Thursday, June 23, 2011

Starting Out With Savings... Part 4

Over the last few days, I've been focussed on the macro of our budget.

Now I want to look at the micro - my stuff!

I am in charge of groceries, petrol for the car and taking car of any appointments or activities that I want to do.

I now have a system for managing this.

Each week, I have a set amount for 'my stuff'. It looks something like this:

- $100 for groceries and household cleaning etc
- $50 for 'fun' - we can use this to go out for dinner, to see a movie etc.
- $50 for petrol - we both live close to work and only have one car so $50 is enough most weeks to get where we need to go. Any left over grocery money would be diverted here each week.
- $100 for me and $100 for Awesome. This is to pay for phyiso on my back, to buy little bits and pieces that come up each week. If I want something specific, like new shoes, I save what's left each week and go shopping when I have enough.
This is probably the hardest part of this system.

We are a generation of instantaneous gratification.
We love to have stuff.

I think it is entirely healthy to wait. We learn to appreciate what we have. To take care of it. To make do.

I kind of want an ipad. I've been playing with one for weeks. But the reality is it can only do what my computer already does. Except I can do it in the lounge room. Really? We don't have to be slaves to this stuff. If someone wants to give me their number, I don't have to 'bump' their phone. I can write it down. Call them later. On the phone I already own... hmmm anyway, end rant..

Because I am an extremely visual person, I needed something tangible to help me manage the cash. Enter the cash envelope system. I found these online. They are beautiful, and if I had the money for them, I would have bought them right away. I usually do. But I can sew. So, I made my own. I don't want to steal beauty that moves' thunder though, so if you want them, you can go to her etsy shop.

The idea is that you use what is in the envelope. When it runs out... you stop buying.

Pretty simple concept. Let's see how long we go with this!

Are you a cash person, or do you prefer to whip out the card?


  1. I really agree that we are all too used to instant gratification. I never think to save up for something, I just buy what I want when I want it. This probably stems back to not working from a budget ... That means that a set amount of savings isn't being put away each week and there is just a lump sum leftover to SPEND on whatever, without knowing where it needs to be allocated.

    Waiting to buy something, and reviewing whether you even need to buy that thing is definitely a good thing.

  2. When I first started working I did do the cash thing for a bit, the only problem was I'm very forgetful and would often forget to take the money when I needed it! It might be worth trying again though!

  3. I hate cash, only use credit but when we are tight on money we just stop buying anything that's not absolutely necessary (although apparently Lego can at times be a necessity!). If you use credit like we do the only difference is that I get extra interest on the money which is left in my bank for an extra 45 days and I get frequent flyer points (which have got me 3 overseas holidays in the past 7 years).

    So I'm a big fan of the credit card but you have to be able to use it like that for it to work. Otherwise good on you for chopping it up :)