My #1 Trick to Always Stick to Your Budget
I will be the first to tell you that I am AWFUL at making and sticking to a budget. I don’t write checks very often as I have a tendency to forget that I wrote it and not write it in my check register. I use my debit card for everything, and make sure I have an envelope with me at all times to put the receipt into. I then schedule a time each week to transfer all of my receipts into my checkbook register.
My #1 tip?
I just don’t give myself access to any money.
Ok- it’s not really my budget. I do have one. Problem is that my City Spouse and I live our financial lives separately. Not the best for our sanity or our marriage, but our upbringing and money concepts and habits are too different to compromise on this. I was raised poor, when if you didn’t have the money, you went without. He was raised that credit and debt are okay when managed properly. If I didn’t keep our money separated, then I guarantee that we would be divorced due to fighting over it. (Seriously…. and I love him too much to let something so dumb ruin us.)
So when I say I don’t give myself access to any money, I just mean that I allot a specified amount (usually one paycheck a month) into my checking account, and everything else goes into my savings. And unless it’s a justifiable emergency, I blatantly refuse to take ANY money out of my savings account.
Honestly. Let me tell you a story about my dads issues with owing money to ANYONE.
I was probably around 7 at the time, so early 80’s. My dad has always driven trucks. At the time it was a necessary thing as our home was heated by burning wood, and the truck was dad’s only means to get heat to our home. (He cut the wood himself. So, there were no real costs to him other than breaking his back cutting, loading, then unloading it and stacking it.). Well, the truck he was using was breaking down. Not just mechanically, but the floorboards were so rusted out that my momma put her foot down and refused to allow us kids to get into the darned thing. So to pacify Mom, Dad went looking for a new truck. He found one, but it was more than he had budgeted for. For some reason, he decided to get it and make payments on it. Typical way to purchase a vehicle right? Not for Dad. He made the first 3 or so payments and couldn’t handle owning someone money. So he worked like a mad man both at work and doing side jobs and paid it all off. He couldn’t deal with the idea of being indebted to anyone.
He was the same with his house. He only bought it with a 20 year mortgage and paid it off in under 10.
So my concept of money and credit is slightly different than most other people’s due to how my dad was with money and debt.
In other words, if I have to go into debt to buy something, I don’t buy it.
It’s not a real difficult concept, although in today’s “Look at me” culture, it’s hard to not want the newest stuff. But really… it’s STUFF. I’m not going to remember in 6 months what I bought even though right now I “have to have it!”. If I want something, I save up for it. If I still want it when I have the cash to buy it, then I purchase it. Until then, I make due and appreciate the things that I do have.
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