On Budgets and Personal Money Management

by - February 07, 2018

I’m probably not alone when I say that one thing that is very hard to manage is money. You could be earning as high as millions a month (or thousands or hundreds) but I think that for everyone it is a challenge to spend wisely. Rich people are lucky, they have people who manage their finances for them but for simple people like me it’s something that you have to give some time and attention to.  

I tend to make sure that I stick to a budget. Since I earn a fixed income monthly, I know how much money goes in, which means I can make sure that my expenses cover only the same amount (or less, preferably). I tend to separate money for the bills every pay day and then make a budget for my day to day expenses when I’m at work, which goes into a work day wallet. 

I used to love using those big bulky wallets that have all those places to put money in but lately, I’ve taken to using a small purse that I got from Victoria’s Secret. I don’t think it was meant to carry money but I’ve found it practical since I don’t bring that much money or cards with me. I call this purse my lucky wallet because for some reason, I never seem to run out of money when I use it. It is never empty. Just when I think I’m going to run out, I end up with money to put in it again.

Contents of my work day wallet (clockwise from the top): Card holder with a photo of my god daughter, Coin Purse, Bills, Victoria's Secret Purse, Rosary from Lourdes, ID, Discount/Loyalty Cards, Credit Card

Some of my coworkers find it brave that I only put in the amount of cash I have budgeted for my work day in my wallet. I put in only the exact amount for transportation expenses and for food. I have my ATM in case of emergencies but I hardly ever use it. I know it sounds very sad and way too frugal but it keeps me in check.  I have had experience with living way beyond my means in the past and it was a really difficult time for me when I had to put my finances in order. I don't want that to happen again.

Having a limited budget when I go out means that I won’t overspend on anything or buy anything on a whim. It ensures that I have savings left over from every pay day that I can use in the future.  Plus, it helps me make sure that I don’t spend too much on food for myself so I don’t overeat, which is good for me health-wise. 

Another thing that I do that helps me to save money is saving my coins. I have a small wallet, which means that I don’t have a large enough space for all the coins that are given to me as change. It makes the wallet very heavy and not practical to carry around. What I do is take out those coins and save them at home. When I have a large enough amount, I take them to the bank or to a local store to have them changed into bills – an additional amount of money saved! 

While this system of having a very frugal work wallet works for me, this is something I can’t recommend to everyone. I happen to live near my place of work so not having enough cash in case of emergencies is not an issue. My office is one trike ride (15 minutes) away from home so even if I end up short, I can always go home for more, something that cannot be said for people who live too far from work and experience carmageddon-like traffic on a day to day basis. 

I think the important thing here is that if you want to manage your money well, it is crucial that we make a budget and try our best not to go beyond that. I know this has been said time and time again but it really is important to live within our means or else it will all backfire on you in the end. Find a way to make your budget work for you. I may have a different (and somewhat extreme) way, but you can try different ways to make sure that you live within your budget. 

Does anyone out there have a different strategy of saving and budgeting? Let me know what you do so I can learn from you! 

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