Tuesday, January 25, 2011

No Soup For You!

This week, in an effort help lessen the $550 million State budget problem, the State of Kansas's House Budget Writing committee approved a proposal cutting every state employee's salary by 7.5%. That takes someone making $45,000 (my estimated average KS employee salary) down to $41,625, a difference of $3375 or $281.75 less per month.

Where would the average family carve out $300ish from their monthly expenses? Where would you carve out $300 from your monthly expenses?

A drop like that should hypothetically start the thinking process of separating necessary expenses from those that are even a tiny bit superfluous. For those of us who aren't State of Kansas employees, it might be a great idea to self-impose a reality check & examine our attitudes about spending, budgeting, and entitlement.

If you're not currently following a budget, I'd recommend starting.

If you don't know where you're spending your money, start tracking.

(If you're thinking, "But I'm so bad with money! You don't understand!" here's my suggestion- for one month, take a sheet of paper, Word doc, or Excel spreadsheet & list how much you spend & where, no cheating. If you know how to write or type, you can do this. Then do it for a second month. Don't feel overwhelmed, it's the first step in getting a handle on spending. Throughout the process, you'll start to think about money a bit more. At that point, get some budget pointers from a friend, family member, or coworker who is staying afloat financially.)

The budget aspect is really only a portion of the situation. Entitlement also rears it's ugly head. How many purchases a month do we have just because we really, really wanted something or we thought we deserved it? What was purchased that doesn't help a real need? While there's nothing wrong with the occasional superfluity, we've turned many of them into perceived needs.

So it might be a good idea to get a handle on budgeting & stop the train of entitlement before someone decides that for you.

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