My husband and I are working hard to save money, get out of debt, and hopefully buy a house within the next few years. We are good at budgeting, and we’re getting much better at saving. Here is my money tip of the day to help you get on track with us!
Today’s tip: Leave credit and debit cards at home. Do not take them with you when you leave the house.
Here are the facts: you absolutely have to have a budget if you’re going to get out of debt and save money, it is a must. Your budget should include a small weekly spending allowance so that you have a few extra bucks in your pocket for wants or needs. You should already have a full tank of gas, because you budgeted for it and filled up the tank. So why do you need to take your debit card with you anywhere? “Just in case?”
This is the thinking that leads to wasteful spending. There are very few scenarios that require you to finish that sentence with “I really need it for something important.”
Case in point: When you make your weekly budget, plan for what you will need to spend when you’re out of the house that week (groceries, oil change, a coffee date, new work shoes, whateva). Put that cash in your wallet, leave the rest of your money in the bank, and leave your magical plastic debit and credit cards in the drawer at home.
If you go $20 over your grocery budget and you don’t have enough cash, then put a few things back. Sounds embarrassing, right? Well, it shouldn’t be. Your money is designated for very specific things, and every time you accidentally go $20 over budget, you take money away from what could have been your savings. A healthy savings account is waaaaay more important than the way you look to a complete stranger behind a cash register. Believe me.
Today’s tip in action: I pay all of my bills online during the first week of the month, with the debit cards. My husband and I fill up both of our gas tanks, with the debit cards.
Now, the bills are paid, the gas tanks are full, and we just need groceries. It works out well almost 90% of the time, unless my husband gets a speeding ticket (like he did last week), at which point I recalculate our budget and call him names (I’m kidding…sort of).
Our weekly grocery budget is $100 and our weekly allowance is $20 each. It might sound like a super small amount of money, but remember, we are saving for a house here, not trying to live like royalty. So, each week on pay day, we take $140 total out of the bank (our groceries and spending allowance), and the rest of our paychecks stay at home, on the magical plastic debit cards, in the drawer.
We have learned that there are relatively few necessities or emergencies that require us to pull those cards out of the drawer, unless it is something we specifically budget for. And this little money-saving tip has really transformed our spending habits! We aren’t wasteful, we aren’t thoughtless spenders, and we have a little money set aside for a rainy day. It is such a freeing feeling. We are far from rich, but we have all that we need and we are preparing for the future, all because of our hard work and our intentional spending habits.
Little things like this will help you to get out of debt and get money into savings. I know, because it is working for me! If you missed last week’s money tip, you can find it HERE. And you can follow our journey on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and here on the BLOG.