Confession Corner: I don’t like budgets. I’m no good at them.
Call me whiny if you must…budgets are my own personal frenemy. They can be complicated and unrealistic, with spreadsheets and numbers and categories (and lions, and tigers, and bears), oh my! To be honest with you, I don’t have time for that.
I have time for simple…in all areas of life.
Over the years we have started multiple budgets, and in some seasons we’re great sticking with it. In others, not so much.
But this….this, my friends, is our #1 overly-simply budgeting strategy that always works every time:
We pay cash for everything.
For us at least, it really is as simple as that.
I wish I could say I came up with this gem, but I didn’t. Paying cash for everything has been around forever. In fact, it’s probably too simple. Our grandparents managed their money like this on the reg.
Nevertheless, it works.
So how exactly does this work?
a) We pay all our bills immediately upon receiving our paycheck
b) Pull the rest out as cash
Even if we don’t have a “formal” budget set up with specific categories for where our money should go, as long as we pull out our remaining money in cash, we are able to much more easily and effortlessly stretch our money to last as long as possible.
But here’s the kicker: we have to withdraw our remaining money immediately. Otherwise, it doesn’t happen. Eventually (usually later on that very day) one of us will need to make a purchase. If our money hasn’t been taken out yet we end up using the debit card, and thus begins the downward spiral of frivolously spending our money away. Therefore to avoid this, the day we get paid I pay our bills and head straight to the bank.
This simple tip works so well that when we are able to pay cash for everything, we actually end up saving money!
It truly doesn’t make sense when I put pencil to paper. We have the same amount of money whether we use the debit card or cash, but for some reason if we pull our money out to spend as cash each month,we automatically spend much less. My theory behind this is that it’s so much more painful to spend actual physical money verses simply swiping the debit or credit card. We seem to be much more careful with how we spend our money when we can actually see it going somewhere.
It also removes the guesswork portion of budgeting and saving money, and makes everything overall much more straightforward and much less stressful. If your bank account has already been “dealt with” so to speak, you don’t have to continually check it’s status. Since everything has been paid from the start and you’ve already pulled out all your cash, there’s no questions to be asked. If you have it, you can spend it. If not, you don’t get to spend it. Simple. Straightforward. Done. Anytime I have an opportunity to use less of my brainpower in a given day, the better. Doesn’t matter what it’s for, if my brain can rest, it will always be a win in my book. (see this post for why. cough::kids::cough).
Using cash for everything has saved our sanity and our bank account. These days, this is how we roll. (Anyone else break out into that Florida Georgia Line song just now? No? Just me?) . We know that if we just do this one simple thing every single month, even if we don’t stick to a “formal” budget, we are still spending significantly less and possibly even saving additional money that we wouldn’t have saved if we had left our money in our account.
I’m all for simple and easy over here – especially for our budget.
Do you have a simple budgeting tip that works? Please share it in the comments!
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