Action Tip: Stop stealing from your cash envelopes and blowing up your plan. How do you stop?
First of all, do your envelopes and set them up with cash. Don’t overcomplicate things and have a hundred envelopes. Have a few envelopes for your most important categories. If you have time, don’t stuff your envelopes with $20 dollar bills. Go into the bank and get some smaller bills for the envelopes like some ones and fives.
Okay, you are in the moment and you see something that you didn’t plan for, but you really, really want it right then and there. Before you put it in the carriage, pause. Look at it and notice that you did it. You grabbed it to buy without thinking of the consequences. Feel how your body is reacting. Did you stop breathing? Are you breathing shallowly? Is something else bothering you that you need to address instead of buying this item?
Ask yourself, “Do I really need this or will this end up being another piece of junk I just want to get rid of?” If you’re shopping with your spouse, ask them. Just having the conversation may be enough to put it back. If you are alone, who’s to stop you, but yourself. Only your conscience will know you cheated and stole from your other envelopes. You’ll tell yourself, “Who really cares anyways?” Well, you’ll care later today when you’re broke. You’ll care later when you are scratching around for gas money to get to work. You’ll care later when all you have to eat are a few cans of beans, some dry popcorn kernels, some ketchup and some pickles.
Ask yourself, “Am I willing to adjust my other categories and are those adjustments reasonable?” Have a conversation in your head about it. “I really can’t adjust food down, baby down, toiletries no, definitely not gas…savings, but I don’t want to.” If no category adjustments are reasonable, don’t buy it.
Drag your own self out kicking and screaming if you have to. Don’t buy it. Don’t whip out a credit card for it. If you cut up your cards, don’t go to the courtesy desk and ask them for a shopping pass. Don’t open up a new card at the register. Don’t overdraft your account to purchase it. D O N ‘ T B U Y I T.
Will you pout and go through shopping withdrawal? Maybe. Will you start to whine inside? Maybe. “I never get anything. I can’t get anything I want. I work so hard and can’t even get this. It’s not fair.” Will you want to overindulge in another way to make up for not buying it? Maybe.
If you really, really want it, tell yourself you will make a plan to save for it and buy it at a certain date in the near future. Build it into your upcoming spending plan. Let yourself fantasize over it. Dream about it. Daydream about it. When it comes time to buy it, you may find you don’t even want it.