I can’t remember if I’ve blogged about this yet or not, but just in case here’s rule #27 on the J. Money “List of Money Rules“:
Any money in my pocket is allowed to be spent however I please
Haha… and it’s probably one of my favorites :) It sounds wasteful – and maybe it is if not done correctly – but it’s the ONE area in my finances that I allow myself to be more willy nilly and not count it down to every last penny. Something that I used to obsess about as a kid growing up, and not in the way that’s productive either (i.e. I’d hoard every single dollar and never want to use up any of it, even if I was allowed to or was required to do so… something I’m still haunted to this day about, when I hear the echoes of my mother calling me “stingy” and “an old man with his money!”).
I know a lot of you like to track your money down to every last nickel and dime, and that’s totally cool! – I respect that – but what I’ve realized over the years is that if I personally try and do that in every single aspect of my financial life, I tend to veer off towards wacko-ville. My brain just doesn’t have the energy to track everything at all times, so I budget in a little “gray area” to allow myself to decompress a bit (others may call this the “random” category?).
And I stress the “budgeting it in” part too because of course you DO need to know where all your money’s going in general, but it doesn’t mean you can’t siphon off a little and throw it into a newer, more relaxed, environment. This one here being the “whatever’s needed at the time” fund, sprinkled with some “spontaneous packs of gum or a beautiful bag of marbles.” (Otherwise known as Rule #27.)
And Rule #27 also states that this money will be limited in size, and also help out Rule #13: Always have cash on hand. And this is how the rules are enacted: Every pay period I take out $200 in cash from the ATM (my “pay periods” are now once a month since being self-employed, revised from the $100 a paycheck schedule every 2 weeks) , and that money is to be used for anything that it’s needed for throughout the month – no questions asked. And it’s very much intended to be vague ;)
Most months I run through it, especially if I’m traveling or hanging out a lot with friends (why does that always happen?), but either way once I’m flat out, I’m out. The pockets will have to wait ’till the next pay period again in order to be refilled. And there are plenty of times the money carries into the following months too – which means I not only get to save a little bit more unexpectedly, but I also take out the appropriate amount less the next time around… Which awesomely happened last month as I’ve been becoming more of a cave man here lately inside my Blogger Lair ;)
I don’t know if any of you have portions sectioned off like this too, but if you don’t, it may be something to consider (IF you are good with managing your money, of course – if you don’t trust yourself, keep on tracking every last penny to the drop!). It hasn’t solved all my obsessing problems, or my plans for being less of a Money Freak for that matter, but it HAS helped me relax a little more and pay attention to the BIGGER stuff at hand. I think the key is mastering all sides of the equation.
Do you have any similar rules to your own budgeting or day-to-day spending? I’m curious to see if I’m alone in this one… I’m gonna guess no? ;)
(Awesome photo by katerha)