Last night I had a funny/odd moment.
I have been used one of these Dave Ramsey envelope systems, in one form or another, since late Sept. So, 3 months. I bought this deluxe envelope system a couple weeks ago, and it is all pretty and red, like a big wallet. I buy food and shampoo and take out and gas and whatnot at stores all over the city and suburbs. No one has even commented or seemed to notice my dorkish fishing in envelopes for cash, or said envelopes covered in my chicken scratch math. So I have kind of forgotten how odd it may appear.
Except when I stand in line at stores and watch the people ahead of me in line go *swipe*swipe*swipe*swipe*. And the complete lack of actual money changing hands. They are the ones that look odd to me, frankly.
Anyhoo, last night I stopped at CVS for 2 quick necessities and I finally got to the register, the youngish man behind the counter rang up my two meager items. Yep I had 2 items on my list to get, and I bought just those two items, despite all the clearance temptations.
Usually I might have some cash pulled while I am awaiting my turn but it was late and I was tired. Since it was the night before payday, I had to make sure I took the cash from the proper envelope. I am pretty lazy about this. I actually take cash out from wherever at the moment, usually my Food envelope since it's the one on top and the one with the most cash in usually. I keep the receipt, and later write down the amount, re-substract, and reshuffle my bills later, when more convenient. But, the night before payday the Food envelope is very slim (as it should be). The point being, I opened up my Fake Wallet and went to the correct envelope in the center, and pulled out the correct amount to pay.
The youngish man behind the counter made a comment about this. I can't even remember word for word, I was that spacey and tired. But it was along the lines of, "What are all those dividers for?"
To which I replied, something like, I divide up my money into different categories. Or somethingmumblemumble.
And he then commented, "Oh so you take the money out of the different sections based on what you're buying?"
And I said yes.umhm.mmumblemumble....
Then the magic moment. He said: "Seems like a lot of work."
Oh there are sooooo many things I could have said to that. But in my befuddled state, I just said quietly [oh this is rich]
"Well, everyone has their hobbies."
And we moved on.
I got back in my car and I revived a bit, thinking of all the things I could have said, and did not. Because, fair point. Compared to *swipe*swipe*swipe*swipe* this seems like "a lot of work." I guess so.
I have already mentioned how it is in large part purposeful to make spending "more work" than Ye Olde *swipe*swipe*swipe*swipe*. And that works for me. Because it is a bit more of a bother for me than just whipping out a card and swiping it (and then wondering what the hell I bought and why I have no money), I don't do it as cavalierly or as often. I don't spend as easily. Which is The Point.
I've had people tell me they can't use cash, because cash runs through their hands like water, because with their credit or debit card they can see their transactions and track their spending. Well, I can't. I look at $92 at Target from 2 weeks ago and I have no freaking clue what I bought. Heck I look at a receipt from Walgreens from just a few days ago, and sometimes I can't decipher the little codes for the items I have purchased. Not to mention the gas station purchases, that I think are for gas, but they are for gas and... You know gas....and coffee, gas...and lunch, gas...and lottery tickets, gas...and and and. Then I wonder why I have to spend so much on gas every month.
The other thing is, cash also runs through my hands like water... when I have it randomly stuffed into a pocket of my purse or a pocket of a wallet, jammed in with coupons, receipts, business cards, stamps, and whatever other flotsam and jetsam I have in there.
You know when it doesn't? When it's labelled. When it's divided up. When every dollar has a little nametag. When I go to CVS and I look in my PERSONAL envelope for money, and I ignore the GAS envelope, the HEALTH envelope, the FOOD envelope, and so on. And when I look at the outside of the envelope, and it says EXACTLY how much cash is in that envelope, and I know that is the actual amount I have.
No, cash does not run through my hands like water, when it's like that.
But the point... is it work? I guess. A little bit more effort. But here is it Thursday before new years, and my written budget for January is completed. It was pretty easy because I just took my December budget, made a copy, wrote in the new due dates, and fussed a bit with some of the more fluid categories. I always spend the same amount on Food. I always give myself $25 to Blow. I had to figure out my Car category a bit more, because I need money for an oil change on top of just gas this month. I had a lot of money for Gifts in December, and I am putting a small amount in there in January, to carry over so I can build it up for birthdays this year. Because I am going to the dentist again, my savings is very low in January, and I am not putting any money into Clothes. Which sucks, because February is a great time to shop. But I need the dentist more.
Other than that.. it was pretty much the same as last month.
Today is also payday. I brought my lunch so I haven't spent any money today... except. Except that I opened my spreadsheet, and I went to the website for each of the bills listed on it, logged in, and paid the amount I had indicated to pay for the first half of January. And now I am done.
I guess it is a bit more effort. But I don't mind. It's like the person who lives in a messy house visiting the person who lives in the tidy house, and commenting that it seems like an awful lot of extra work to actually be washing dishes, vacuuming, and picking up dirty clothes off the floor. As opposed to...? Laying on the sofa reading a good book. Hey I love laying on the sofa reading a good book. I'll be doing that tonight for sure.
I guess my point is, having a nice home is always going to be more effort than having a filthy, messy home. Having clean clothes to wear is always more work than shlumping around in 3 day old pj pants. Writing this blog is always more work than not. It just depends on how you want to spend your time.
Personally, I like rifling through my money. My actual money. it's fun for me. I like seeing the debt numbers going down, the savings numbers going up. I like it. It's not work to me, just because there is some effort.
But damn, yes, I do want a Kindle. Bad.
So I just signed up on the website to TAKE THE CLASS. Take it again! I have a permanent membership so I can go to any class, any time, any where.
Did you know you can attend the first class for FREE? Yep. you register online for the class you want (just search by zip code to find one in your area), then you show up that day/night. You watch the first lesson, you meet other people, you talk about your reasons for being there, your concerns, or you just listen. If you want to take the rest of the 12 weeks, then you can buy a membership kit. But one thing at a time.
Did I mention new classes are starting in January and you can go to the first class for FREE?
Photo: Dave Ramsey Deluxe Envelope System in red. From DaveRamsey.com. Jan 2012. LINK