My spending habits have gotten a wee bit out of control for a couple reasons. The more you make, the more you spend. That’s just a fact. I also subscribe to The Secret philosophy of living your life as you expect it to be. If I believe I am rich, I will be rich. That sort of mentality. So I run amok with my credit card. The XL diet coke I buy from the Subway next door…slap that onto my credit card. All those purchases I make on Amazon.com—they make it so easy with their 1-Click Ordering. My credit card bills are pretty massive every month. Now, I’m no retard. My mama taught me well and I’ve never carried over a credit card balance. I pay those sharks in full. But if my mom scrutinized my most recent statement, she might croak on the spot. Especially with the wedding, expenses started spiraling out of control. Drinks with friends…we got this bill covered. Vendor meals…of course we got your back. To add to the damage, snacks and drinks which aren’t cheap were taken out of the mini-bar and obviously out of our control. Thanks friends and family, feel free to help yourself!
Back in the land of reality, I’m on a mission to tighten our budget. We’ve always managed to sock away 20% of our monthly income (not including commissions and bonuses), but I know we can do another 10% if we just stopped the extraneous spending. Introducing the envelope method. Yup, the credit cards have been “discarded” in favor of plain old green cash. I put discarded in quotes because we still have all of our necessary bills linked to my beloved 2% cash back credit card. But starting this past Monday, I handed Dean $100 for the week and myself $100 for the week. Right? $20 a day should be plenty! Anything left over is yours to keep. On the weekends, we each get $200 to play with—for a total weekly budget of $300 (one person). I don’t know how a reader is taking this all in, but it’s pretty draconian for me considering I used to spend several hundred dollars by mid-week on happy hours and dinners. The irony is…it shouldn’t be that hard to cut back.
You know what? It isn’t hard. On Monday I spent $1 on a diet coke. On Wednesday I spent $3 on a diet coke and chips. The rest of my meals were frozen entrees and wine at home. Any other week, I would’ve racked up at least $100 by now. What makes this envelope method different is how constrained it is. Can I afford to go out tonight? I don’t know, let me check how much I have in my wallet. Do I really need that second glass of wine? Do I really need to eat out or can I microwave a frozen entrée? Being completely aware of what your budget is (besides I’ll just charge it) makes you deliberately accountable for your finances.