Monday, January 5, 2009

If I were king

If I were king, this whole recession thing would be a lot more fun. Personally, that is.

I figured that out just after I learned today that my COBRA premiums are going up another $17.64 a month. I can probably figure out some way to tweak our household budget to accomodate the change. But I've also been following Paul Krugman and other economists who've been writing about the unknown billions in red ink they think the government needs to spend to get the economy moving again.

That's when I decided it would be more fun to be a king - the government - and spend my way out of the hole than it is being a mere consumer and skimping my way out. Fat chance.

So, reality. Household budget tweaking hasn't fundamentally changed in the years we've been doing it. The trick remains find some way to spend less than you bring in. A blogger on I Paid for This Twice Already vows to whack food and clothing costs using coupons, thrift store shopping and other choices.

There also are more worksheets and other resources online these days. One that I found from a provider in Utah covers so many questions, it makes me think of a Magic 8-Ball I had when I was a kid. Another is an online version of the old fashioned envelope budgeting system some of our parents used.

Meantime, the Freakonomic guys are suggesting that a lot of this may be a waste of time. As soon as the economy looks shinier again, it will be tempting to abandon the discipline we are forced to practice now.

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