Bare Bones Budget: budgeting time, money, and more when under stress

We are gainfully self-employed now, but when my husband and I both lost our full time jobs back in the 1990‘s we were rather stressed.  So we revamped the way we looked at our work/business/home life.  One of the things we did was come up with what we call our Bare Bones Budget.  This isn’t just about budgeting money, but also budgeting/balancing time and the enjoyment of life.  So for those who are looking for a different approach when under stress (besides doom and panic), here’s what helped us – and we continue to follow today.

The Bare Bones Budget Mantra

Everyday do something for:

1. The business

2. The house

3. Yourself

4. Your spouse (or others)

1. The business:  this could include working or looking for work, polishing your resume, volunteering for an organization where you can learn skills and mingle with those who might know of jobs in your area of interest.  This also might be where you think of ways to get and give goods or services you need for free, such as the buy nothing network, craigslist, or starting a free stuff swap.

Also included under this section might be re-arranging expenses, such as cutting cable TV and the gym (temporarily?) and replacing them with biking to errands, and going to the library to check out books and DVD’s for entertainment.  ‘Business’ can include making money as well as saving money, and educating yourself by learning a new skill.

2. The house:  If you’re in a house or apartment this would include clearing out a little clutter each day, or vacuuming, or doing something to maintain and upkeep your home.  If you’re not sure where to start, check here. If you are living with family or friends, this means helping with cleaning, cooking, or in some way to support the home environment.  Even if you are car camping, this means maintaining your environment by cleaning your area and making sure your belongings are clean and organized so you can get to them easily.  It also means – in whatever place you call home – that you find something to appreciate about it each day.  To help provide fresh food, consider starting an edible garden.  Check out your local nursery for herb starts that can grow in window pots, or check out or for edible landscaping plants for urban as well as rural use.  You can ask on your local buy nothing network or for free starts from those looking to re-home their excess plants.  If you need help getting started, check out your local extension office.

3.  Yourself:  This is the area that those under stress forget about, but it’s very important.  Every day do something you love, something that makes you smile.  If it makes you happy and it is important to YOU you should indulge.  Take a walk, read a book, pick herbs from your garden and make tea.  Take that too-small and sad cashmere sweater and make mittens for yourself. Snuggle with a puppy, take a bubble bath, eat a bonbon.  Do something creative, or something that makes you feel pampered.  Treat yourself.

4.  Your Spouse:  Do something nice for someone else.  If you are married or in a relationship, do something kind for your special someone – rub their shoulders, do a chore they hate, make their favorite snack and deliver it to them with a smile.  If you aren’t married, do something kind for a friend, family member, co-worker, neighbor, or anyone who could use some cheering up.   Say a kind word to that overtaxed store checker, or hold the door open for the young mom with a fussy baby.  Your kindness will make the world a better place.

I hope this mantra helps you the way it has helped us.  Budgeting our lives, our money, our time, our emotional and social resources and more, are all a part of living a healthy and happy life.

Article/advice by Barb Hughes

2 responses to “Bare Bones Budget: budgeting time, money, and more when under stress

  1. Great advise! Especially #3 & #4!
    Wishing you a Happy & Healthy New Year!

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