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

Featured Travel

Bec gets scared she’ll be raped by bikies at a Paul Simon concert at a hotel in Newcastle

They had driven from Toowoomba to the Hunter Valley for a Paul Simon concert and booked a lovely B&B for a romantic Easter long weekend. At the last minute the concert was moved to Newcastle. Luckily, Matt was able to find some accommodation close to the new venue. It wasn’t quite the Hilton.

Matt: Oh my god, this is so exciting Darling! Paul Simon tonight, and because we’re so close to the Entertainment Centre we can have a few drinks and walk home!

Bec: Yep.

Matt: What do you mean ‘yep’, aren’t you excited? It’s Paul Simon! You’ve always wanted to see Paul Simon, and now we’re here. You should be excited! I’m excited!

Bec: Yep.

Matt: The venue is just across the train lines there. You can just about see it.

Bec: My feet are sticking to the floor.

Matt: That’s the sign of a good hotel. If your feet stick to the carpet, you know it’s popular.

Bec: This isn’t a hotel. This is a pub.

Matt: A pub is technically a hotel. And besides, it’s a nice pub.

Bec: What’s the difference between a Hells Angel and a Commanchero?

Matt: I don’t know. Is that a joke?

Bec: No, a bunch of them just walked in. I want to know who I’m being raped by.

Matt: I think you’ve got your worst case scenario thinking pants on again Sweetheart. Nobody is going to rape you.

Bec: Well, you certainly won’t be going there tonight. I bet the bed has fleas. Have you seen Young Einstein? That’s what our room will look like. I’m not taking my jeans off.

Matt: Nope, it will be lovely. I’ll get the manager so he can show us the room.

Bar Chick: What are you drinking?

Matt: Yes, hello. We have a room booked under the name Granfield.

Bar Chick: A what?

Matt: A room. Granfield. I booked on the website?

Bar Chick: What website?

Matt: Your website.

Bar Chick: We have a website?

Matt: Yes.

Bar Chick: I’ll go and get the manager.

Bec: Stop looking at her boobs.

Matt: I wasn’t looking at her boobs.

Bec: You had to have been looking at her boobs. She was topless. I can’t believe we’re staying in a topless bar. I’m not staying here. I’ll drive home.

Matt: It will be fine.

Manager: Hello.

Matt: Yes, hello. We booked a room on the website. Under the name Granfield.

Manager: Oh yes.

Matt: I was wondering if we could have the key please.

Manager: Hmm.

Matt: Would that be OK?

Manager: Yes, I’ll just have to find the key.

Matt: OK.

Bec: That’s not a good sign.

Matt: It’s fine. He’s just going to find the key.

Manager: I can’t find the key.

Matt: I see.

Manager: It’s all good though. The door doesn’t lock anyway.

Matt: OK.

Manager: Follow me. The room’s upstairs.

Matt: OK.

Bec: Oh god. Don’t even think about checking into this ‘hotel’ on Facebook. If Dad sees it he’ll kill you.

Matt: It’s all good. I should warn you though, I didn’t want to say anything earlier, but often in hotels like this…

Bec: You mean biker pubs like this.

Matt: Often in hotels like this, there won’t be a bathroom or toilet in the room. So we’ll have to share with the other guests.

Bec: I love how you choose to tell me that now. You’re like walking fine print.

Manager: So here’s the toilet. And if you follow me down the hall a bit… The shower is in this, well, cupboard here… And then the room is at the end of the hall there. Are you OK with a twin room? You’re not on your honeymoon or anything?

Bec: A twin room is fine. I can tell you right now, we won’t be having s…

Matt: Soap.

Manager: Yep, that’s on the pillows. Any other questions?

Bec: Whispering to Matt – If the soap is used, we’re leaving.

Matt: No, I think we’re all good. Thank you very much.

Manager: Righto then. Just, well, I’ll see you in the morning.

Matt: OK

Bec: How much did we pay for this place?

