Mafia Olive Oil and Your Dreams Remaining Possible

February 14, 2017

I came across this post in my unpublished drafts and, while it’s months old, thought you might enjoy the reminder of why budgets-done-right work with unexpected spending requirements and sometimes bad judgment. And if that doesn’t interest you tonight at least you’ll be interested to hear what I share about olive oil. Your life and olive oil purchasing habits will never be the same.

One payday a bit ago I was extra ready for payday and a new batch of money to spread around to the clamoring categories. A couple things happened in that spending cycle that combined to make me anticipate the happy P-day:

1. Because I’m putting gobs of dollars extra each month toward the ‘ole VISA bill I don’t give myself a very long leash and the previous paycheck came early due to a holiday. Therefore the dollars needed to stretch a few days further. Or farther. Basically, my money needed to go more days.

2. This was also a couple weeks with more life happenings – happy things and sad things – that really warranted celebrating or sharing sympathy. Gift-giving is one of my love languages and I can’t not give gifts. I have scaled back in scope for the next year but it’s important to me to have a Giving category in my budget; it’s part of what makes life meaningful and if giving gifts delays my debt payoff date by a month or two it’s worth it to me.

3. Also (and this one might SEEM silly but hear me out since it represents much of what goes in life with unexpected purchases or happenings), I’ve been out of olive oil for a month and haven’t been able to buy it in stores after my sister told me about the mafia’s basic takeover of the olive oil industry. It’s a real thing – Google it! So I was waiting for a window of time to buy it locally at Farmer’s Market and that window of time to buy the $16 bottle of authentic, pure olive oil worked out at the end of an already tight budget period. We’re pretending like the picture above is not of just a car driving through gorgeous countryside but that the trees are olive trees. Thank you for your cooperation.

Now to the benefits of budgeting which I know you are trying to care deeply about.

Essentially, I went into “the red” on multiple categories this pay period. But the cool part is that my bottom line (aka checking account balance/the dollars that the bank cares about) was still okay. In fact, the bottom line had no clue I was being so reckless, buying things like expensive – but supposedly authentic – olive oil. YNAB and tools like it make it easy to shift money around and teach you to cover your overages from other categories thus leaving your checking account balance A-OK. So, thanks to my olive oil purchase and a few other over-spendings I was in the hole on a few categories which I covered by taking some bucks out of my Entertainment category, some more more out of my Fuel category, etc, until the red was all gone.

After one of these pay periods I’m always:

1. As committed as ever to paying off the stinkin’ debt and

2. Glad for another chance to live within my category balances without the stock-market-ish, feverish transferring of funds from categories.

Some of you might read this and think “Ah HA! This is exactly why I don’t budget! I don’t want to have to watch my dollars like that.” Or you might think….oh I don’t know. I’m not in your head so it’s pretty hard to say. To refute the first possibility I will merely ask how comfortable you are with not knowing what’s going on within your money accounts (checking, cash, etc). Picture a room full of rambunctious toddlers in a room with nice dishes. Those dishes represent your long-term life dreams and the toddlers are your dollars floating around in your money accounts. Do you seriously want them in there playing unsupervised with the beautiful, fragile dishes? No way, unless the kids are like my oldest nephew was at that age. You want to have some supervision in there (YOU ON A BUDGET) to make sure the dishes (DREAMS) stay intact (POSSIBLE). Isn’t it worth a little supervision of your spending on your dollars (per your own rules, by the way) to know that you can dream and make those dreams come true? If you disagree, please fax me and let me know why:)

Want more pieces like this one? Explore everything written pre-Substack here, and to get the latest in your inbox, join hundreds of others receiving the More to Your Life  

It's a newsletter for dreamers about work, money, and living a life of purpose, connection, and adventure.

No spam around here, just emails you hopefully thoroughly enjoy. Unsubscribe at any time.