The plan is actually quite simple. When I think of it, it’s just this:
Spend only $75 a week.
I don’t have to think about commands like Pay rent, Pay bills, Put gas in car. Those are all things I just do because I know I need to do them. Those are easy.
More difficult commands: Don’t go out to eat with your coworkers for lunch. Don’t get a cinnamon dolce latte with soy.
I know I said in the last post: it’s easier to avoid impulsive buying when you put things in perspective. That’s still true. The grande CDL would cost me 10% of my $40 for groceries, so no I’m not buying that. Yeah, I’m satisfied with myself for making The Right Decision. But of course I’m still salty because I’m craving some overpriced espresso in my mouth. Maybe the next day I do splurge and get a CDL. And maybe I get a bagel with cream cheese too. It’s a wild world, anything can happen.
So let’s recall another thing I said:
It gets really difficult to spend money when you don’t have any of it.
So this is my plan to stick to the plan.
Every paycheck I take out $150 in cash. This is my spending money for the next two weeks (I actually get paid twice monthly, so really I gotta make it last a little more than two weeks).
I split the $150 into 2 chunks of $75, one chunk per week. I leave one bundle at home – I don’t touch it until week 1 is through.
I split the active $75 into $40 and $35. I try to go grocery shopping as early as possible and I try to stay within $40. If I go over, I pull from the $35.
Whatever’s left after I buy groceries, I call it my allowance. This is money for me to spend as I please. Of course, I’ll only have an allowance if I’m saving from my flexible expenses (more efficient grocery shopping). Having this allowance lets me go ahead and get that acai bowl if I really want it. Budgeting is like dieting – a trainer once told me: you can give yourself a cheat meal, just don’t give yourself a cheat week.
TL;DR: Only carry your allowed spend. And carry it in cash.
The idea here is that I won’t spend more than $75/week because I won’t have any more than my weekly allowance on me. As I spend it away, my cash on hand dwindles, and I tangibly experience my spending.
This plan for a plan is not perfect. Of course I could lose willpower and dig into next weeks funds. I could get really messed up and use plastic (gasp!). But this plan-ception’s got some good logic behind it, and I think it can work.
Okay, so you might be asking: But Jasmine, what about your expenses? What about your debt?
Calm down. My expenses and my debts are getting paid, I promise.
Next post: Taking advantage of Autopay to pay down your debt.