Love and Budget Mission Creep

It is hard to be in love, when you spend too much money.

“Every time a girl says she loves me, I reach for my billfold.”

I believe 95 percent of marriages fail because they have debt, and budget mission creep, they blame each other for their own greed. Having money should always make one feel comfortable in their own skin and not worry about how the other person spends money.

It is a wonderful world full of strange and enticing stories; it always seems that the best stories are simple and easy to understand. Budgeting money is simple, if you are feeling uncomfortable, you are over budget, if you feel great, then you are within your budget.

When you feel confused, stop spending money until the confusion goes away, and life will always be simple.


Today is December 8, 2012, the hope it to spend Christmas in Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast with other Christians. This makes my Mother and Father happy, and if they are happy, it is easier for me to be happy. All in all, the situation in Ivory Coast is stable, funny, and it feels as if I opened the door to some new self-inflicted challenges in my life.

Bah is sharing the same Hotel room with me, and you would think I would need to expand my budget. Strange as it seems, two people can travel for almost the same as one, the cost of the room stays the same, I can almost always afford to have a second person with me, the extra cost is minimal, and food is not really a large expense for me. I often think water cost more than food, and I do not drink alcohol, which is the number one budget killer.

Let me think about this, if Bah and I drank Alcohol, I would need to triple my budget; my cost of living would triple.

Now, as I started this missive, I wrote, “The best stories are simple, and easy to understand.”

And, truly any story can be made into a good story, by slowing down the story line until it is understandable.

I think the joy of my lifestyle is this; I do not go anywhere until it feels like a simple trip. I do not spend money, until I am sure I can afford it, I have not truly worried about money for 15 years. This recession in the USA is an annoyance, but not a problem. The cost of countries differ, and there is always a way to spend less, and live the same.

I am going to repeat that, “There is always a way to spend less, and live exactly the same.”

I can live with Bah, and spend the exact same amount of money as when I lived alone. How is this achieved? I go slower; I contemplate my choices, and spend more time looking for cheaper rooms. Generally, I am passive, when the price of Hotel room goes under 300 USD per month, I sort of stop looking, maybe you could say, I become lazy. Bah is with me, and I decided the other day, it is time to look for a 150 USD per month room, this 300 USD per month room has problems.

Hmm, the precipitating reason is really this, our present room is too hot, the roof and ceiling is creating a greenhouse effect, and the two of us in the room makes it a small heat island. Generally, I almost never think about heat, but there is something wrong with the Hotel, or the season of the year here in Grand Bassam, we need to search for a cooler room. And cheaper.

I know of a room around the corner for 40 USD per month, but, Bah would lose face to live there, even though it is close to the ocean, and wonderful. People make decisions to improve their social status, not to improve the quality of their lives.

Love and Budget Mission Creep

It has been my observation of life, that children, employees, and girlfriends will spend money until they hit “the wall.”

“The Wall” Defined:

A stationary boundary, which cannot be moved, altered or penetrated, an inflexible stop.

I am an easy going guy, my life is abnormally easy, I am always living a life of leisure, the good life, a life of never-ending luxury. When the people around me are stressed, I normally am the one who is calm. Yes, readers misinterpret my missives, when I explain situations that are bouncing up close to “the wall,” and I am becoming uncomfortable.

A luxury lifestyle does not require you to work, or to feel uncomfortable, this life is free to all humans, except to the ones who agree to accept the curse of the modern world.

I stop my world when I am uncomfortable, I slow down the story.

I stop spending money, when if there is any confusion, I slow down the story.

Children, employees, and girlfriends, and anybody else in life that does not earn the money, can try to spend the money. Therefore, my belief is the best of us; learn to be “the wall.”

This is rather humorous in a way, the majority of travelers go home when they run out of money, this is not a wall, the person ran out of money.

I remember my friend Eric in the Dominican Republic, he would be spending large at the beginning of the month, for odd reasons the USA government, or the military sent him large checks, I think it was crazy money, what the world pays to keep a crazy person happy, more or less a “Remittance Man.”

