Friday, February 26, 2021

Some thoughts on the budget thing...

Apparently someone has a problem with basic math, a new font of interest, and on the passing of someone who rattled the cages...

All the current talk about minimum wages has me rethinking what would be the minimum budget to comfortably cruise in the right here and now.

Writing about budgets is always going to be problematic. For starters, everyone defines the word "comfortable" differently, and I'm pretty sure your idea of what you need to cruise in your comfort zone is a lot different than what I need in mine.

In our case, we hate marinas, don't like to eat out or do bars, and generally do not feel we need a lot of what we deem to be spurious systems aboard our boat. This has a huge affect on our ability to cruise on a smaller than average budget.

As far as spurious systems go, take air-conditioning as an example. I don't like living in a refrigerated environment so the whole idea of air-conditioning is somewhat repugnant to me in spite of living in the tropics for the last few decades. On the other hand, I know a lot of people who wilt when the temperature or humidity climbs a kiss and rush to the thermostat. Whatever your stance on controlling your indoor environment, the fact is that whatever it is will affect your budget in terms of outfitting and energy costs.

Another factor I've come to recognize is that some folks are good at setting and following budgets and some just don't seem to be able to. Recently aboard "So It Goes", our sewing machine quit working. Confronted with the choice of fixing it myself, paying someone else to fix it, or buying a new sewing machine had me looking at the budget wondering just what fixing the thing would cost. Since having someone else fix it or buying a new one would adversely affect the budget, I was left with the option of fixing it myself which, it turned out, was a fairly non-problematic affair and did not cost anything at all. As a bonus, I can now fix a sewing machine if the need arises. Of course, either other option would have cut in to the month's budget.

Being able to do the work needed to maintain or fix the various systems on the boat is a great way to keep on a budget so my first thought is to always fix it myself even if it requires learning new skills to do it. Which is not to say that there is anything wrong with not doing the work yourself but the fact remains that if you throw money at problems it will always affect the budget.

As it happens, our recent thrown rod experience with our generator which was beyond my ability to fix within a cost effective envelope meant we had to buy a new generator. We got a great deal on slightly more powerful, yet quieter model that is much more user serviceable than the Ryobi.

So yeah, budgets really have to be dealt with on an individual basis and what works for you. Keep in mind that what you spend is 99% under your control and you have the ability to spend less if you need to.

Listening to some Willie Nelson coverage

So it goes