Hey girl, hey!
If you’ve been hanging out with me for a while, you’ll know that we often talk about saving those coins, cutting back on expenses, and tackling that debt…. but today we’re gonna switch it up and talk about the part of budgeting that most people love… SPENDING!
I know, I know...weird coming from me, right?
Here’s the thing… budgeting is not meant to make you feel restricted, and one thing that helps you not feel restricted is setting aside a little spending money for yourself to purchase some of the things you desire, that way you can keep a little fun in your life... because after-all, you do go to work everyday for those coins, so you should be able to enjoy yourself just a little bit... do you agree? The issue comes in when people take their budgeted spending money and splurge it all in the first few days, instead of prioritizing their purchases so they’ll have enough to last them to the next paycheck. Now I know everyone gets paid on different pay frequencies, but for the purposes of this post, we’ll say if you get paid bi-weekly you’ll have $200 of spending money and if you get paid monthly, you’ll have $400 of spending money set aside for yourself, cool?!. Cool. Let’s get started.
1. Use the Cash Method.
I always recommend new budgeters use cash for their spending money instead of a debit card. The reason being is that it’s so easy to get carried away swipe, swipe, swipin’ your card that before you know it, all your spending money is gone and you just got paid a few days ago (whomp, whomp, whomp). If you get paid bi-weekly, you know that you have at least two full weeks until you get another paycheck and per the scenario we mentioned earlier… you have $200 to last you through 2 weeks. Similarly, if you get paid monthly, you’ll have $400 to last you through about 4 weeks (give or take a few days) until your next paycheck. So here’s my suggestion: Take a certain amount of cash out for the current week (in this case I’d say $100 per week), leave the rest of the money in your bank account, and keep those debit cards at home tucked away in a safe place. Then don’t take the next lump sum of cash out until you reach the beginning of the next week. By doing this, you limit yourself to how much you can purchase in one week, therefore forcing you to monitor how much you spend and what you decide to spend on. Priorities sis, priorities.
2. Calculate a Daily or Weekly Spending Limit.
Now let’s say you’re a more advanced budgeter, or perhaps you’re not comfortable carrying cash and would like to keep a papertrail of your purchases by using your debit card. If this is the case, try setting a daily or weekly spending limit for yourself. So that $200 bi-weekly spending budget divided by 14 days or 2 weeks would mean you could spend about $14 daily or $100 per week. Or for my girlfriends who get paid monthly, that would be around $13 per day (if you estimate 31 days in a month) or $100 a week. The key here is to actually monitor your spending… so keep your receipts to add up at the end of the day and/or week, check your bank balance nightly, or see money managing method #3 (say that three times fast)!
3. Get Notifications Sent to your Phone.
One of the best ways to monitor your spending allowance is to have daily notifications sent to your phone. Most banks have this option and it’s kinda necessary for two reasons: First, the notifications sent to your phone keeps you well aware of your bank balance, so there’s no saying you didn’t know you had no money, girl. Secondly, in the event anyone ever gets a hold of your information, like a case of identity theft, you can catch it fast before the perpetrator has a chance to do any serious damage. I always suggest getting morning notifications... like 9 or 10ish. That way you're wide awake, it's just before lunch (before you can make the decision to go out to eat with your co-workers), and you can prioritize your spending for the rest of the day.
4. Spend Only on the Weekends.
Now here’s where it gets good. If you can find the discipline to not spend any allowance money during the week (which is completely doable if you take your meals to work each day and find free things to do throughout the week), then you can find yourself slightly ballin' on the weekend. You’ll have your whole weekly allowance to splurge on weekend purchases.... kinda like a reward for your discipline all week! Answer me this... when was the last time you went a day without spending money? I challenge you to try it in the near future. It’s actually a lot easier than you think. Ya see... when all your necessities are already budgeted, like groceries to make meals at home, and gas to keep your car fueled so you can get to and from the places you need to go... there's nothing else you really neeed to buy, because all your needs are taken care of! Pretty sweet, right?! That's the power of a budget, girlfriend! Get you some. Need help? Check out my one-on-one coaching services here and drop a comment below to let me know how you liked this post. Until Next Time, Elle