Budgeting must not be within royalty repertoire

One of my favorite songs from the musical “Camelot” is the tune “I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight?” It’s cutely speculative and mocks how we commoners spend our time making assumptions about how the royals are spending their time, and, especially as of late, their money.

A whole lot of speculation must have gone on in England last month following official report the British royal family overspent its 2013 annual budget by the British pound equivalent of $3.8 million. That’s on top of the $51.4 million already granted Elizabeth II and company by her majesty’s taxpayers.

While this news doesn’t directly affect me, it nevertheless irritated me, especially since it came during Michigan’s extended stretch of sub-zero temperatures, time I spent screeching (free of charge) at my children to not dare move the thermostat dial above 64 degrees during the day and to dial down to 60 degrees during the night.

No one knighted me for that supreme act of bravery and bodily sacrifice in the financial chill brought on by the harsh windchill factor. Without the hope of a windfall, I was forced to factor in the reality of my meager budget and to adjust accordingly. Not just on paper, but in the flesh. Heavily goose-pimpled flesh.

“I wonder what the king is doing tonight? What merriment is the king pursuing tonight? The candles at the court, they never burned so bright. I wonder what the king is up to tonight?” You can be darned sure he/she is not watching the thermostat as a form of entertainment. Dim those court candles!

While “more month than money” is the reality for many ordinary families, you would hope that the royal family, with nearly $4.3 million to work with each month, might be able to make
the dollars stretch a bit further than most. Perhaps I need to put on my family life educator hat (purchased second-hand store while I waitressed my way through college) and show them how to burn the dimmed candle at both ends, play both ends against the middle and other techniques in my vast arsenal of ammunition for making ends meet.

I considered writing the British monarchy a letter suggesting they attend the nearest Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course, but suspect they need something more remedial, perhaps an online “Budgeting for Dummies” tutorial that has lots of pictures.

Afterward, I would recommend they start paying everything by cash. We’d cut up all their credit cards in a widely-televised ceremony in front of Buckingham Palace, covered by a pink-eye-free Bob Costas, then have them receive their $4.3 million monthly allowance in cash and divide it among separate envelopes with budget categories scrawled across them in Sharpie marker.

The envelopes could be stored in a huge sugar bowl in the pantry of one of their many royal residences to help give them a visual clue as to its value. Even more valuable would be the bird’s eye view of the harsh financial reality that “when it’s gone, it’s gone.”

No more royal handouts. Instead a chore chart would go up on the side of the royal refrigerator. The last remaining special assistant (not let go during budget crackdown) would fasten a foil star to the chart each time a royal completed one of the many instrumental activities of daily living formerly delegated to servants. If all the chores were done by the end of the week, the royals would be allowed sugar bowl access.

We’d use the money to shop at Aldi, Costco and St. Vincent de Paul thrift store, patron saint of the shoestring budget crowd. We’d start walking more, eating less and throwing fewer logs on the home fires.

I believe Margaret Hodge, the member of British Parliament who chairs the Public Accounts Committee, would endorse my plan, as she responded thusly to the royals’ budget-busting ways, “The household needs to get better at planning and managing its budgets for the longer term – and the Treasury should be more actively involved in reviewing what the household is doing.”

Do ya think? Time to add budgeting to the royal repertoire. To quote another line from a “Camelot” song, “That’s what simple folk do.”


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Todd
    Mar 11, 2014 @ 04:54:57

    Hi K, We need not look outside our country or state to see similar behavior: The profoundly broke and broken Detroit city council recently decided to subsidize the construction of a new venue for the Red Wings. The Red Wings and their owners are members of Michigan’s royalty.


  2. Todd
    Mar 11, 2014 @ 04:57:54


  3. diffdrum
    Mar 11, 2014 @ 05:57:40

    New song possibility: “I Wonder What the Wings Are Doing Tonight?” Bring the whole family over and we’ll watch my Canelot DVD together as a thank-you for you recognizing and admitting the US is just as bad, if not worse, in the champagne taste on a beer budget category!


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