In Search of the Holy Grail (The Perfect Household Budget)

Do you remember Indiana Jones searching for the Holy Grail along with his father Henry Jones in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade?” It was an obsession for both, primarily for Indy’s father.

Holy Grail

photo credit: Eddi van W. via photopin cc

If you are a math nerd like me (and a personal finance nerd), then you may have pursued the Holy Grail of personal finance; “The Perfect Household Budget.”

What is the “Perfect Household Budget?”

The “Perfect Household Budget” is a cash flow plan that is perfect in all regards. This includes:

  • All categories are the right amount and you never feel pinched.
  • Both spouses get exactly what they want in their categories of interest (if you are married)
  • Corrections do not have to be made throughout the month, it is correct from the start of the month.
  • The financial tool used to prepare and track expenses and income and can carry unused into the next month’s budget.

If you have found and used the “Perfect Household Budget.” Then congratulations! Please contact me as soon as you have read this post because I have not found this mythical Holy Grail.

Does the Perfect Household Budget” exist?

Indian Jones and his father did find the Holy Grail but that was in the movies. As far as I know, the real “Holy Grail” has never been found. Kinda of like the “Perfect Household Budget.”

Here are several reasons why I believe the “Perfect Household Budget” cannot be found:

  • Our budgeted categories are highly dependent on our income. For most, items such as entertainment, clothing, vacations, and money for sports tickets can never have enough, but they have to be in order for our income and expenses to balance to ZERO. That is called sacrifice.
  • Marriage is full of compromise. Both spouses (if doing the budget together) NEVER get exactly what they want. I have had to lower amounts in categories to offset what Becky wants (my wife) and vice versa.
  • Constant corrections need to be made throughout the month. This is because life happens. Life is not perfect and is not predictable. Some expenses may be higher than expected and must be offset by other categories to balance.
  • I have used Quicken, Mint, Excel spreadsheets, Dave Ramsey software, and now iBank from Apple. They all have nice features but none of them meet all of my needs.

Since personal finance is 80% behavior and 20% head knowledge , then it is obvious that the odds of finding the “Perfect Household Budget” is nearly impossible.

Variable expenses such as emergencies, fluctuating utility bills, variable income, medical bills and many other expenses can be planned by laying out a the monthly budget. BUT, as life happens, we have to make constant corrections to the budget to make it balance. Even if it means lowering some of our most treasured categories.

Question(s): Have you found the “Perfect Household Budget?” What is your preferred budget tool?