I was working up my 2010 budget the other day. I always like to plan for the worst case. I always like to be conservative. Part of it is that I need to know my goals are at least achievable before I try, or I get too overwhelmed. Part of it is just the security of knowing the worst case, if for some reason I didn’t get that raise, or didn’t get overtime, or Chad doesn’t find work all year. And part of it is seeing those numbers, feeling disappointed, and finding the motivation to try harder, to earn more, to spend less.
The conservative case, if we spend 2010 with only my base income with no bonuses, no raises, but also no emergencies or big unplanned expenses, leaves me averaging a little more than $1,000 per month to put into cash savings. This amount doesn’t include my 401K, which I have vowed to max out this year, but does include any money I’d want to put into my Roth IRA.
I’ll tell you, it’s not the happiest of numbers for me. My goal for 2009 was to max out my Roth, get as close as possible on my 401K, and save an additional $10K on top of that. In 2009, I’ll be able to save 48% of my gross pay (or more, if I get some extra overtime). In 2008, I saved over 50%. In 2010, I’ll manage around 25%.
So I was feeling a little bit disappointed, but then (in the spirit of Thanksgiving), I realized something.
There are plenty of people who would have trouble saving $1000 in a year. My parents, when they were my age, had 3 kids and only high school diplomas, and they would have been lucky to save anything at all.
For some people, a husband unable to find a job could mean the difference between feeding their kids, paying their utilities, or keeping up on mortgage payments.
And some people have no money problems but no savings, either because they can’t find that mindset or because no one ever tried to teach them.
So I’m thankful.
I’m thankful that I found a job I’m good at, that I enjoy, and that pays well.
I’m thankful that Chad and I have always been frugal, so we won’t need to make a drastic change in our lifestyle to survive on one income.
I’m thankful that Chad is a better engineer than I am, and that he’ll definitely find a job next year if he doesn’t decide to go back to school instead.
I’m thankful that I’ll be able to save anything at all.
I’m thankful that my father bothered to teach me about money and encouraged my savings.
I’m thankful that my budget still includes a clothing allowance.
I’m thankful for my blog readers, who will probably not call me a rich brat and instead will offer words of encouragement.
Hoping all my Americans readers have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Everyone else, have a wonderful Thursday! We’ll be in NY visiting Chad’s parents and stuffing as much turkey into our mouths as possible!