Monday, October 20, 2014

Fuzzy Lines

*Sigh* Once again, Corey and I find ourselves in need of clear communication about Fun Dollars. This just goes to show you, even though you might have a plan, a budget or a "regular" with your finances and money, doesn't mean that the rules are always hard and fast. I think that our humanity makes us variable, and money tends to be more black and white than what our human condition allows for.

Corey and I have been using the Fun Dollars system for almost 2 1/2 years now, and apparently we are still finding out that it needs revisiting from time to time. As you might know, we are currently living in a vacation rental managed by our rental company. Our house needed some repair work done that required us to relocate temporarily. As a result, we have found ourselves living with the attitude that we are on a mini-vacation. We are not in our normal environment, yet we are required to continue with our daily activities as though we were right at home. Carrick doesn't stop going to school, I don't stop going to work, groceries still need to be purchased, dishes still need to be washed. It's vacation, yet it's not vacation....the lines are a little fuzzy...

To add to the mess and the confusion of changing our day-to-day routine, we have not been sticking to any sort of dietary restrictions. We have opted for more fast/convenient food for the sake of easing the burden of living in someone else's home that we will vacate in a short time. We didn't want to buy lots of things that would potentially make messes in the refrigerator, or gunk up the stove top, for instance. That meant more boxed/prepackaged food than what we are used to. We have ordered out pizza without paying for it with Fun Dollars because it's just been a part of our grocery irregularity. There have been many times in the past three weeks that we have done things that were not paid for with Fun Dollars that under normal circumstances we would have used them., like eating out, or drinking wine.

We decided a week ago that we needed to do something as a family.  We had heard about a pumpkin patch excursion on the Grand Canyon Rail Road on Father's Day. When we went to Williams for the BBQ Cook-off, they announced it during the train ride. So we bought tickets to ride to the pumpkin patch tickets last week. Corey said nothing about using our Fun Dollars to pay fort the tickets. I would have happily paid for my half with Fun Dollars, and I would have spent my money a little differently this week as a result.

Because the precedent was set that we didn't use Fun Dollars to buy our tickets, I never asked if this was a "Fun Dollars trip" or if this was like a mini-vacation for our family (using money from the family fund). I assumed that because of our past behavior of random spending in the vacation house, somehow the expenses after the tickets would not be part of Fun Dollars. Assuming is never a good idea. Clarity is much more preferable. That said, I can't tell you why I made this assumption and didn't clarify with Corey the financial expectations. I think I just wanted to claim ignorance, and hoped that would suffice.

Yesterday, we left for Williams, AZ right after church was over. We had a 3:00 p.m. departure from the depot. There was just enough time to stop in Flagstaff for a bite of lunch before traveling west. Corey ran in to Arby's and bought sandwiches for us. I didn't know it at the time, but he used his own Fun Dollars for this purchase. I think if I had known that, I would have thought differently about what was yet to come and set my ignorance aside.

Our train ride and time spent at the pumpkin patch was enjoyable. The kids got to run around, choosing the "perfect pumpkin". It was sunny as well as drizzly, an ideal October day. Carrick even entertained everyone by standing on a hay bale practicing his karate. Lily walked around waving and saying, "Hi" to every one. Upon our return to the depot, we spent some time decorating our pumpkins, then drove across the rail road tracks to a park. The kids were able to let off any pent up energy before the hour and fifteen minute ride back to Sedona.

While Corey watched the kids, I walked up the block to the Route 66 Diner (located on the old Rte. 66.) I was starting to feel hungry again, and I knew that a ride back to Sedona would be too long for me or the kids to wait for another meal. I ordered an appetizer of seasoned fries and chicken strips. I used the debit card, thinking that we were on family money, and not Fun Dollars for the trip. When I came back to the park with the food, Corey asked me how I paid for it. He questioned why I didn't just use my Fun Dollars. He pointed out how he paid for Arby's, which was news to me. I shrugged, and wrote it off as an "early dinner", a perfectly acceptable purchase with grocery money.

This morning, when I asked for change from an earlier meal we ate out this week, Corey was shocked. He still thought that I should have paid for the Rte. 66 snack with Fun Dollars. I was reciprocally shocked that he was still nagging me about this. Our morning could have gone a little smoother if we had just communicated better in the first place. I was unclear about what was covered with Fun Dollars (especially after all our random spending these past three weeks) and he was unclear about my lack of clarity! The lines that we drew for what our Fun Dollars should cover were fuzzy. They needed to be revisited.

I felt bad about not using my Fun Dollars in the first place, so I returned the change I was owed, and added a little to it to make up the difference. It was not what I had planned for my spending, however. This eats into what I would have used to add to my Fun Dollars New Years Giveaway. The good news is that is still a couple months away. I still have time to make up for it. Next pay cycle, I will just put in $20.00 Fun Dollars instead of $10.00 Fun Dollars.

The other good news is that we are set to move back into our regular house this week, so things will return to normal....or as close to normal as they come.

Snack at Williams Rte. 66 Diner- $13.00
Balance this pay cycle- $46.00
Happy Spending!

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