[This post is the second in a three-part series on making sure the work of a working mother is a blessing to her family. Part of blessing her family is through fiscal responsibility with the extra income. Read the first post here.]
If you were to peek at our checking account balance on any given day, you might wonder what in the world a family with two full-time incomes does with all of our money.
Easy. We move it out of our checking account.
And since we don’t own any credit cards and there’s no extra money in there, we can’t just buy things recklessly or spur-of-the-moment. There is no money immediately available.
Sometimes we let the balance hover around $100 – just enough for each of us to fill up our gas tanks if necessary. It’s not uncommon, though, to see it sitting at a whopping $3.47. Give or take.
We get paid, we pay our bills, take out cash for groceries, and everything else gets funneled away, out of immediate reach.
Why do we do this? Because it helps us manage our budget, reach our financial goals, and virtually eliminate impulse & convenience spending.
That doesn’t mean there’s no room for discretionary spending. Certainly, there is. But it is thoughtful, purposeful, and not wasteful.
For example, I can’t get lazy and pick up a pizza on my way home from work – not because I can’t afford it, but because the money isn’t available right now.
The same goes for buying clothes & gadgets.
Maybe I’ll get home, rummage around, and find something easy to serve for dinner. $20 saved! Or maybe I’ll decide I can’t live without that dress – I can easily transfer money back into our checking account and go buy it.
Either way, my decision was thoughtful. It was not made based on emotion, exhaustion, or sneaky department store marketing techniques. I made the intentional decision to spend (or not spend) my money. The impulsive, reckless, wasteful spending is simply not possible when there is no room for error.
Some of you may be thinking “Geez! That’s brutal. What if you just want a latte?”
I’ve got a solution for you in Part 3, due out on Thursday.
[Quick note. Thankfully our budgeting strategies were not born out of a period of recklessness or irresponsibility. To the contrary, both of us are pretty conscientious. As with everything, though, there is always room for improvement and at some point we started to be much more strategic and purposeful in our financial life, hence the budgeting tips. Just wanted to make that clear.]