One of my friends, who shall remain nameless in this post, gave me this wonderful financial advice years ago:
We take all the bills each payday, toss them down the staircase, and whatever lands right-side-up, we pay. Everything else has to wait.
I think she was joking. Maybe. But it does feel like a good option some days, doesn’t it? If your family budget is like ours, it occasionally runs out of money before month. I know Dave Ramsey would be disappointed in my lack of financial planning when that happens. But seriously, life doesn’t always follow the flow-chart.
I know if we had adopted the plan and set aside six-months of living expenses years ago, then six-weeks of no-income-after-surgery this year would not have led to the Staircase Method of Budgeting. But, alas.
This week, we were shopping for a desk for my husband’s new office. He has been waiting thirteen years for an actual office in his medical practice. He deserves a desk. We not only found one we liked, but the sales person turned out to be the grown-up child of friends we haven’t seen in ages. Hugs ensued.
Since the office budget is in worse shape than the family budget, we didn’t actually buy that day. Instead we walked away saying to each other, “We should probably shop around to see if we can save a few dollars.”
At supper I suddenly said, “No way. I’m not shopping around. You love that desk, and we love that girl. I want to buy from her and give her the commission. Maybe we could save a few dollars down the road, but people are more important than money.”
My husband grinned at me and said, “That philosophy is probably one of our financial problems.”
He is right. I could suddenly see that pattern through our whole lives. Sometimes those decisions were foolish, like putting Christmas on a credit card. And sometimes they were compassionate, like writing off the bad debt of a struggling family with sick children. I waited for him to explain to me how we needed to change our attitude. Instead, he said. “Go buy the desk.”
It may not be the smartest decision according to the spreadsheet. But it is the best decision concerning relationships. And those we take to Heaven.
So that is my financial advice, Dear Reader: Whenever possible, people before money. (And stay away from the staircase.)