The New Word is Allocate!
Your New Vocabulary Word
Change your Vocabulary first
As I have been compiling the 62 Mother’s Day gift ideas, I began thinking about gift giving expenses. Then I began thinking like a mom working out the dreaded bud-get.
Notice that I hyphenated that word, bud-get. The reason is because I dislike that word so much, that I have simply told it Bud, get. Meaning budget, get out of here. That is why my new word is ALLOCATE!
Just like the word diet has the word die in it, Bud-get, has the same meaning to most of us. It is a dirty word when trying to manage your finances, and let’s face it, budgets don’t work. Allocation and Re-Allocation Does!
So tell Bud to get out and begin Re-Allocating your Income!
Now my word allocate has an intentional feel to it, doesn’t it? Allocate, an “I am in control” type word, without the feeling of any dread or sacrifice coming. I have allocated a portion of our income to gift giving and you should learn this lesson too.
As our family grew bigger and bigger, and the older we got, the more limited our income became. Saving for retirement, emergency funds, etc… Each year, we would cash out a week worth of vacation, just to spend on Christmas for the kids when they were much younger.
That is when I decided that I had to begin being more intentional about our gift giving. I was tired of having to save a week’s worth of vacation just to spend on Christmas gifts that will be long forgotten in just a few weeks.
That is when I decided that something had to change, and what had to change was the way that we looked at money. Changing our perception of money meant that we needed a new vocabulary that went with our changing perception.
That is where the word re-allocate came from. Instead of just throwing money at gifts for the different people in our lives, we began allocating our income in a strategic allocated way.
How we changed our perception:
I am not going to sit here and try to tell you that it was the easiest thing that we ever done, but it has been the most rewarding. Let me show you how we shifted our perception.
The step was the hardest for me. I would hyperventilate every Sunday morning, thinking about the bud-get. Who was going to get paid this week, how were we going to make it to payday, etc…? This would send me into a panic every week. I was hard-headed to say the least and this was a traumatic event for me each week.
My husband would sit me down, and we would begin to go through each expense that we had coming up for the week, and would methodically work through each one. Robbing Peter to pay Paul and vice versa so to speak.
Little did either of us know that this exercise, was actually preparing us to begin our allocation process. We also believe this is where most people get stuck too. Humans are creatures of habit. Even our spending can become habitual instead of intentional as well. When we become habitual we have lost control.
It is true that the hardest step of any journey is the first step. And being human, we are most resistant to change, especially when change is most needed. And that is what our financial situation needed was CHANGE!!!
I had always used coupons when and where I could, but in the early 90’s, I ramped up my couponing (I was a domestic goddess, so I had the time.) I became known throughout our little town as the Coupon Queen before couponing became fashionable.
I would go out and purchase 25 newspapers each Sunday, just for the coupons. The money for the newspapers came out of my food money, $37.50 which would net me about 300-400 dollars’ worth of food for the week, only costing me a total of $41.00 a week to feed a family of 7 people! That was $37.50 for the newspapers and about $3.50 for my grocery bill.
While this was a significant Profit to us, we still never seemed to have enough money for the incidentals that would surely crop up. The savings that we gained from me being the Coupon Queen would be gobbled up by something else and we never seemed to get ahead.
It wasn’t until we got intentional and began allocating that savings, that our finances came under control.
Your New Word for Saving is Now Spend Management
Step One of the Allocation Process of Change
Each week when I went shopping, the savings that I racked up for the week through my couponing I would set that money aside, in another account called; Money for Christmas.
While I was a stay at home mom, I had 10-12 hours to spend each week clipping and shopping, but we were noticing that our children raising their families, working two jobs, didn’t have that luxury. At best, they would run to the store each week, grab the few things that they could afford, and struggle to pay the rest of the week’s bills. And this is probably where most people are at with this time crunch as well.
Now, our “Christmas Fund” grew exponentially, however we didn’t have a plan other than that. What we discovered was that as our Christmas Fund grew, we were still struggling.
