Published on January 16th, 2011 | by Pete0
This is an approach I have adopted recently (I originally stole the idea from my wife – but don’t tell her I agree with her after the months of helpful advice/nagging). The idea is simple. After you have been paid, and have paid all of the bills that you need to, or at least have calculated how much you will be left with after the bills and expenses have been covered, you will be left with a total. Now simply divide this total by the number of weekends before you are next paid, and you will have your weekly budget.
For example, in January 2011, after making sure all my bills and expenses were covered for the month (including petrol, which probably would have gone up by 20p a litre by the time you finish reading this post – grrr) I was left with £60. There are 5 weekends before I am next paid, therefore dividing £60 by 5 leaves me with the sum of £12 per week. This doesn’t sound like a lot. This is because it is not a lot! However, this is the price of getting out of debt, so I will cope. I’m sure there are people who have to survive on less a week, and remember, as all the bills are paid, this is disposable income; so I can spend it on what I want.
OK, so part 2 of this system. It does involve a bit of physical effort, but not that much. Every week (on a Friday for me) I go to the bank and withdraw my weekly budget. I find the advantage of this system, is that when the cash is in my wallet, it is very easy to see how much I have. Before, I would just whip out the old bank card, and then be short later in the month. Having and using the cash makes it feel much more like you are actually spending money.
This system is flexible. I originally planned to have £12 a week. However, if I had no plans one week, and planned a night out another week, I can move some of the budgets around. I might assign myself £6 for week 2 (where there are no plans) and allow myself £18 for week 3 (when I had a night out). This obviously still is £24 over the two weeks, so there is no danger of being overdrawn or short later on. As long as you do a bit of forward planning, and are disciplined in your approach then it really works.
The fundamental part is withdrawing the cash though, as it really makes a huge psychological difference to thinking about how much money you have. It takes the anxiety and worry out of it. If the money is not in your wallet, than the answer is no. Simple. Give it a go, and let me know if it works for you as well as it works for me!