After reading Sam’s most recent blog on Recession Proof Living(<—–click here to see it), I have a feeling we've unknowingly broken our own rule. One of the pitfalls many people who are trying to live on a budget fall into is depending on bonus money as guaranteed income.
Over the past 6 years or so, we’ve been fortunate enough for Sam to earn a sizable bonus every year, however we have never counted on that money in order to live, nor have we ever worked it into our annual budget. When we received it, it was treated as a genuine bonus – a windfall if you will. Completely unexpected, completely unaccounted for, and completely wonderful. After paying our taxes and tithing it, we often saved at least half and then spent the other half on a nice vacation, new furniture, car repairs, siding for our house, a riding lawnmower, or something equally frivolous.
This year, we’ve been planning to finish our basement. And instead of using our home equity line of credit (which we absolutely refuse to touch) we’d planned on using whatever bonus money Sam received this year. Unfortunately, Sam was informed yesterday that this year’s comp plan did not include an 80% tier for bonus. WHAT??? When did that happen???? He’s always had an 80% tier as the bottom, however it seems this year it was set up as an “all or nothing” plan.
Now, while we never figured any bonus money into our regular monthly budget for our usual expenses, we had already spent that money in our minds. Shame on us! Talk about hypocrites. I guess it just shows how human we really are – and that even the people who wrote IOU NO MORE can fall off the wagon sometimes! Thankfully we haven’t committed to the basement project on paper yet, which means we’ve just got to push it back 6 months or so until we’ve got all the CASH saved up. Talk about bringin’ ya back down to Earth though…that was a rocket ship plunge. Guess it just proves how easy it is to slip back into old habits – even when those habits have been works in progress for nearly a decade.