As the end of the month approaches, I’ve found myself absolutely dreading putting together my month-end budget report.
It’s not that I don’t want to see the numbers of how much I spent in each category. I already know I’m going to be over in a few categories – entertainment (like always), clothes and hair (like always), groceries (by about $5), and household (by about $20). Instead I’m dreading putting it together because of the amount of time it takes to crunch all the numbers from my cash spending envelope and the amounts I spent on my debit card when my cash ran out. That’s time I could be using to put together higher quality content for this site or for one of my many freelance jobs. It’s time I could be spending with friends or family, or even just catching up on
I also know that’s not the way it should be. I should STOP SPENDING when my cash runs out, but lately I’ve been turning to my debit card more and more. This makes my spending get out of control that much faster, and it makes it that much harder to put together my budget report because there are a lot more transactions running through my account that I have to sort through each month. Therefore, I’m going to be making a couple of changes to the way I budget and spend money.
Cash Only Spending
I’ve tried using cash only in the past with some success. I’d do great for a while and then I’d eventually put my debit card back in my wallet to make a specific purchase and afterward I’d come up with some excuse as to why I should just keep it in there all the time. Usually it was some variation of “just in case” or “just for an emergency”. In reality, I could just run home and get my debit card if I really needed it to make a purchase. My town is small enough that it only takes about 5 minutes to get to my house from any point in town. My carrying my debit card was just a lazy habit.
The other problem I’ve had with cash spending lately is that I’ve been stealing from one envelope to fund another when I run short. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. On one hand it makes it difficult to know exactly how much I spent on each category, I only know that the cash is gone. On the other hand, is that such a bad thing? As long as I don’t overspend my cash anymore or steal from the cash savings I have for house maintenance/repairs and car maintenance/repairs who really cares where the cash is being used? What’s your opinion on this? I need a little guidance.
Another thing I’m going to change is my budget template. I’m going to try to narrow down the categories in my budget template because there are just too darn many to track right now. I shouldn’t be stressing out about the time it’ll take to put together my month-end spending report, but lately I have been and that’s just silly! There are plenty of other, more important things, to stress out about besides tracking my spending. I still think tracking your spending is a helpful tool if you are trying to get out of debt or save up for a major goal, but I don’t think it should be such a long progress.
Hopefully the combination of switching back to cash only and narrowing the list of categories will help me spend less money and therefore have less to track and report each month.
Can you think of anything else to help me with this? Do you get stressed out about budgeting? Am I crazy? Haha, don’t answer that last one. 🙂