What did I do? I took a look at my last few months of spending on Mint to determine what my usual spending in a few key categories (food, car, fun, shopping, health, etc.) was. Those numbers were definitely too high. I averaged them out, multiplied by a factor of .9 to try and curb some spending, then further reduced them by rounding down to prettier numbers. Let's say that left me with a goal of spending $1000/month, or $250/week. (Note: rent and bills were excluded from this because they have to get paid, regardless of what I do with the rest of my money.) I then further divided that $250 into the above referenced categories and withdrew cash from the ATM.
|The money always starts off in carefully segregated sections.. Do I mix it if it suits me? Perhaps..|
At the end of the first week, I can say that I definitely have already cheated. Mom came to town, so we ate out more than I would have on my own, and since approximately 60% of our activities revolved around shopping, I ended up splurging while out. Fortunately, I only went over my budget for shopping and food by a couple of dollars in each, and I just stole the money from another category. I don't think the cash budget police (can you imagine if they were real? I'd have a lot more money to my name-- or be in a really strange jail) will come and get me, but my budgeting integrity took a hit. All in all, I came in under budget. If I manage to keep this up for a few more weeks, I might be able to actually afford a new computer that I inevitably plan to purchase anyway. Fingers crossed!