech, but I’m going to be accomplishing this the old-fashioned way — through simple grit and determination.
(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 654)