I've always been responsible with my limited income, but two weeks ago I adopted the old-school Envelope Method of budgeting. Each week I withdraw a set amount of cash and divide into the following envelopes: Food/Household, Eating Out, Gas/Transportation, Clothing, Entertainment, Fabric/Sewing. The idea of the system is that you'll think about each and every purchase you make more purposely than if you were using your debit card. You can dip into other envelopes for a purchase if needed, but when the cash is gone... it's gone.
So far, it's been great. It really has opened to my eyes to how many thoughtless purchases I make at Target, the grocery store... really anywhere. I now know exactly where my money is going. HOWEVER, being extremely anal and OCD and Type A, the system has caused some issues and "that girl" moments. For example, last week at Target I picked up a tank top (Clothing Envelope), protein bars (Food/Household) and blank CDs (Entertainment). I had the cashier ring each up separately, so I could pull from each individual envelope. Yes, I'm a rule follower. I know the other patrons behind me were none too pleased about having to wait as each transaction was complete. Nor were they smiling as I apologized profusely for the myriad of envelopes scattered across the register. Even when I explained that it was part of my budget. Sigh. Oh well. My bank account is thanking me.