A class I was set to teach this summer was just cancelled due to low enrollment. Had the class occurred, like with the one I am teaching now, my compensation would have been absorbed in the big pot of household funds and I would have barely noticed its impact. But because I am not receiving payment for the second contract, I have found myself acutely noticing the loss of those dollars.
I’m not thinking “I could have used the money to pay insurance,” rather: “I could have bought a new computer with that money,” or “I could have paid for vacation,” or “That money would have paid to remodel part of my basement.” When I think of the foregone paycheck as a discrete item rather than part of the whole, it takes on a whole new significance. It has become more like a bonus than part of my regular earnings. The next class I teach is going into a separate pot instead of the checkbook.
Think of how you can play mind games with your own budgeting or that of your organization. Is there a source of income that can be earmarked for something special rather than being lost in the general fund? Can you do something as a side gig to earn some extra cash that can be dedicated to a project? Is there a way to carve out a separate fund from your raise or interest that can serve as working capital for a new idea you have?
There is something powerful about a financial set-aside. Work to create a virtual piggy bank that allows you to do something outside of the norm with a small piece of your income.