Tag Archives: envelope system

Four One-Off Financial Tips You Should Test Drive

Last week we started talking about some financial goals for 2015. All of them are meant to be specific, measurable, and easy to get started – if you choose to. Last week’s were half hour, tops. Here are a few more suggestions that are one-offs to kind of test drive. All of these will have a significant impact on your finances for this year, and years to come.

Do a seven day no-spending week. We talked about that a few years ago, and I did it for two weeks – twice. I’ll link the story from back then, all of which are always on the yourmoneybook.com site. Essentially, gas up, fill up the fridge, and then spend no money at all for seven days. Pay your normal bills, but nothing else. I learned a ton about where my money leaks out. It’s well worth it, and not hard to do for just a week.  http://moneybookcdn.myblogspace.ca/?p=35

Try an envelope system for any 30-day period. Take the amount of money that you will need for groceries, and for money you spend on yourself for stuff like haircuts, coffee, lunch out, and the likes. Take two envelopes and put that amount of cash into the envelopes. For that one month, you’re only spending on groceries and “me” stuff out of those envelopes, in cash. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and your spending habits. And when the envelope is empty – you’re done spending – and you’ll spend way less than you have been.

Put all your credit cards away for 30 days. No, I’m not asking you to stop breathing. I’m just asking you to see if you can break your stupid spending habits and addiction to credit cards – just for a month. Take your cards, put them in a plastic Ziploc bag, add some water, and put them in the freezer. Or put them in a sealed envelope and give them to a friend or relative that you trust. You’ll be amazed that you’ll spend a lot less money in that month. Plus, your credit card balance will love you for it.

Write down a list of all your debts from the smallest balance to the largest amount, in order. Pay minimum payments on everything but the smallest bill and attack that one with every dollar you can spare. Because it’s the smallest debt, it’ll take only a few months to pay that off in full. Then you’ve freed up all that money to attack the next smallest. It’s a debt snowball that gets traction really quickly. It really is that simple, and it’s a chapter in the It’s Your Money book.

Can You Do One Cash-Flow Statement?

Last week we briefly touched on the fact that gas and groceries keep going up. That makes your expenses go up and harder to save anything.

If all or part of your logical brain knows you’re spending more than you’re earning, that’s frustrating. But you can’t turn it around without a budget. That’s something 95% of people won’t do, because they somehow think it puts them in a straight-jackets. But it’s quite the opposite: A cash-flow statement, even just once, sets you free. You’ll know how much you’re prepared to spend for what each month. You’re not spending an unlimited amount of money that you don’t have groceries, lunch out, or the kids.

The best way is having the cash in a number of jars or envelopes. One envelope will be for groceries and food stuff. Every two weeks, the cash from your pay goes into the envelope. When you go to the store, it’s paid out of that money. When it’s gone – you’re done until the next payday. It works – but will you do it?

Hear me really clearly: You will never have enough money for what you WANT to spend. Never – no matter how much you earn. But you do have enough money for what you need to spend. But you have to manage your money, and not have your money manage you. I guarantee that most of us have a lot of our expenses go to the category of “not really sure.”

Save two weeks of your net pay in a separate emergency account.
Do a cash-flow statement of where your money is going to go for a full month. You’ll be really bad at it for the first three months and then you’ll love it and be really successful with it AND have at least $200 or $300 left over each month compared to right now.

People don’t decide their financial future with specific goal setting. They decide their habits, and their habits determine their financial future.