Matt: $120. It was the closest hotel to the Entertainment Centre. The website said it was located in an ‘entertainment hub’.

Bec:  Yes, if you like trainspotting and fist fights between rival motorcycle gangs.

Matt: C’mon, let’s just dump our stuff and get some food. There was a bistro downstairs.

Bec: We’re not eating here. I’m going to the bathroom. While I’m gone, get on Urban Spoon and find somewhere to have dinner.

Matt: OK.

Bec: I’m back.

Matt: That was quick.

Bec: There was blood on the hand basin. I couldn’t even wash my hands.

Matt: I’m sure it wasn’t blood.

Bec: OK. Maybe it was tomato sauce.

Matt: Let me check it out. I need to wee anyway.

Bec: You always need to wee.

Matt: It wasn’t blood.

Bec: What was it then?

Matt: It was just a chip in the vanity top. I think it was once painted red.

Bec: We’re not staying here. What if I have to go to the toilet in the middle of the night?

Matt: I thought you said you weren’t taking your jeans off?

Bec: Ha ha. I’m not going to the toilet in the middle of the night here. I’ll get raped.

Matt: There’s a servo over the road. I’ll go and buy you a bucket. You can wee in that.

Bec: Really?

Matt: Why not?

Bec: OK.

Matt: While I’m gone, you can check for cockroaches.

Matt: I’m back. I got you a yellow bucket.

Bec: Well, do you want the good news?

Matt: Sure!

Bec: There’s no cockroaches.

Matt: See! I told you.

Bec: The bed is full of ants though.

Matt: No it’s not.

Bec: Yes it is. See.

Matt: That’s not full of ants. There’s only like…. Ten of them. Eleven. Maybe fifteen.

Bec: They’re eating something with hair on it.

Matt: I’ll drive home tonight.

Bec: I thought you might.



Matt role modelling leadership behaviour with an ethnically representative sample of colleagues

Things have changed around the house a little since Matt began his MBA program and started taking leadership courses at work.

Matt: Rebecca, are you right for a quick 1:1 in about 15 minutes?

Bec: Why are you calling me Rebecca? And we’re sitting at the kitchen table together, I can talk now, what’s wrong?

Matt: Oh I’m sorry, I thought Rebecca was your preferred name. My apologies. I’ve just a few more things to get through now, however we can meet in the lounge room if you’re not comfortable here, and would prefer some privacy?

Bec: Privacy from who? Molly?

Matt: Does 15 minutes suit you?

Bec: I guess so, yes.

Matt: Good, I look forward to speaking with you then. In the meantime, my door is always open.

Bec: ?

15 minutes later

Matt: I’m free to meet now if it’s convenient?

Bec: Yeah okay, what did you want to talk about?

Matt: Well, how have you felt your last week has gone?

Bec: What do you mean?

Matt: Do you feel this relationship is meeting expectations?

Bec: What? And why are you speaking with your hands like Marco from Mastchef?

Matt: Does my body language make you uncomfortable? I can totally understand why you might feel that way. I’ve already taken the trouble of developing a body language matrix and will endeavour to adjust my physical communication strategy to better align with your needs. Would you class yourself as an octopus or a squirrel?

Bec: I’m just going to watch TV now.

Matt: Is there anything I can be doing better to help you reach your short and long-term goals?

Bec: My goal at the moment is to keep watching this episode of SeaChange. Can you please go away?

Matt: If you were a colour, what colour would you be?

Bec: I’d be piss off.

Matt: I’ll put that down as yellow. But I’m sensing some hostility here, and that’s okay, because I’ve separated your behaviour, from you, the person. And I’ve diagnosed you as a relationship developmental level three – medium skill, still requiring a fluctuating level of support.

Bec: Great, I think I might separate me, the wife, from you, the husband today.

Matt: Tell me more about why you feel that way. And please, call me Matthew.

Bec: Who is the HR manager in our marriage? I wish to file a complaint.