Bah and her sisters are like two kids in a candy store, they want to go to Mopodji, Ivory Coast to visit their father, it is a village in the middle of nowhere, and actually when someone says, “Were going to Timbuktu.”

Then, Mopodji is only 763 miles South of Timbuktu

Very few, and obnoxiously small number, a radically small percentage of people will go to Timbuktu in their life. Personally, I believe it is about as close to hell culture on the planet, I was very close a few years ago in Mali and decide there was no reason to go; the trade in pain was not worth it. There is no good reason to go to Timbuktu, the only reason to go is to say, or brag, “I went to Timbuktu.”

All people on the planet have enough money to travel anywhere.

We all have the money to travel anywhere on the planet, and live absolutely anywhere we wish. I will say this, you need 500 dollar per month in income, and this is possible, but you could do it for fewer than 300 dollars. I have a lot more than that, but that is bottom wall.

Giving Money to Girls

I woke up this morning, and realized yesterday, there was hole in my pocket, and money was falling out. Now, you can just allow money to creep away, or you can give it away. Children, employees, and girlfriends will walk up to me, and “need money.” I translate that to mean, “I want money,” and I have money, and they do not.

Solution to Budget Problems is to Make a Wall

Yesterday, I told her, I will give you 25,000 CFA per week, this is three times the amount of money she needs to be the same as the other people in the community. She will be a rich girl in Grand Bassam, and I want her to be, otherwise she would “lose face.”

25,000 CFA sounds like a lot of money, it is not.

The trip to Mopodji needs “The Wall.”

She is making some quick and youthful plans for us, radically quick, and reactive. I keep thinking,

“I want to spend Christmas in Mopodji.”

As best I can understand, Bah hates Mopodji, there is no electricity, it is in the middle of nowhere, it is 763 miles South of Timbuktu, it is where her father lives, and she refuses to live.

Well, I need to be the “Chef” today, the voice of reason, and “The Wall.”

She wants a flexible budget; today I will give her an inflexible budget.

I enjoy the game of life, everyone around me has fuzzy logic, to win the game of life, and I must make the rules simple to understand.

For example, for the trip to Mopodji, I can say, “Here is 200 USD, you plan the trip.”

There is a mystical power of “The Wall,” when there is no more money to spend, people stop spending money.

Bah has zero debt, and is not paying any monthly payments.

This is a “Rich Girl!”

I weigh the value of people by their debt, and monthly payments, the rich ones have zero debt, and no monthly payments. Bah is testing “The Wall,” today and this is real life.

When I feel uncomfortable, I slow down the story, or stop.

Andy Graham in Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast, West Africa 2012


By clicking on the "Subscribe to Comments" you will receive an email when members post new comments on this page

I think Andy you have a different definition of luxury than how I define it, but then most people do. When I am in a poor area luxury to the locals can be the fact I can rent a nice clean room with private bath and walk around with a nice camera and so on.
One place I visited a long time ago the locals defined luxury as being exceptionally wealthy which they thought I was because I actually could afford to fly there, rent a car and stay again in a reasonably nice room.
But in actuality I was staying in a low cost hostel, a very cheap (not to safe) car rental and counting my pennies.

Also when I travel I usually look for the best bargain for a room, my only main caveat is it must be clean. When with a woman I always am willing to up my basic standards as years and a couple of marriages have made me (I think) a wiser man. A happy woman will almost always make me happy.

Granted I do not have your travel experience but I have traveled since I was 7 years old when I was put on a Greyhound in Detroit and sent to my grandparents in Kansas for the summer and returned the same way. It was very exciting at that age.

People please note: It was much safer in the 40's and my parents gave the bus driver a tip and asked that he keep an eye on me and to do the same with other drivers when I transferred busses.

Love and Budget definitely sounds like a oxymoron to me!

I think the greatest luxury is time, and I have tons of time. There is almost zero things I have to do today. I do feel, and I am aware, that humans crave being needed, for unknown reasons, I do not need someone to need me.

Time is one of quite a few luxuries. Unfortunately as you get older and older it becomes somewhat a scary luxury as it flies so fast.

to Leave a Comment or