Step One: Budget

So here’s the thing..

I need to work on budgeting; it’s step one of changing my families life for the better. Problem is, something small, thin, and plastic stands in the way of my husband and I being able to budget properly. I’m sure you all know what I am talking about. It is that well meaning debit card.. That lovely thing is so convenient. One never has to worry if they have enough money on hand. Have you run out of money in one account? Oh, that’s fine just transfer the money in via mobile and you are good to go, you won’t even have to step out of line.

The debit card is great when it comes to having the money we need or want readily available to us. However, it has become a detriment to our budget. For example, when I walk into Target (that place where all money goes to burn), I go in for laundry detergent and come out with a cart full of items that Target told me I needed..  I’m usually really excited to go home and show my husband all the wonderful things I’ve purchased for us, and he so graciously says, “That’s awesome honey.” I know what he really means is, “Too bad all we needed was Tide.”

I am typically thrilled about my Target purchase until the next day when I need to purchase something else. It’s habit for me to check the account before every purchase to make sure that I have enough. So if yesterday I saw that I had $450 in the account to spend and now I am down to $175, I am generally pretty pissed off and asking my husband what happened to all the money. Because it’s a part of his nature to be kind, and he truly believes in the happy wife, happy life saying; he never really says to me, “It was you, you idiot.”

When I swipe that card, I am not really concerned with how much I am spending in that moment. It never really occurs to me. When I have cash, I am such a tight wad. I love seeing the cash in my wallet. It depresses my soul to watch it dwindle away. So as my husband and I were sitting and trying to figure out how we were going to truly budget, a light bulb went off.. Envelopes! It’s what I used when I was single, working and living on my own. Whenever my Direct Deposit would hit, I’d go to the bank remove everything except the fee and I would separate my cash into envelopes. I had an envelopes for each individual thing; rent, car note, bills, gas, groceries, savings etc. I put money in each individual envelope starting with the most important. What ever money was left after all the important things were paid, went into an envelope dedicated to me spending it however I choose.

Like I said, I hated watching my money disappear so that money would usually just become another savings for me. My husband agreed, so this is now our new way of budgeting our money. No more going into to Target with more money than I need.  If I know I am going in for tide, I am taking a 20 dollar bill and that’s it! We are officially leaving the debit card world behind, and moving on to cash, cash, cash! It is the most effective way for our family to save money. Step one to changing our lives for the better is a go! On to step two so stay tuned.