When income lands into my hands, it’s so easy to get lost on where each peso goes that sometimes I find myself with nothing left.
I pay the bills and set aside amounts for those things that are regularly anticipated to spend on, like the utility bills, groceries, transportation costs, and the like. It’s easy to allocate amounts on these things as they are predictable and its variances, if any, are minimal.
What makes me get out of control actually are those impulsive purchases that result from that feeling of I-can-buy-anything-I-want-right-now-because-I’ve-got-money.
To mitigate such uncontrolled and unreasonable impulsiveness, I figured out a way to discipline myself by spending only within the amount that I’ve set aside for those things that I want and somehow need. I also have an accurate basis whether it’s time to buy or not (if I already saved up the required amount).
Since I receive my salary every 15th and 30th of the month, I set aside Php 1000 per pay day (ppd) and subdivide them into five “funds”. It’s like saving up little amounts and reaching an enough amount to purchase what you want instead of buying all you want in just a moment like a one-day-millionaire.
I physically keep them in a box with compartments which I labeled with the five categories. Here are the descriptions for each:
1. Baby things (Php 300 ppd): It’s tempting to buy a lot of things for my little one and if I let myself loose, I wouldn’t be able to prioritize which ones are really useful and which ones add up to that pile of bulky and seasonal baby things. Let’s admit it. Not all baby things are really needed.
2. Home things (Php 250 ppd): This is for those things that I wish I had in our home, like a wall fan instead of the stand fan, or say a new curtain (although we actually have enough curtains).
3. Vacations (Php 250 ppd): This also covers special events or out of town getaways that pop up unexpectedly. I mean I want to be present in gatherings without spending an unexpected amount so it’s good to have something set aside.
4. Wardrobe update (Php 100 ppd): For me this is the easiest thing to splurge upon, and the most difficult to mitigate. So whenever I want a new dress or socks, I’ll have to consult the sufficiency of the amount in this fund.
5. Anything (Php 100 ppd): Whether it’s a special deal in random places, or just a new thing that doesn’t fall under the first four categories, I’ll get the money from this fund.
It’s working well for me although at times I still encounter that temptation to spend more than what I set as limit. There were times when I get to spend everything in the box and miss replenishing the funds for several pay days. But I start again knowing the benefits that it can give me.