As of this month, Mrs. Zombie and I have started on a money management plan that a friend suggested to me a few years back. Between the likelihood that the state may be taking back a significant chunk of my paycheck and other family related bills coming up, it seemed like the perfect motivator to get on it. This meant devising very strict budgets.
First casualty was coffee. I write in coffee shops. This situation leads to me drinking coffee. Specifically in my reintroduction to coffee (from about a year and a half off of it) I began drinking vanilla lattes. Vanilla lattes are more expensive than drip coffee and by this point the drive-through place knows my truck and has fixed the drink before I get up to the window. This doesn’t really match the $2 per day I have slotted for coffee (which as is comes to over double what my wife has budgeted).
But this really wasn’t much of a dilemma. I can train myself back into brew coffee and we have a spiffy K-Cup machine at home. Shopping at Costco those bad boys are less than 50 cents per cup. I think just over 40 is the magic number. The real problem came with movies.
Don’t get me wrong, we don’t go to a lot of movies, but during the summer we go more. I forgot this when we were budgeting. Originally I said enough for one movie a month and if there is nothing playing that month we can bank it or use it for a dinner out. Sounded good at the time… then I checked the schedule for the next couple weeks.
This Friday Thor releases. Next two weekends bring us Priest and the next Pirates movie. Next month is X-Men First Class and Green Lantern. After that is Harry Potter, Captain America ending with Cowboys and Aliens all in a row. August is my saving month with just Conan, but that is also the month of GenCon.
As it is there is a release of Highlander and GenCon that I am committed to outside of the budget, so adding this $30 to each of those months is not really an option. That means shifting the money from another portion of the budget and going without somewhere else. For Thor that can be solved by both my wife and I not eating out on Tuesday like we normally do (and have budgeted for).
Seriously, this is like Weight Watchers for your finances. Of course if we can stick to it, the plan works. My buddy in Texas only has a mortgage to pay and is saving a crazy amount every month – I assume to put towards paying off the mortgage early and being totally debt free.
For other people who know me and might be wondering… Yes, I have budgeted an amount each month to put towards going to Romantic Times and the like. I figure there is enough in that cell of the spreadsheet to cover OddCon and WisCon as well, since they are local. (Which means that RT2012 in Chicago is still on for me and Mrs. Zombie.) Books, well… that’s a different story. I have $10 a month slotted towards books. Enough for a single book and one or two epub short stories.
I’ll wait for the authors and book bloggers in the crowd to come around from the inevitable fainting spell they just had. It shouldn’t take long, most of them have coffee nearby – some may be gently rocking the cup and mumbling as I speak.
What this means for me in the library category is… well… the library. Which kind of pains me as ours is notoriously low in the contemporary genre fiction sections. Hopefully I can change that. The bright side to that one is having a crazy huge TBR pile at home. I will not want for genre fiction brothers and sisters. For my favorite authors it means I will have to make choices on which books I wish to own. Part of this will be my investment in the series, how well I know the author and my chances of getting the book personalized. Seriously if there is a chance of dirty stick figures being drawn in it at some point at a Rock Band party, why wouldn’t I get it?
For this month the book I know I want to own (and will likely be downloading on my Nook somewhere in Alaska while in dock on our Anniversary cruise) is Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay. Seriously, I have been waiting for this book for a while and a zombie has to support the undead enthusiast, right?
If, like me, you are a Nook enthusiast (or simply going to be in the middle of a trip requiring a passport and don’t want to wait) the Nook version will likely go up for preorder a week before release. The link above is to preorder the print copy and have it shipped to you.
Which brings me to a question for anyone who wishes to speak up. If you had only one book you could purchase during the next few months, which ones would it be?