It’s nearing the end of the month, which means it’s time to check in on my envelope method progress.
It went well! I spent more than I’d intended to, but for my first attempt at cutting back I did a really good job.
I withdrew all the spending cash that I was allowed to use up in a two week period and then I gave myself a budget of $20 a day, which would spread that cash out over the two weeks. Anything I wanted, including food, had to come from that budget. I’m sure this is true of most places, but in New York City specifically, it is so easy to blow $20 without even noticing you did.
So, keeping my cash for the two weeks in physical form all in one place really did help me to have an idea of where and how I was spending my money. It made me realize that using that damn debit card can really add up. It’s so easy to just quickly swipe it for a $9 lunch or a $7 cab ride. It’s so much harder, though, to dig into my wallet, pull out the actual cash, and pay someone half of what’s in there for something I probably don’t even need.
It goes without saying that one of the simplest ways I was able to make this happen was by committing to buying food at the store and eating the food I bought. It worked. In the last two weeks, I spent a fraction of what I usually spend on food and I felt less wasteful too. Sure, I occasionally bought food when I was out, but not to the extent I usually do.
One night, Sunday night, I was met with a new scenario. I don’t often go out on the town, but I’d planned to on Sunday night. I knew it would cost me more than the $20 I’d allotted for myself, especially since I’d already spent some of it during the day. So I had to dip into the following day’s funds in order to cover it. But it worked out just fine. I cut back the next day, and it all evened out. Usually, I would have spent whatever I wanted or needed to on Sunday night. And then I wouldn’t have realized or even considered that I should compensate for my splurge by spending a bit less the next day. As a formerly overweight person, I do it all the time with calories – consume more one day and less the next. It’s how I’ve been able to maintain my weight loss and still enjoy myself. But I’ve never thought before about trying to relate that way to my money too.
The point is, I saved a few bucks in these last couple weeks. And that feels good. I’m gearing up to try it for another two weeks and hoping I can make a few more adjustments. My next plan is to be a billionaire by the time this experiment is over.