One of the things I appreciate about personal finance is there are so many different budgeting techniques, it’s not a one size fits all type of thing. Which, I really appreciate given my Latina heritage. Does anyone else have the larger bottom thing going on?
Anyhoo, with my upcoming trip to Israel this summer, I’m back to bleeding cash left and right! Earlier this year it was buying everything needed for an apartment that was 100% mine and now it’s buying everything needed for a study abroad program in a country where it’s really hot yet women can’t show much skin. Did I mention we’re spending a good amount of time walking everywhere?
From having to buy outlet converters for my electronics to buying a Camelbak, traveling is certainly not cheap. However, it’s the trip and opportunity of a lifetime so I can’t complain. But, while struggling to pay for an expensive study abroad program, I still need to be able to hold the fort down at home. With this in mind, I am going back to budgeting basics ala Dave Ramsay even though he once called me a moron on a social media channel. I forgive you Dave!
Dave Ramsay and all of his followers are very big on something known as the “envelope system.” The envelope system is basically pulling cash out for the week or month and putting it in envelopes labeled for specific items, such as gas, groceries, etc. Each month you can decide the amount of money to stick inside your envelope and use it when purchasing your items. After you have spent your allotted amount in that envelope, it’s gone. Finished. Finito. And you can’t spend any more and will have to figure out how to make do. Of course, you could just pull out your debit or credit card but that fully defeats the purpose of the envelopes. Stick to your envelopes people!
Some people prefer different variations of this system and some people don’t like this at all. I myself usually prefer to use a debit card since I feel I have a pretty good feel for my budget and this way can’t lose or misplace cash. However, I have been pretty swipey lately and haven’t been a good steward of using things up, mainly groceries. I still don’t eat out as much as I used to back in the day but I have been almost lately. I blame summer. The amount of food waste is alarming for someone with just a cat so I wanted to work on this as well as asking myself if I really truly need an item or can find a cheaper way to amuse myself.
I will be pulling $150 out for the week until I leave for Israel later this summer to live off of. This amount will be covering my groceries, gas, misc items and fun. Misc items in my budget are usually things I don’t buy too often such as household, hygiene and beauty products. My prescriptions will not be included in this amount even though I just dropped $300 on asthma medicine today (#affordablecaremybooty). Fun is hanging out with friends, such as movies, bottles of wine ( mmm wine), going out to eat and anything of entertainment value, like buying books or renting a film. I won’t be including my Netflix subscription or Spotify since those are monthly. I don’t even pay for cable people or own a television so don’t throw stones!
As of writing this Sunday evening, I can already say leaving the house with $150 was definitely challenging. I came across a hair care product I love on clearance and walked around the store and eventually put it back. I couldn’t find it in myself to spend $25 when I still had some left at home, although after further inspection not a lot. Also put back on the shelf was lemonade. I haven’t bought juice in a long time and was really craving some at the grocery store. However, I put it back since I would rather use that $4 towards a margarita with friends during happy hour. Trade offs people!
Wish me luck. Are you on a strict budget too?