How to Write a Budget (Washington DC style) by Nancy Radke
1. Look at how much you spent last year.
2. Add a percentage to that amount, say 10%.
3. Take the new figure and call it the baseline.
4. If anyone wants to go below the baseline, it is called a “cut,” even when it doesn’t reach back to the amount you spent last year.
5. You “add” the money you need next year to the baseline. Thus you can increase your amount 30%, but only claim you increased it 20%.
6. If you need more money, print it. (State governments can’t print money, so most don’t use baseline budgeting.)
Since the rest of us can’t handle our finances like this, we believe politicians when they yell about someone making a cut in their favorite program. It is why government budgets always seem to grow, never shrink, even when they “cut” something.
I used to write out a budget, but gave it up as a useless exercise. If I don’t have the money, I don’t spend it.
In my book, Spirit of a Champion, the heroine, Stormy, had cut up her credit cards so she wouldn’t use them, then runs out of money while trying to save her brother’s life in Las Vegas. Kyle, my generous hero, offers to help, but later doubts her story when he sees her staying in an expensive hotel, and driving a new car around. She says her first car blew up, and her cousin loaned her the second one. Where did she get the money? Can he believe her wild story, that someone is trying to kill her? And what can he do when the killers try again?
This book links characters from an earlier novel in this series, Scorpion’s Trail.