Thursday, February 24, 2011

So it begins.

The first day of the experiment (also known as payday) went innocently enough. School was out for the state fair (??), so I took the Lily and her friend to the museum for the morning. We got a membership to the museum as a Christmas present, so it's free to go whenever, AND we can see the regular Imax movies for free. Score! So, first event of the day cleared, no cash spent. Then it was time for lunch, and I took the little girls to Steak N Shake. Alas, at this point I had to part with some cash. This being the first cash I had spent in a long time, I tried to strike the right balance with the tip. Somewhere between running (sans tip) from the restaurant cackling evilly, and giving the waitress all my money. I settled on a hopefully karmically positive four dollars for a fifteen dollar tab. My theory of tipping relies heavily on karma. I am fanatically cheap. Really. But I can't take all the negative energy in the universe tracking me down, so I try to strike a balance and respect service industry workers. After lunch, it was time to pick up Jeremy, and then drop off the Lily's friend.

A moment if I could, to describe the payday syndrome. By the time we get to our paycheck we are down to the last so many dollars in our checking account that we spend the last few days of payday week not spending any money, or, if a purchase is direly necessary, we put it on the credit card as we're just about to make a payment anyway. By the time payday arrives, we are so excited to have money again that we spend almost all of it before the first weekend after payday is out. Let me say that in this time bills have been paid and groceries have been bought, but any fun or leeway that was to be squeezed out of the budget has been so squoze. So, this is why we have undertaken this experiment. To see if we can find a better way. The way we are attempting is to take out so much cash at the beginning of the week for personal expenses and groceries, and then nothing goes on the debit card but gas for the car.

It being week one, I realized early on that I may have to budget for some growing pains. Expecting everyone to drop payday syndrome and toe the line immediately was probably a little premature. My plan is to review remaining cash and forecasted needs towards the end of this week and perhaps pull out a small supplementary cash bump if necessary. Of course, with the understanding that this is a one-time expense.

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