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3 Sep 2015

Inside the Mecham Family Budget Meeting

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by Lindsey Burgess

From Podcast #186: Mechams Unplugged, the one in which Jesse had the idea to record his budget meeting with Julie, and then kind of freaked out about it, but went through with it anyway.


This is moderately freaking me out, even though it was my idea.

So, here’s what we are going to do here—Julie and I are going to record our budget meeting. It is unedited, unless I felt like we were divulging too much, so I might have edited specific amounts, but I did not edit the conversation.

Like I said, it was my idea, but now that we are doing it, it is a little bit scary, totally putting myself out there, and my wife—who doesn’t listen to the podcast, thankfully—but did know this was being recorded. I didn’t break any laws. I was about to say something about the NSA, but I won’t. Right? So, yes, not breaking any laws. I had full consent from my spouse about recording our budget meeting.

I want/don’t want to do this to help illustrate that the budget meeting should not be a big hurdle. It isn’t a lot of work. In fact, it’s kind of boring. It’s just a check point—an opportunity to review priorities, communicate well, and continue to move toward your goals—together. Budget meetings greatly reduce (eliminate?) time and energy spent fighting about money. And I think we can all agree that is a good thing.

So, without further ado, here it is, the Mecham Family Budget Meeting:

Jesse: So, I added it all up to date, as of July 1, and I populated everything that was easy… So, we’ve got the normal in Groceries, Restaurants, Utilities… You see how much we have in Fixed Bills? You know property tax is coming due in November?

Julie: Oh, that’s a thing.

Jesse: Yes, but it’s, like, $2,000 higher than property taxes.

Julie: What do the notes say?

Jesse: That doesn’t say anything. But this here, this is all the stuff that we have come out of there. And I’ve calculated that, like, ten times and it always ends up giving us a really high number. Like, I re-put $552 in every time, and then… Anyway. So we’ll probably adjust it at some point. Doctor’s getting the normal — I think that’s good.

Julie: So by February we’ll be $7,500.

Jesse: Yes, unless things change.

Julie: And that’s enough to get us to $7,500?

Jesse: No. I’m kind of banking on things changing — like getting better insurance.

Julie: Okay.

Jesse: We’ll know in a couple of months. We should change things. Gifts — put that in. Clothing… So this is stuff I wanted you to fill in because I didn’t have any idea.

Julie: How much money do we have?

Jesse: We want to leave that at, like, $3,500, so we have, like, two grand left. Treat it normal for Miscellaneous?

Julie: Yeah.

Jesse: What about Clothing? Now, bear in mind your Fun Money is going to have… we’re going to bolster the clothing fund with your laundering.

Julie: But we can just probably leave that?

Jesse: Okay. Babysitting — we still have $390 in there.

Julie: That’s good.

Jesse: You good on that one, then?

Julie: Yes.

Jesse: Do you want to deplete it and then start worrying about filling it in? Christmas — normal. Emergency Fund — full. Investing — I stopped doing that investing thing. So then House Interior…

Julie: What is that money for? The Interior one?

Jesse: Repairs, decoration, furniture…

Julie: Because I think it would be fun to redo the yellow room?

Jesse: By “redo” you mean “do”?

Julie: Well, it has been painted and there’s art on the wall, so…

Jesse: That’s true.

Julie: …that was… that’s pretty done, considering. But yes, like repaint, put the new bedside table in there, put the crib back in there, have the crib painted. Maybe.

Jesse: Okay. Do you want to add more to it or we go with what’s in there?

Julie: And I was thinking that IKEA shelf could go up there and…

Jesse: I remember talking about that.

Julie: But I was going to see if… I guess ask Kelsey to help do that.

Jesse: Okay. So, I think we’ve got enough, based on what we have in there, for sure.

Julie: For just that, yes.

Jesse: To do that. And we’ve got… we’re trying to dig out of that hole that’s the Exterior… you know, from the lawn-care stuff that we stopped. So I wanted to add money into that. What about dates and family stuff? Should we do a little less than normal?

Julie: Oh hey, so if you go to a movie on Tuesday, at Thanksgiving Point, it’s five dollars. You can still reserve your seat. Like, all full-price movies are five dollars, and I think we need to do that next Tuesday.

Jesse: With the family? Or just you and I?

Julie: The whole family. Inside Out.

Jesse: Oh, Inside Out. Okay, that’d be fun.

Julie: Lindsey can’t come tonight.

Jesse: Oh. Bummer. Um… So, Vacation, we would just… What the heck’s that 30 bucks coming out of there for? Oh… Okay. So that is now even Steven. Shall we start adding some in there?

Julie: Yes.

Jesse: Some reasonable amount.

Julie: Most definitely, we should.

Jesse: Like that?

Julie: Mmhmm.

Jesse: Okay. So, Gas and Oil — same as it always is. Man, we really spent a lot on gas this month. Sheesh. Maybe it just was timing.

Julie: Is it because… yes, because of the trek? It’s because of trek?

Jesse: Yes, because we didn’t put that in Vacation. We should have. Repairs we’re leaving, because it’s all Car Replacement, got the normal $360. So that’s pretty good. I’d maybe like to leave that if we can for the buffer. Do you have any pressing need? I mean, so it’s like we’re finally getting some traction.

Julie: Well, that’s just funny because you say $3,500 and then you go, “Oh, that looks good.”

Jesse: Yes, but then I asked you what you wanted and you seemed pretty content.

Julie: Well, we’re over in Restaurants…

Jesse: What?

Julie: And it’s not the end of the month, so…

Jesse: Oh.

Julie: That would definitely need some more.

Jesse: Like that?

Julie: Yes.

Jesse: Okay. But don’t you think $4,500 just is a nice, round number.

Julie: I’ll just look.

Jesse: Then you could put the extra $28 in there, in Vacation.

Julie: But what about… you were going to take some money from our category.

Jesse: Well, no. I’m… I’m giving it back to the budget because you…

Julie: So are you going to do that now?

Jesse: No, I don’t want to do it right now.

Julie: Oh, okay. I was just going to… I was just worried how much we were going to have in Clothing, that’s all.

Jesse: Kind of like $300. Is that a good enough amount?

Julie: Yes.

Jesse: What about school clothing coming up?

Julie: We’re budgeting for July, right?

Jesse: Yes, but for school. When does school start?

Julie: Yes, that’s true.

Jesse: This ice cream is good.

Julie: Yes. I mean, we can… It will be hard, because they also need church shoes.

Jesse: Okay. So you think, like, $400?

Julie: Well, building for next month. I don’t think I’ll go this month.

Jesse: So I’ll put $100 in and then we’ll do that analysis on the Fun Money category.

Julie: Okay.

Jesse: That’s it.

Julie: You didn’t do it on video, right?

Jesse: No. No, I just did audio. Anything else you want to tell YNABers across the world anything? Share a message of hope, inspiration, perseverance? No? Okay. What about the kids’ allowances? Oh yes, you already got cash out for that. This is the amount that has me slightly concerned with the downturn, so… We’ll play that by ear. And if it doesn’t work out the way we want, then we’ll tap the emergency fund. And we’ll have a little bit of time, anyway, to adjust. Okay. That’s it.

Julie: Yes.

And there you have it. I don’t know if that put you to sleep or you found it mildly entertaining….


Until next time, follow YNAB’s four rules and you will win financially. You’ve never budgeted like this. For more about how to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck, get out of debt and save more money, faster—subscribe to the You Need A Budget podcast today! But until next time, follow YNAB’s four rules and you will win financially. You’ve never budgeted like this.

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