The mother of all budgets comes from home. The cash reserves come from the jam jar or the spices box. And the finance minister at home is one’s mother who puts the household finances in order. She knows how much of the money should be spent, and where.
We have just seen the Union Budget, and will soon traverse through the State Budget. The finance minister reviews the government expenditure for the past year and proposes changes in taxation. Yes, it is that time of year when we wonder where the buck will stop. It is amazing how a mom has everything at her fingertips. She takes a mental inventory — from salt to spice, education to emergencies, and finally health to happiness — and ensures all sectors are taken care of.
Most mothers are born money managers. And most of the time, they try to balance the budget. This is because they know exactly how to allocate money for different expenses, and tend to make conservative financial decisions in order to secure the future. Simply put, they have long-term financial goals.
When you tune into the FM, you learn that the annual Budget exercise takes at least six months. The minister would consult everyone and get their inputs. Reams are written on it... not just the budget, but about the briefcase too! But at home, mother, a homemaker, minus the briefcase, quietly goes about managing the household budget month after month, without any fanfare or trumpeting. I would always marvel at how my mother would try to balance the budget with the limited income at her disposal (salaried class). It is rarely surplus. No pre-budget economic surveyor, no making tall promises, no inputs from anywhere -- just she and her financial wisdom. She would never make a budget speech — either Part A or Part B! The main concern would be how to match income and expenditure, with no exponential rise in the salary, and with inflation always playing the spoilsport.
She was not a product of any ‘School of Economics’. Yet, she would clearly know where the rupee would come from and where it would go. Her budget estimates would include both planned and non-planned expenditure (weddings, illnesses, etc). Yet, if a deficit loomed large, she would dip into the ‘savings’ kept in the spices box. And she would ensure a fair fiscal devolution – we children would get our pocket money.
When you have a long list of bills to pay, saving is the last thing on your mind, but my mother always found a way. Debts are not always bad. But her best money advice was never to be financially dependent on anyone. Yes, no external borrowings either from neighbours or friends or relatives. And yes, no service tax either – she wouldn’t even dream of it.If you want to be financially prudent, take a leaf out of your mom’s budget book!
Utthara Kumari B