Austen and Economic Realities: My Attempt to Budget Better

Last December, my sister and I decided to be more accountable to each other for staying within budget. She sent me this wonderful book and every day I record what I spend. I reconcile it at the end of the month on my computer, but this daily recording – and adorable book, because I have a weakness for adorable books – helps me think more responsibly each and every time I spend a doll

Jane Austen hits on this quite a bit in her novels – and in every novel. There isn’t an Austen story in which we don’t read about annuities, financial pressures, incomes, and spending. Characters are wise or spendthrift, economical or profligate. Austen never shies away from economic realities, choices and hardships.

And budgeting and wise spending is as relevant now as it was then – not only because money is the means by which we obtain necessities, but how we think about money says much about our character. Think Lydia and Wickham – then start saving your pennies! Think Sir Walter Elliot and retrench!

So in this New Year, I hope to add a little more Elinor Dashwood to my Marianne. I chose those two for my thoughts on budgeting because they changed – Austen didn’t leave them static like Sir Walter, Wickham and Lydia – and because, quite frankly, they weren’t that bad at the beginning of Sense & Sensibility on this front. Elinor had more sense about money, but Marianne was more unaware than spendthrift.

I doubt that’s my problem, but it’s better than spendthrift. So there you go. I’m planning an Elinoryear.

How are you doing?

Katherine 

5 Responses to Austen and Economic Realities: My Attempt to Budget Better

  1. It’s good to have a system. My mother kept a running total of her expenses so she would not go over her limit for the month. I am not as good as that but I do my best to stick to my budget.

  2. I keep a spreadsheet or any and all money I earn and spend, by category (gas, electric, grocery, gifts, auto… etc.). That way, come the end of the year, I can look back and despair at what I’ve done, and promise myself I’ll do better 🙂

  3. I use a bullet journal and have a monthly spending tracker in there. All our extra money goes into savings but I keep a little out for anything that might come up or for a trip for my daughter. If we don’t use it, it goes into regular savings the next month. I also try to think of what I might need to spend money on as well so that will be part of a planned expense for the month. The money tracker tracks any money outside of this. I am pleased to say that since the beginning of the year, I have spent $5. Not bad.

    I think you and your sister have come up with a brilliant plan. My sister was the one who taught me how to budget money. She does the same thing. I would encourage more people to do it. It feels good.

    • That’s fantastic! And you are right, it does feel good. So far… my sister and I are doing great and keeping each other accountable. Thanks for stopping by and for the planning ideas.

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