I don't know much about farming or how farmers budget, but I've often imagined that they have to be very disciplined. I've imagined that they get most of their money for the year during a somewhat narrow window of time. Then they have to be disciplined to spread that money out over the rest of the year.
I suspect most of us would find that a bit difficult. Most of us, I suspect, spend it if we have it. Few of us are disciplined like I remember a professor friend of mine several years ago. He budgets for the whole year and then spreads it out over the whole year. So if he plans on spending $600 on Christmas, he'll put aside $50 a month somewhere for the whole year.
I also imagine that Christmas is deeply stressful in many families for whoever keeps track of the money. I wonder how many of us actually track how much we spend. Even talking of $600 for Christmas seems wrong to me, a sign of a culture with its priorities out of whack. But I'm sure many of us spend over a thousand each year--and I'm not talking about people on six figure salaries. What's worse is that many of us probably haven't even added up how much we spend. We may have no idea that we have spent 2% of our yearly take-home pay or more on Christmas.
Anyway, I wish I could say I budgeted like a farmer or like my disciplined professor friend. It's the Joseph plan--put some away in the fat years in preparation for the lean. It might even be worth having a separate account that you kind of forget about until the winter of our discontent.
I'm going to try to do better this year. How about you?
I know, I know, you are already good at this. :-)