Crazy Simple Trick to Always Keep You on Budget
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When I started the process of reworking the way my household handles our finances, there was a trick that I started using and that I still continue to use today. This little trick has month after month successfully kept me on a budget, so I thought I’d take today’s post to share it with you guys, in hope that it can help you too!
Before I tell you what it is though, I just want to say that the way I tackle managing my finances and the tools I recommend to you guys, is just what works for me. It may not necessarily be the best fit for your situation, there are definitely other ways to approach budgeting.
If you want to give this a try though, what you really need to do before using this tool is to first sit down and gather up all your monthly expenses and create a budget. I have a great FREE printable that can help you with all of this.
After you’re done doing that then you should be ready to use this little trick. Are you ready? Here it is….
Stop using your credit cards and debit cards and start using the cash envelope system!
What is the cash envelope system?
The cash envelope system is just what it sounds like. It’s where every month you write out your budget, instead of using your credit cards and bank cards to pay for things you use cash that you’ve placed in an envelope for that specific category you’ve budgeted.
Here’s why the cash envelope system is so successful.
When we use plastic cards to pay for everything, we don’t really think of it as money, it’s not as real to you because it’s not tangible, and the amount you’re paying for things become less easy to visualize.
Think about this for a second. Let’s say you’re at the grocery store and you’ve gotten everything you’ve written down on your list, but you’ve also thrown in a few other things that weren’t like a cute shade of lipstick or a new video game.
Now you’re at the register and the cashier tells you your total of $234, so you reach into your purse or wallet and pull out the envelope labeled for groceries and you’ve only got $200 in there because that’s how much you’ve budgeted for groceries.
What are you going to do?
You’ll be forced to put some of those unnecessary purchases back.
Now picture if you were to pull out your debit or credit card that you use for all your purchases. Even if you made that budget that allotted for only $200, you could still easily charge the $234 to your card because all your money is in that account, including the money you’ve budgeted for other expenses.
Now you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul. Not good.
The cash envelope system also forces you to keep track of your spending and be more aware of how much money you actually have in your account, rather than being surprised by the number when you occasionally decide to look at your account balances.
Another reason this system works is that it now makes your budget tangible. You become much more aware of the fact that you’re about to spend $234 on groceries than if you were to swipe your card.
That stack of bills your handing over starts to look awfully high all of a sudden. This causes you to rethink how you’ve viewed your money in the past and allows you to make smarter purchases in the future.
Now I realize that carrying physical money around with you might be unsettling. So if you don’t want to haul around your money every day this method can still work with a small adjustment.
You’ll still carry an envelope around with you for those particular expenses and on the front of the envelope you’ll track what your balance is, and every time you swipe your card you’ll write down the amount you spent and the new balance.
I’d even recommend keeping the actual card in the envelope that way you’re forced to take the envelope out and read your current balance before you actually make any purchases.
That’s it for this post, you guys. Be sure to take advantage of my Budget Worksheet, Daily Agenda, and Account Tracker printables I’m making available to you guys absolutely FREE. Trust me they will really help you in the organization process, and save you a lot of stress!
Let me know in the comments below if you enjoy these types of posts in the comments below and I’ll be sure to keep creating more content like this for you guys!
Thanks for joining me on the blog today and if you have any questions leave me a comment below, I always try to reply to any questions I get. Or just say hi, I love to get to know my readers and make new friends here on the blog!!
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