Show me the money
Just when you thought you were on the home straight, the diocesan budget forms arrive.
Now I like to think of myself as someone who is relatively good with money. Each month, I do our accounts, I reconcile the figures against the statements, we even have a monthly budget for everything from the food we eat to how much I can spend on having fun. In fact, I think I have a bit of an ego about how well I handle money. I am a responsible, knowledge, financial whizz.
So imagine my depression and the humbling I suffered when I sat down last night to look at the diocesan budget form. For various reasons, mostly church-related, I had let a pile build up over the last few weeks with grant application forms to fill in for various grant-making bodies and this budget form to complete.
I got nowhere. All I managed to fill in was the rent that is going to be due on our new house in Cambridge… (just remembered I need to blog about that too!).
My first complaint is this – why is none of this online? I almost gave myself cramp trying to fill out so many forms. I haven’t used a pen that much in about five years. Beyond signing my name these days, I don’t often have to write much more than the shopping list.
Secondly, why are government websites so impenetrable? One of the things I’ve been asked to do is claim as much benefit as I am qualified to claim to help lessen the load on the diocesan budget. Fine… no problem. Except, when I visit (for example), the Child Tax Credit website, I am paralyzed by confusion.
Do I put down that we have two kids or one? My wife is pregnant at the moment but we will have two by the time my course starts. Do I put down my current salary or what I will get when I am a student? Knowing ‘the computer says no’ culture, surely doing anything out of the ordinary is going to cause total and utter confusion amongst those whom I need to be crystal clear on my needs.
As this site develops, I hope to go back and do more of a rating style thing for the colleges, since I thought that would be fun to do and more complete than my random opinions. However, I think that I’ll add a little financial help section too – once I get through all this myself – to give others the benefit of whatever troubling experiences I am about to have.