Spend Challenge. I know everyone has a unique money journey and my plan may be different than others. Every once in a while I feel it’s good to share where I am at in my journey. In hopes that it inspires someone else to think about their own budget. This year I am trying to save! (As best I can) In this digital age, it’s harder to budget since we all use debit and credit cards for payments. You have to work to track all your purchases.
When I was growing up my mom had a chequebook. Every time she paid for something she would write down that number in her little chequebook. At the end of the month she would balance it, see how much she spent versa how much she made. This created a really great habit and one she still uses today.
I don’t have a list of expenses or keep track of every little expense that leaves my account. I find it overwhelming to worry about the two dollar purchase I am making or to have money completely run my life.Every week I am saving, but I wanted to simplify my personal spending.
Here is my new plan: CASH. Yes you heard me. I am going back to cash. I know each week how much I have to spend. Sometimes it’s easy to go over this amount when using a card. Each week I am going to have a $100 in cash. For dinners, drinks with friends, a new shirt, whatever I want to spend the money on. I already have my bills, savings and investments accounted for, this is for all of my personal activities.
With the $100, I can blow it on one big ticket item or spend it on a few nights out with friends. By having cash leave your hand it really makes you think about what you are purchasing.. Let’s say I wanted to buy a big ticket piece, like a leather coat, which I do, I’d then have to save five weeks worth of spending money to buy it. I think it would feel really great to do that. Prepare meals for the week, invite friends over for visits and be more conscientious of where I want to spend my money.
I am very lucky to make a little bit of money from blogging so usually when I need to purchase anything I use it from the money I make and not using my own personal money to fund blog projects. If I am looking to do a bigger project and need a larger sum I will usually sell a few items we no longer need or find a way to get the money.
I am not sure if a spend challenge is for everyone. A $100 might be too high for some people or too little for others. You would have to look at your incomes, expenses, investments and savings to figure out what is right for you. How I figured out a $100 per week was a simple formula. I break it down below.
- Weekly salary earnings – bills/expenses (I pay for all of our household expenses) – RRSP investments – TSFA investments – a small amount in savings = $100 per week. (Keep in mind I am putting a large sum in investments each week to try and max those two accounts out)
Before starting the $100 spend challenge, I would try not spend money or purchase items I wanted, then end up making a large purchase. This created a guilt around money. I felt bad when I spent it, so I wouldn’t and then when I did, I felt guilty. Slowly this grew into a somewhat negative relationship with money. I work hard, I want to be a shining example of “Live your best life on a budget”. By not spending and feeling bad when I do that is not positive.
After only a week of this challenge, I feel a shift. If someone told me a story of how they set a money challenge for themselves and in a week had a shift, I wouldn’t believe them. I am here to say, it’s true. There’s a freedom around money now, I don’t feel guilty if I want to make a small purchase or treat myself. I also didn’t spend the entire $100, I was more conscientious of how I was spending my money.
A spend challenge might not be for everyone. If you want to start budgeting it might be a simple way to start. You will be more aware of where you are spending your money and definitely think about the purchases you are making. I’m no expert! I am simply trying this right now to see if I can shift my negative relationship with money into a positive one, where I feel abundant.
Also can we take a moment to appreciate all of my amazing thrifted purses 🙂