Budgeting? I hate it!

Budgeting? I hate it!

December 27, 2023

Some people enjoy organizing their physical space. Others enjoy digital organization (photos, files, journal entries, etc.) I don't enjoy either.

If you gag when thinking about the word budget, hear me out. I've been trying something that has worked for me for the last few months. This may work for you, too.

This method works because it doesn't require you to dig through transactions and categorize anything (unless you want to.) The only change required is how you pay for things. I'm not talking about the fixed expenses, either. We can worry about those another day. The only area we are focusing on are the "variable" expenses. These are the things you actively decide on each day or week. Think groceries, gas, medical co-pay, small gifts, house supplies, shopping, etc. These are the things that slip up on us throughout the year. 

Before we start, you will want to identify how you usually pay for all your "variable" expenses. Do you pay with a credit card? Or do you prefer a debit card? Apple Pay? Old-school cash?

My example is a credit card because I am used to paying for everything on a credit card, but you can modify this with the method of your choice.

Here goes:

  1. First, I opened a new credit just for these expenses.
  2. Then, I started using it for all my weekly variable expenses.
  3. Next, instead of waiting for the statement to come out each month, I fully pay off the card every Friday.

That's it. There is no need for complex spreadsheets or categories.

This simple method works because of the regular and consistent feedback loop. I don't need to remember why my balance is so high because of something that happened three weeks ago. The purchase was only a few days ago. I remember.

This method keeps the target front and center while allowing me to adjust mid-month. After all, some expenses pop up only occasionally. I am better at avoiding surprises, I adjust better, and I am getting better at saying no to things.

I needed better real-time accountability, and this slight adjustment helped.

But why Friday? Well, because most of us make our larger purchases on the weekend. After having just paid off a larger balance on Friday, this reminder keeps me in check a little better on the weekend.

I hope this helps you. I can dive into the why and the how, but the bottom line is that this method doesn't require you to do much. Just spend slightly differently, and pay off regularly. Happy New Year!