Budget - No one's favorite word

Since I've been searching for full-time employment, I've been taking the opportunity to educate myself at the local library. I've checked out books on promoting yourself in interviews, networking your contacts, and negotiating your salary. All of these books have been interesting and informative, but I came across something in the salary negotiation book that has really stayed with me.

Jack Chapman (Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1,000 a Minute) says that when it comes to money, particularly the amount the boss has already decided to pay a certain position, there are three governing rules: budget, fudgeit, and judgeit. Budget is the actual amount that approved or set aside in the finances of the company. It is pre-determined and fixed.

Fudgeit is a cute term for the plans we make when we go over our budget but determine to fix it somehow elsewhere in the budget. "I can afford this new dress if I eat mac 'n cheese for the next two weeks" or "If I get the upgrade package on this computer, I'll pay less in peripheral expenses." We rob Peter to pay Paul, because we really want something that overextends us to a manageable extent. We fudge the numbers until it works.

Judgeit is Jack Chapman's term for spending a ridiculous amount, with no way to rearrange the numbers, but for something that we judge to be worth it in the long run. For example, someone could buy a house that is too large and too expensive, but choose to operate a home-business in the basement (saving rent elsewhere). It may take a while, but eventually the buyer believes that good judgment will pay off. Someone could purchase a luxury car, believing that clients will be so dazzled with his car that he will gain contracts. A boss can be so impressed with a prospective employee during an interview that he will pay more than the budgeted salary, judging that this employee will actually bring more money or efficiency into the company in the future.

I was reflecting on this recently, because it applies to personal budgeting, and so many other areas of life! For me, my nieces are a judgeit category. When I'm tired or when I have other things I should be doing (like blogging), I still have little kids that want me to read a book to them, or play on the computer, or watch a movie on my bed. I don't always have time budgeted to do that, not even to fudgeit with other things on the schedule, but I know that in the long run, I won't regret having spent time with them while they're young and in awe of such a great aunt.

Whether you count coins, calories, or calendar squares, these three principles--budget, fudgeit, and judgeit--are worth consideration.
Ariel Rainey