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  1. #1
    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    Default I suck at money management

    Anyone who can actually not spend all their money and not be fucked for half the month should post here with advice on budgeting. Cuz I totally suck at it I'm always running out of money. I have 500 a month to spend after all bills are paid. I'm so bad I don't even know where to begin, I'm just tired of being poor for half the month.

    I really don't know where my money goes I mostly just buy food. of course I had to buy a router unexpectantly which I'm returning tommorow and getting money back for that. and when I was drunk i spent my last 100 on booze.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Sparrow's Avatar
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    I made myself a budget on an excel spread sheet, it works like a charm if you look at it a couple times a week. In the 2 Pay column I zero out everything that has been deducted from my account. The color coding represents different pay periods. The total columns all have codes so everything adds up and I know how much I need in my account.


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    Yep, budgeting is the key. And I don't mean just tracking your expenses after you already spent them. Decide up front how much you are going to spend on various things say for one week. Allow yourself some fun but be reasonable and put limits. Once you've decided, don't go over that. The next week decide again and start over. If you have direct deposit for your pay, you can even open a savings account at a totally different bank and have like $100 or something deposited straight there. Don't go overboard, pick an amount that you know you can save and not be tempted to touch. You don't want to start the habit of dipping back into your savings every time before you get paid. So make it a reasonable amount.

    Other than that, you just have to have discipline and motivation which is hard to teach yourself. Try thinking of what you feel like now when you run out of money and how good it would feel to get your next paycheck and have some money still left over from the last one. Work to make that feeling real.

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    As far as budgeting software, I use mvelopes.com but it isn't free and might be overkill for you. The spreadsheet yourfriendjaneen has would probably work to start. I used a spreadsheet for a long time.

    There is no magic answer though, you have to change your behavior. It helps to have a plan though so you can understand how those extra purchases are impacting you before all the money is gone.

  5. #5
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    Personally I think careful budgeting is overrated. 9 times out of 10 when you're in a situation to buy something someone's gonna spend what they wanna spend without booting up Quicken lol. Like you said, you "don't know where it all goes"... this is the biggest problem I've seen with people running out of money, which is not a matter of overspending but rather underestimating what is spent.

    In the US, every retailer is required by law to provide you with a paper receipt. You can use this to your advantage for spending awareness by holding onto all of those receipts. Add them up at the end of each day and subtract that from your bank account balance (since it doesn't update in real time) so you know how much you have left.

    From there, it's only a matter of time before you naturally start to take notice of how much money you've been putting out every day, and then only a matter of taking another look at all your receipts to see what you usually spend it all on. When you wanna buy something after that, you'll just kinda know whether you can afford something like that sandwhich that's "only $3" understanding that buying one every day of the month adds up to almost $100 for just one meal of the day. (average cost of a month of groceries for 1 person is $100-150)

  6. #6
    You have a choice! 21%'s Avatar
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    I don't have much to add to what other posters have said. What helped me when I moved to a new place and became independent for the first time was simply putting everything I spent on a spreadsheet. Then I knew how much went to groceries, how much went to impulsive buying, etc. I'm also always aware of how much money I've got left in my bank account. For everything I spend, even on credit, I deduct the amount from my mental account and keep track of it that way.

  7. #7
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    The other idea I have heard is if you reeeeeally have trouble with going over the amount available to you to spend is to put the amount you want to allow yourself for the month/week in an envelope (maybe you want to only spend $300 of your $500 per month for example, or $50 a week). Don't allow yourself to use your bank card or credit card on everyday purchases. You can only spend what is in the envelope, and if you use it all up... TOUGH COOKIES.

    Then you have to wait until the next week or month to spend any more money.


    Cash only. And you're only allowed what's in the envelope.
    Your kisses, sweeter than honey. But guess what, so is my money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by foolish heart View Post
    Personally I think careful budgeting is overrated. 9 times out of 10 when you're in a situation to buy something someone's gonna spend what they wanna spend without booting up Quicken lol. Like you said, you "don't know where it all goes"... this is the biggest problem I've seen with people running out of money, which is not a matter of overspending but rather underestimating what is spent.
    Running out of money is always a matter of overspending. That's the definition of it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gromit View Post
    The other idea I have heard is if you reeeeeally have trouble with going over the amount available to you to spend is to put the amount you want to allow yourself for the month/week in an envelope (maybe you want to only spend $300 of your $500 per month for example, or $50 a week). Don't allow yourself to use your bank card or credit card on everyday purchases. You can only spend what is in the envelope, and if you use it all up... TOUGH COOKIES.

    Then you have to wait until the next week or month to spend any more money.


    Cash only. And you're only allowed what's in the envelope.
    This is exactly what we do for food because it is the area where we are most likely to overspend. It really works!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by stalemate View Post
    Running out of money is always a matter of overspending. That's the definition of it.
    My point is... the root of the problem is not that people spend more than they should but that they simply don't really know how much they're spending.

    People underestimate the amount of calories in what they're eating by as much as 50%. So yes they are overeating, but the real problem is that they aren't aware of how much they are eating exactly. Same type of problem.

    Although strict budgeting like only allowing yourself x amount per week do keep one from overspending, running out of money half way through the week 4 times instead of half way through the month once doesn't do a whole lot to correct the problem.

    I think forced frugality would teach you to spend less, but I guess I also think becoming more aware of how much things are really costing you allows someone to make smarter decisions with their money because even though your budget is a static number, cash is still a flow.

    For instance, someone with no income and just enough money in their saving for a brand new porsche is able to buy one, but they still can't really afford to because without a cash flow they won't be able to buy any gas for it. The same principle applies on a smaller scale to everyday purchases... say someone smokes a pack of cigarettes a day. Any given day they might have enough money to buy a pack, but they still can't really afford to buy one on the basis that if they would not have enough cash flow to repeat that purchase as intended. Making the distinction between what one is able to buy (available funds) and what one can actually afford to buy (flow) is the key to money management.

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