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2 Apr 2013

My Favorite $56 Ever.

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by Jesse Mecham

I’m a relative budgeting newbie. I’ve almost always lived on the credit card float, and my answer to “Should we buy it?” is usually “I don’t know. I guess?”

That’s why I’m ecstatic to wrap up my first full month as a Seriously Hardcore Budgeter. Especially because I have a whopping $56* (and change) left in my “Household Needs” category – a catch-all for eating out, clothes, miscellaneous household stuff, and groceries.

I’ve never had any financial discipline, so that $56 means a lot to me. So much, in fact, that on the 27th of the month I sent my wife a text that said “$56 left in household needs category. Lock it down. That money is for April.

She’s a great sport, so she’s right there with me. Since then, I’ve had no transactions to enter in YNAB.** Nearly 96 hours without spending money.

Of course, NOT spending money isn’t the point. Flexing our budgeting muscles is the point. We’ve never holstered the plastic three days in a row before. Although I did go six days last summer without spending money. But that was only because I was on a desert backpacking trip with a bunch of scouts. Doesn’t exactly count as monk-like self restraint, does it?

Glass bottles only. Because I’m a snob.

A spending fast is extremely healthy. Just like occasionally fasting from food, it gives you a little extra focus, a little extra gratitude, and a solid self esteem boost – because now you know you can.

*After I wrote this post, on or around 7pm, Saturday, March 30th, I may (or may not) have purchased the cola pictured at right from the nearby gas station for $1.59. Final category balance: $54ish.

**Other than the delicious cola.

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Remember, budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. You can do this! Today. Right now. What do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress. (Ok, so kind of a lot.)

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