Household Finance

Budget Time

Matt and Bec have a different approach to money; Bec is cautious, Matt believes you can photocopy more if you run out. He calls it “quantitative easing” and says it “works for Obama”.

Matt and Bec talk household budgets:

Bec: OK, so we’ve bought a house. We need to make a budget to ensure someone doesn’t come and take the house away.

Matt: I went to Budget Rent a Car once, they didn’t have any Audis available, so I vowed never to go there again.

Bec: Wonderful. But seriously. We need to be more thrifty.

Matt: Is that another car rental joke?

Bec: What do you mean?

Matt: Have you ever rented a car before?

Bec: No.

Matt: OK, don’t worry. What are we putting in the budget?

Bec: Everything.

Matt: Even alcohol?

Bec: Yes.

Matt: OK, so $250 for alcohol?

Bec: A month? That seems on the high side, but I’ll be reasonable. OK.

Matt: I meant $250 a week.

Bec: Ernest Hemingway didn’t spend $250 on alcohol a week.

Matt: Ernest Hemingway spent $250 a day on alcohol, and that was in 1952, when beers only cost $1.

Bec: What about groceries?

Matt: $450 a week.

Bec: I’m not sure you understand what I mean by ‘budget’. A ‘budget’ is designed to help us save money.

Matt: Yes, I was going to suggest $500 a week, so I took $50 off. That’s a saving of more than 10%.

Bec: That doesn’t add up. Anyway, let’s just start budgeting in a week, OK?

Matt: OK

Six days before budget comes into effect

Matt's new mower

Five days before budget comes into effect: The Chainsaw

Matt: I bought a chainsaw.

Bec: Why did you buy a chainsaw?

Matt: For chopping firewood.

Bec: It’s Spring.

Matt: I bought the second most expensive brand – you should be proud of me.

Four days before budget comes into effect: Buying alcohol in Dan Murphy’s for Bec’s 30th Birthday party

Bec: Shouldn’t we go to BWS or one of those supermarket bottle shops, they give you 10% off if you buy more than six bottles of wine, and we’ll probably need six bottles of wine for the party.

Matt: Do you mean six bottles of wine each? I just don’t think that will be enough, we’ve got friends on Friday night, your family Saturday night, and then we’re taking Monday off work. Six bottles of wine each isn’t going to cover it.

Bec: I meant six bottles of wine all up, including guests.

Matt: I’m getting a trolley.

Dan Murphy’s Man: Can I help you?

Matt: Yes, we’re having a party.

Dan Murphy’s Man: Excellent.

Matt: What have you got from Tuscany? Specifically, Chianti.

Dan Murphy’s Man: This new Chianti Classico is lovely, and there’s a Reserva as too. They’re both drinking well now.

Matt: Great, we’ll have a case of each. Now, something French, I’m thinking Burgundy.

Bec: What are you doing?

Matt: I thought it might be nice to buy wines from regions we visited on our honeymoon.

Bec: But you just bought two cases.

Matt: I know, that might just get us through Friday night, presuming guests bring a bottle of wine each.

Three days before budget comes into effect: The Chainsaw, part II

Matt: I’m going to chop some wood for the fire. It’ll create a nice ambience for the party.

Bec: Wasn’t your chainsaw red?

Matt: Yes.

Bec: The chainsaw you’re carrying is orange.

Matt: I swapped it.

Bec: When?

Matt: Yesterday.

Bec: Why?

Matt: It didn’t match the new mower.

Two days before budget comes into effect: Washing

Matt: You’re not doing another load of washing are you?

Bec: I’m washing the sheets – the dog’s dirty bum is all over them.

Matt: We can just dab the stains with some water.

Bec: What? I’m supposed to sleep on dog poo-stained sheets because of the potential of running out of water, and its cost?

Matt: Yes. And the fact that it’s a waste of water unless it’s a full load.

