Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Saving my nickels

My friend’s parents used to save all their nickels in jars. Sometime around mid-November, they would empty the jars, roll all the nickels and cash them in. This was their Christmas money.

I love dealing in cash. As a general rule, I don’t use credit cards or cheques. All bills are paid online, an amount is transferred to savings, then I withdraw cash from the ATM once a week and dole out what I need to for babysitters, dance lessons, groceries and other miscellaneous items one might need in a typical week. I always know how much I have spent and how much I have on hand.

Homer is not quite as disciplined. He’ll stop by the ATM several times a week, play online poker, stop by the beer store and buy himself a new video game without even thinking about it. He agreed when I suggested that this arrangement was, in fact, punishing me for my discipline. I show a lot of self-restraint and do without; he shows none and wants for nothing.

So, we agreed to each take out a budgeted amount each week for personal needs. I will also withdraw grocery and babysitter money and manage those. The result is that he’s wondering how he’ll live on his allowance (which is not small) and I feel like I’ve just hit the jackpot. It’s so much more than I’m used to, that I’ve set aside envelopes to divide my money into four categories:

*Sports - to cover the cost of the kids’ sport/social activities, which usually need to be paid in big chunks at the most inopportune times (about $30/week)

*Charity - to cover anything from school fundraisers, to sponsorships, to outright donations (about $10/week)

*Fun - to cover bigger expenses, like trips, a new camera, Christmas 2009 ($100/week)

*Now - to spend… now! (the amount left over, which is still a lot (for me))

Homer will be saving all of his change in a jar “for a rainy day”. I suppose that’s some kind of (non-specific) system. The man does not like to be tied down.


Jess said...

This is fun for you, and very smart! I'm glad Homer is so reasonable.

Pickles and Dimes said...

This is a great idea!

My first husband and I were SO strapped, we had to make a rule when we grocery shopped. Only essentials, and we each got $5 for a "luxury" item. (Mountain Dew for me, fancy gourmet potato chips for him.) We tried to make it into a game, but really, it sucked. We literally had ZERO fun money. We also had totally differing views on spending and saving money.

Thankfully, Jason & I are on the same page when it comes to money. I bet he would love your system.

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

Sounds like a wonderful plan. I have been trying to get hubby to agree to a plan like that for ages. He is like your hubby and I spend nothing. ugh.

Nowheymama said...

Good for you guys!

Badness Jones said...

We should work out a plan - the trouble is our income isn't fixed. We have our own (fledgling) company - actually, I guess it's 2 years old now, since Hubs quit his job (and came home and told me about it after the fact) on the same day I went on sick leave, a month before Bad was born. So we write ourselves a cheque when we need, for what we need. Hubs is pretty good with money though, so I'll just keep trusting that someday we'll be ahead!

bananafana said...

my husband is terrible about spending randomly - so we just have seperate accounts so he HAS to keep track. so far it works and I don't ever have to lose sleep over it. My budget is all set up as always and I like it that way very very much. and also - our daycare gets WAY cheaper in two weeks so I feel totally rich also!

Chantal said...

I like this idea A LOT. I should get myself and my hubby on this plan. He uses the ATM and credit card way too freely. It is a challenge.

Astarte said...

Money discipline is so hard. That's my biggest resolution this year, to be in control of myself, in all ways, but most of all with money. I have a hard time budgeting money for myself in a specific account or envelope, because if, for instance, I'm at Target getting cleaning stuff, etc, but I also decide to get a book, I don't want to do two transactions. Or I'm at the grocery store, and get a magazine. It ends up messing me up every time.

Erin said...

Good for you guys. We may have to copycat you sometime soon. I think it would benefit us to have some sort of management. We're totally willy-nilly on expendatures. NOT GOOD.

Don Mills Diva said...

You guys sound a lot like my husband and I - 'm always watching every penny and he just spends as he sees fit.