Like many, I have soft spot for the old ways of doing things. It is a luxury of our modern lives that we can speculate about how much simpler life was when our Grandparents were starting out as young married couples.
Budgeting was a necessity then, as the pay check had to last the family for the whole month. There were no credit cards or online loan companies to sweeten the weeks between pay day. There was much less of a ‘buy it now and pay for it later’ culture. Items were saved for in advance and treasured when they were finally purchased. People valued what they had.
The concept of having housekeeping money, to buy all food and necessities for the house has waned. Indeed, I had one main bank account that everything come out of. Food, clothing, household bills, nights out and holidays were all paid for from here. This meant that it was difficult to keep a track on what I was spending where and I often got to the end of the month not being entirely sure where my money had gone.
I had heard about the Dave Ramsey’s envelope system http://www.daveramsey.com/article/dave-ramseys-envelope-system/lifeandmoney_budgeting/. This is a paper based system where you set a budget for various areas of your life at the start of each month. You then create envelopes for each of these areas and put cash matching your budget into each envelope. When the cash had gone, there is no more spending.
This sounded a little too draconian for me, particularly as so much of my expenditure is online. However, I did come across an Iphone App that did a similar thing. Over the last few months, I have been allocating sums each month and logging each time I spent across the categories. This wouldn’t work for everyone, but as I enjoy lists and systems it allowed me to track my spending. As part of my aim to ‘Live more consciously’, knowing where I spend and how I feel about this is important.
By understanding the miscellaneous purchases, my clothing diet and thinking about my wants vs needs, I have reduced my superfluous spending significantly. This has allowed me to use the money much more in line with my aspirations.
So, living more consciously has enabled me to experience new things and have more fun. A success all round!