Bec: Thanks Greenie. Hey, just separately, do you know if Christine Milne is on Instagram, I’d like to tag my photo of you chain-sawing our rainforest yesterday?

Matt: I was creating a fire break, for your safety.

Bec: Can you be sacked from the Greens?

Matt: Okay, wash the sheets, but if we run out of water, you should get a second job.

Bec: Hahaha. No, we’ll just sell back the $500 worth of alcohol you purchased last weekend.

One day before budget comes into effect: Bec’s extravagant last hurrah

Bec: Do you have cash?

Matt: Yes. What do I get for it?

Bec: You get me not going to my Dad, telling him my husband won’t give me $3.50 for a Coke Zero.

Matt: Fair enough. Separately, did you know my favourite song of Kanye’s is Golddigger?

Bec: Separately, I hope I have my period for the rest of the year

Household Finance

How to save for a house deposit, with Matt and Bec. Includes weevils.

Bec: C’mon, we’d better stop at the shops on the way home. We’ve nothing left in the cupboard.

Matt: We’ve got lots of food left.

Bec: No we don’t. You’ve been refusing to buy anything for three weeks.

Matt: We’ve got lots to eat. If we were in Africa we’d be food billionaires.

Bec: I checked this morning. We have a tin of corn, ten grains of brown rice and five weevils.

Matt: And a packet of instant soup mix I bought on the way up to Toowoomba in 2012 in case we ever ran out of food and couldn’t make it to the shop. We could have corn soup with a side of rice and caramelised weevil legs for dessert. That’s a three course meal right there.

Bec: I don’t like corn.

Matt: What’s your policy on weevil legs?

Bec: Do weevils even have legs?

Matt: I don’t know.

Bec: Matt things aren’t that tight. We need some fruit and some breakfast stuff, and I’m not having corn soup for dinner.

Matt: OK. But let’s be frugal. Pretend you’re a uni student. We can even make furniture out of boxes when we get home if you like – to make it more authentic.

Bec: OK. Let’s get some things for sandwiches so we make our own lunch.

Matt: Good plan.

Bec: Ham.

Matt: Tick.

Bec: Tomatoes.

Matt: Yep.

Bec: Avocado.

Matt: That’s a luxury item. We don’t need avocado.

Bec: Cheese?

Matt: Yes.

Bec: Swiss cheese?

Matt: No, that’s too expensive. Look at this cheese. You have to look at the price per kilo. The cheese we normally get is, like, $63 a kilo. We should get the Coles brand cheddar cheese. Unsliced. We don’t want to be paying someone to slice our cheese. We have knives at home. If we cut out the Swiss cheese and your coke zero addiction we’d have enough money for three houses by now.

Bec: We’re really having this conversation? You buy wine like we’re one weekend away from prohibition being declared. And each day is a new special treat – Monday is “sashimi-day” because you’ve been unhealthy all weekend, Tuesday is “one day from Monday so I needed an ice-cream”, Wednesday is “there were no new episodes of Top Gear last night so I had caviar”.

Matt: All great jokes. Now, do you like carrots?

Bec: Gross.

Matt: What if I put honey on them? Honey carrots?

Bec: Yuck.

Matt: We really need to eat cheaper vegetables. Look at this broccolini. This is $4 a bunch. Four dollars a bunch! You don’t even eat the stems. If you factor in the non-stem weight, this broccolini works out to be the same price per kilo as saffron.

Bec: Molly eats them, so we’re feeding the whole family. It’s like a meal deal. Anyways, if you’re that keen to save money, why don’t we go to Aldi?

Matt: What if someone sees us?

Bec: You could put your hood on. Just like how you socialize. Oh look – there’s the Bottle-O. Aren’t we out of Grange?

Matt: I was thinking more 2005 Hunter Semillon. Don’t worry, I’ll get some cask shiraz as well.

Bec: Sounds great. I’ll be applying the same cheapness to your birthday presents. Remember to be grateful when you receive wrapped up bits of my hair.