money talks

And while, as Neil put it, “it don’t sing and dance and it don’t walk”, it sure is nice.

Today marks the end of my first real week of the cash budget. And I made it. I want to thank everyone who left comments on my last money post. They have all been very helpful. I decided, as a means of transitioning, to start with the cash system. I allotted myself an amount for two weeks. I pulled it out on my payday, as suggested by my cousin, and divided it. If it was all in one lump, I knew it would have been gone before week two began.

So, here’s what happened. I went to the grocery store; out went half my budget day one. Then, day two, I had to pick up a prescription at Target and found a really, really cute sweater. I assessed my money situation. Considered what my plans were for the next six days, and purchased it.

Pause a moment and think about that. I considered before purchasing a non-necessity item. Not all of you will appreciate how major that is, but I assure you, it is HUGE.

I was left with almost enough money for the rest of my plans, which included going out to eat twice, a movie at the expensive theater (sorry, “regularly priced”), and treats. Some of you better budgeting people are probably guffawing in response to my “movie” and “treats”, but remember that this is very, very new for me. New, as in never been done before. It’s about baby steps, my friends. Baby. Steps. So I think $3 over budget is pretty darn good. And for now, that $3 is coming out of next weeks budget.

So, what did I learn? I really do like to spend money, although I knew that. I don’t often think about what the spending means to my life. I can eat out without ordering a soda…not that I did. I really do love to buy books. The money I make can go a lot further than I ever imagined. It is possible to end a pay period with money left over.

What did I sacrifice? A number of new songs on iTunes, most of which I can’t recall. Eating out a few times. The shirt that I wanted in addition to the sweater I purchased. I think that’s it. Or at least that’s what I remember. It just goes to show how impulse buying is really more about the rush than actually wanting the item. I hate when other people are right about my issues. Hate. It.

My goal for this week? Take Lisa’s advice and write down where the cash is going. The “zero-balance” will come, I think.

7 thoughts on “money talks

  1. That’s really good for your first week. We like to sit down and see where our money went at the end of the month… and well, it’s kind of scary when you see how much you spend on silly things (my weakness is the bakery down the street and Erik likes to buy bullets). It really does open your eyes to your spending habits. Good luck with week 2!

  2. I totally agree with impulse buying; I’m speaking as one who’s dealt with that trait. “I want it! I get it! Yay!” It feels better to only have stuff in your home you cherish, don’t you think? I’ve turned into a minimalist. I love how the envelopes are getting you in the mindset…can’t wait to see what your next step is! And! I don’t think you’re silly AT ALL for budgeting movie treats! As I’ve written down all my purchases & tracked them, I’ve found it’s the little stuff–added up–that shreds my budget.

  3. There’s a reason they call it retail therapy. It’s not the having, it’s the acquiring. I don’t understand it, but I know it works. Good for you, seeing it for what it is and making an effort to overcome it. Not too shabby!

  4. Only $3 over on your first try is AWESOME! I was like $15 or so over the first pay period. So great Chloe! Writing things down is such a great practice too. We use Quicken and have categories and then can view it all at the end of the month and see what needs to be adjusted or where we need to rein it in a little. You are doing great!

  5. Good job, Chloe! When I see something that I really want in a store, it’s hard to imagine that that desire will fade, but it’s interesting how often it does if I leave the item in the store. If the desire is still there after a week or so, then I know I REALLY want it.

  6. Hi, I’ve been stopping by your blog for a few weeks now and actually linked to you. I’ve done the cash thing before, and it really is helpful. I actually make myself envelopes and allow certain amounts for certain things. It can be a little tricky, but it is helpful. The problem is when you have to use debit for things like internet purchases, etc. Or when you start borrowing from other envelopes. 🙂 But it’s a great thing to do, and I think it really got me in the habit of thinking before buying.

  7. I like to spend money too…but I’m married to an accountant. 🙂 It’s like having a built in budgeter, which can be both good and bad. But I love what you said–impulse buying is more about the rush than really wanting the item. I couldn’t agree more! Good luck, it will only get easier.

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