Monday, June 16, 2014

Budget Update

So I'm a little over two weeks into my new budget. I've decided to "pay myself" with my envelopes every pay period. It makes it a little difficult since some pay periods are longer than the others, but I'm trying it this month and I'll tweak things from there if needed. For instance, I have to go back to using my card for gas after this month. It's just so easier for me to keep track of (the light doesn't work when I'm low on gas) and I like filling up my tank completely. Some months are different than others and I'll use more or less gas, but it's usually in the same ballpark each month. Gas was the first of my spending envelopes that I emptied, but I had enough gas.

I was curious to see after one week how my new budget affected my spending habits. Since I've been tracking my spending for a while now, I added up how much I spent on "extras" in the first seven days in January through May. (Extras would be things like eating out, shopping, etc.) When I compared that to what I spent the first seven days of June, I was shocked. I spent 45% of my average spending from those first five months.

The first week was definitely an adjustment. I'm so used to swiping my debit card and now I'm having to count out bills and coins. In fact, I was at Chick-Fil-A and gave the cashier 35 cents when it was 34 cents. She asked me if I wanted my penny back and I practically exclaimed YES! I don't want to start counting pennies, but in a way, I am. Every penny counts in a budget!

I decided to add another envelope--miscellaneous. I guess this will just be a catch all for my other purchases because it dawned on me that I needed somewhere to get money for the random things that don't fit into the other categories. I want to start sending people notes and cards just to say hello or for their birthday and I need an envelope for that. I want a the new Pure Barre tumbler (mostly because it will fit in my cup holder) and I don't have an envelope for that. You get it, it's just for things that aren't clothes or food basically.

So far, I think the hardest thing for me has been the envelopes that I haven't been using as much. When you budget, you have to think in terms of the future and not just the here and now, so that's certainly an adjustment. I gave myself an envelope for clothes and I did actually buy two pairs of sandals from Target this month (thank you buy 1, get one 50% off sale!), but I haven't been shopping a whole lot lately. I know that there will come a day when I need something or I really want something, but right now that money is just sitting there not being used. (And I could have drinks on the patio with that money!) That could possibly be a sign that I'm giving myself too much money for clothes each month, but June is just a trial run and I'm willing to move some numbers around after the first thirty days.

I have to admit that I went to two different restaurants within the first week with my debit card in my pocket, with every intention to spend off the budget. The first time, I was meeting a friend at Chipotle who had said he had a two-for-one coupon. I wasn't sure how the payment of the "one" would be, so I had it just in case. He ended up paying for it. The second time, I went to brunch and took my card because I knew my individual tab would be around $30 (thanks to $13 bottomless mimosas!). Even though I had plenty of money in my dining out envelope both times, I still took my card. I think the second time I was concerned that I would use the rest of the money in that envelope and still have 6 days left. Once again, someone picked up my tab and I didn't actually use my card, but I need to stop doing that. And interestingly enough, I ended up with nearly 1/3 of my dining out cash still in the envelope by pay day!


  1. I always take my card with me because I'm nervous to not have it just in case!

  2. The card is "insurance" but it's kind of amazing how you stick to your cash on hand when the card is at home. Same with the grocery story - makes it a bit more work, but if you round up and add your stuff as you throw it in the cart, you can pay with cash on hand from the envelope and stay on budget. And I agree, a "Misc." envelope is a must - too many "around the house things" happen that aren't accounted for in other envelopes!