When I met my husband we were a bit different when it came to spending. I was more of a spend it if you got it, pay check to pay check, pray to God the check clears kind of gal. He was more of a know where every dime of his money was at any given time, spreadsheet budget loving, cash in envelopes in his underwear drawer kind of guy. Just for the record, I wasn’t looking through his underwear drawer, he just told me that.
So when we merged finances, it could have been real ugly. Thankfully, I saw the light and gradually paid off some credit card debt, scaled back on the clothes shopping (ouch), and began to embrace a budget. But the one thing I couldn’t get on board with was the underwear drawer thing. I got on board with the fact he had one, just not the cash in envelope thing.
I realize all the big financial guys say to do it, but to me cash equaled spend. For example, I am not a big Starbucks person. First of all, I don’t drink coffee. Second of all a drink there costs the equivalent of a small house payment. But for some reason, when I have cash in my pocket somehow a chai tea latte sounds divine. I would never put that paltry amount on a card, but have no trouble throwin’ down the $5 in my pocket. Is anyone with me??
Anywho, we have done relatively well with the budgeting thing since we got married except for one area (well besides the fact I feel I should have unlimited financial resources to buy as many outfits I want). We always seem to go over in miscellaneous spending. Who even knows what it all is? Target runs, Lowes for lightbulbs, gifts for an unexpected birthday party, a new tandem bike for trips around the block.
So with the turning of the calendar year, I declared 2008 “The Official Year of Not Going Over Budget in the Miscellaneous Category of Our Budget.” I even had t-shirts made. January, not so much. But I am hear to report that in February, we are $89 under budget. Did you hear that, UNDER BUDGET!!! To what do I attribute this miraculous fact? The underwear drawer. Well, not really…but the cash system. Every week I withdraw the amount we can spend on miscellaneous that month and once it’s gone, it’s gone. Everything else on the budget is still debit card purchased cause I can’t bear to part with that beautiful piece of plastic. It’s so purty.
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