Spending Triage

J asleep in his snowsuit, which we affectionately nicknamed “The Coma Suit” for its ability  to get him to fall asleep. Probably about 19 months old.

There’s a lot to balance right now, and I let the money slide.

In February, Jason and I overhauled our budget to maximize the amount of money going toward our renovation each month. Suddenly, there are many unexpected expenses cropping up that are needs. These expenses will be ongoing for a couple of months at least. We can’t put the entire renovation on hold, nor can we put on hold the doctors appointments, birthdays, or weddings. And although not financially smart, I downright refuse to put our first weekend away from our kids on hold. That’s a need, right there.

With more sudden ongoing expenses, and me not taking the time to find room in our budget (i.e. spend less in other categories or save less) for the last month or two, we have a small problem.

It’s time to perform Spending Triage.

Spending Triage happens when I realize that we are on the threshold of spending a large amount of money that needs to be spent, but that we weren’t able (or didn’t think) to predict.

Spending Triage is the process of separating wants from needs. Jason and I sit down together and look for places we can cut back. The “gifts” category is one that immediately jumps to mind. If this year needs to be all homemade cards, ornaments, and baked goods instead of our usual calendars, prints, and other gifts, our families and friends aren’t going to love us even slightly less.

Personally, I’m grateful that we need to do this. Sure, having lots of extra money pour into our laps would be super easy and some stress would melt away. But life isn’t always going to be like this, and it’s good to know how to cut back and even save in tight times.

Spending Triage is the process of holding one expense up to another and deciding which is more important.

I’m grateful that we had the forethought to take out a Home Equity Line of Credit, so that we don’t need to put the renovation on hold. I’m grateful for awesome friends who don’t mind hanging out at our home for a potluck. And I’m grateful for all the times before now when we had to hitch up our suspenders and really pinch every penny, because those times make this feel like a walk in park.

It just so happens that this is about the time when we do a big yearly review, so hopefully we’ll be able to do that and a little triage in one fell swoop very soon.

I’m actually looking forward to it: Jason and I always have such great conversations when we are working together to fix a problem. Even though he hates money.

Hmmm…why DOES he hate money?


How do you know if your spending is going crazy? And do you consciously reign it back in?


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