Why, because we didn’t understand the concept of allocating our income. This is where we had to become intentional about our money, and the concept of allocation began to develop.
Sometimes You Just Need a Name Change
We began by changing the name of our “Christmas fund” to calling it our “reallocation account”. Meaning that money that was previously allocated to our food money now has become available for reallocation.
Since the money was now available to be reallocated, now we needed to determine its purpose. How was the “fund” to be reallocated?
Remember, it’s still a Peter and Paul mentality at this point. However, this time it’s not who wasn’t going to be paid, it was a re-tooling of our mindset about the reason we were saving money.
Knowing the purpose of something is the main key to your success or failure throughout life.
We have all heard the saying that a failure to plan is a plan for failure, right? Now we are saying without understanding the purpose for saving our money became the reason for our continued struggled in having money for gifts throughout the year. When we tagged our saving, “Christmas Fund” that actually put a wall up between us and our money, and created more financial stress. However, when we changed the name to the “reallocation fund”, it was as if we took back the control that money had over us and our mindset about it.
We were now free to reallocate that money as we needed, not just once a year.
Since it was our “Christmas Fund” originally, we called it our Gift Giving Account. See, just changing the name, opened up possibilities in our mind. And as a professor once taught me, once you understand the purpose of something, is when you will know what to do with it.
Now, as a Discount/Coupon Queen at heart, I then wanted to discover how to increase my Gift Giving Account even more. We had the basics of getting a discount, however many times I was tripping over dollars just to save a few pennies. This led us to the second step in our new allocation process.
Typical Family Gift Giving Chart
The Second Step – Analyzing our Gift Giving
Since the new name of our account was called the “Gift Giving Account”, it now had a purpose. To pay for all the gifts that we give throughout the year, no longer just for Christmas. Once we changed the name this opened us up to be more intentional with our gift giving instead of just buy what we could now afford. We began prioritizing our gift giving.
We sat down and wrote a list of everyone on our “normal” Christmas gift giving list, and then we began thinking about all the birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, co-worker and office events… the list went on and on. We soon realized that we were going to have to prioritize our gift list.
So how do we decide who is a priority and who isn’t?
This is where the discount queen part of my brain kicked into over drive. I was now on a mission to reallocate the most money I could from the Gift Giving Account, to include everyone one that I had listed. This called for some creative bookkeeping and not the Peter vs Paul kind either. I wanted to find a way to include everyone and still save money.
Monthly Gift of Gourmet Food items that keep on giving
That’s when I discovered the benefits of Year round gifts!
While I learned these lessons before the internet got into full swing, the basics haven’t changed. In fact, with the internet I have been able to cut my research/clipping time down from 10-12 per week, down to about 3-5 hours a week, and my giving list has grown exponentially along our reallocated, renamed, Gift Giving Account.
Table above shows a total of 71 gifts that we purchased each year. Multiple that my approximately $50.00 per gift and what do you come up with? $3,550.00 per year just in gifts not to mention any shipping costs, that’s what you come up with!
On average each person on our gift list received 6-7 gifts from us each year. That is a total expenditure of $350.00 per person on our list. That is when I began looking for alternative gift giving ideas. I didn’t want to do the homemade thing anymore, and neither did I want to just get junk or trinket items that our folks really didn’t need more of.
That is what led me to discover the world of gifts that keep on giving Year Round, and how they allowed me to reallocate our reallocated, renamed Gift giving account into something else. (That’s a topic for another time.)
But what I do want to share with you is that I cut my gift giving expense in half simply by finding gifts that keep on giving for the adults on our list. We actually were able to give more than we ever had with less money, and still had money left over each year.
Now we were finally in control of our finances and being able to breathe throughout the year knowing that gifts are done, and our Gift Giving Account has been partially reallocated for another purpose.
We are no longer tripping over dollars; we are picking them puppies up as reallocated funds!
© 2015 Cammy Walters