Good Things Happen When Consumption Isn’t an Option

My Clean Garage

An excellent birthday present.

I turned 34 yesterday.

Because we’re focused on building our buffer, I told Kate we weren’t going to budget anything for a birthday present. I’m not one that cares much about gifts, so it wasn’t going to feel like I missed out on much.

Around mid-morning, I got an Instagram notification on my phone:

“Happy birthday sweetie! Cleaned out the garage so you don’t have to. It’s the perfect gift when there’s no money budgeted for a gift. Love you!”

Aren’t you proud of my wife’s hard-core YNAB-ness? She didn’t say “when you don’t have any money.” She said “when there’s no money budgeted.” Big difference. Trust the budget, and make it your reality.

In sticking to the budget, Kate also verified one of the world’s oldest cliches: it really is the thought that counts.

Clutter and mess was all over the garage (including the boxed-up fake Christmas tree I hadn’t put back up on the shelves for, oh, three months). I knew I was going to have to clean it all up. I didn’t want to. Kate gave me a clean garage and two hours of my life back.

Is that better than the $50 or $100 (or $200) gift she might have bought me? Yes, and yes. It made my week. I can’t remember a birthday gift meaning more to me.

All because consumption was off the table…and because I have a thoughtful wife. :)

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About mark

Mark has been working online full-time since 2008, owning an educational website and two small software businesses. He joined YNAB (as Blogger/Staff Writer) after selling his businesses in late 2012. In addition to his love for budgeting and personal finance, Mark enjoys hanging out with his wife and two kids, snowboarding, CrossFit, bike commuting, and tinkering with side businesses.

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