I’ve always been a yo-yo budgeter. Some months I’d be the DailyWorth poster-child for clarity; in other months I’d fall into a Money Coma, resulting in over-spending.
- First, I figured out my monthly nut (more-or-less fixed expenses like rent, car payment, child care, etc.). Now I keep that amount in my main checking account, at Bank of America. That’s my bills account.
- Next, I identified how much CASH I needed each month for variable expenses like groceries, diapers, Vanity Fair, gas, babysitters, and occasional cocktails with Ramit.
I now transfer $200 a week (automated) from my checking account into a separate ING Direct account* with its own debit card. That’s my spending account.
Why it works: Now I can call up the balance in my spending account on my iPhone, and I know exactly how much money I can spend. And I never “accidentally” spend the money that’s meant for bills.
For savings, I automatically transfer $50 from checking into three different savings accounts each pay period so that I don’t overspend on clothes, gifts or travel.
Yes, it takes some time to get everything coordinated (and for your debit card to arrive), but trust me—it’s a minor investment of time for a big gain in sanity!
Check yourself. What tweaks have helped your budget better fit your life? *ING Direct is a DailyWorth advertiser. We receive no compensation for this mention.