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Are you a fan of budgets?

It is budget season. If you are involved in any organization that has a budget, you probably have the year 2016 squarely in your sights and you are working to match revenue with expenditures.

That isn’t easy.

There always seem to be good reasons to spend money whatever the organization, and less opportunity to raise the money needed.

Balancing the two sides is what is needed, and is of course, stating the obvious.

If you are not involved in this kind of seasonal exercise, give it a try for your own benefit.

In this case I am thinking about your numismatic hobby budget.

Do you even have one?

Most collectors do not. So start by asking questions like these:

How much did you spend on coins in 2015?

How does this compare with your recent history?

What do you think you will spend in 2016?

Do you have any offsets from selling what you already own or trading material with others?

It would be useful for you to put these numbers down on paper.

Then think of the repeating annual purchases you likely will make.

You could be a fan of the Mint’s commemorative series or various annual proof and mint sets. You might be a regular customer at a coin shop or Internet website.

I know many collectors simply try to find funds here and there along the way as tempting purchases come their way.

And since there are so many collectors and so few with actual budgets, this approach must work, right?

How successful this approach is I can only guess at, but I do know that winging it with expenditures can lead to family conflict if the funds could also be used for something else that is considered more important by the noncollectors.

Avoid this conflict with a square look at the facts.

Just lay out the numbers.

In 2016 the purchases will likely be what amount?

Then identify where the money comes from.

All members of the family can see it. All can realize that there is an equitable distribution of family funds. Harmony can be preserved.

And just because the budget exists, that does not mean you have to spend the money if something unexpected happens.

You will look great volunteering not to buy some coins when the money is more urgently needed for something else.

Remember, a budget does not take away your discretion.

That’s a good thing.

This morning I had a car battery failure. It wasn’t in a budget. Life is like that.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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