When I was a kid I received an allowance of $5 per week; small potatoes compared to today. I planned and saved in order to purchase new and old music, gifts, or something special. At an early age, my mother taught me how to save for what was important to me by giving me the responsibility to budget my own money. Of course, I didn’t receive my allowance if chores were incomplete or I had misbehaved, so there were consequences to my actions that went beyond the typical punishment of time out or no TV. I earned my money even as a child.
I learned to love saving, and I learned that I loved spending when I had the money to burn. As a young adult I burned through a little more than I should have at times. But one thing I continue to do into adulthood is give myself an allowance, so I know exactly when I burn a little too much. Adults used this fancy term called, “budget.” Little did I realize, I was learning at age 10 what many adults still struggle with at “insert age here.”
For a long while as an adult, I withdrew my allowance from my bank account in the form of cash each week. Old habits were hard to break for many years. However, with debit and credit cards as the preferred form of payment, it’s inconvenient to use cash now. I still withdrawal some cash in case of emergency or for places that are cash only. With digital payment methods, it’s become tougher to recognize a tangible exchange. All that money floats out into the ether. It’s worse than monopoly money! Some people may not have a grasp on what they are truly spending when they cannot touch and feel the cash in the exchange.
You might ask, why not just use a banking app and online banking sites? I do, and I check that every day, as well. I even have a budget set up to show me where my spending habits are. But for me, the physical and tangible act of holding the money I permitted myself to spend is part of my control process. To do this in the digital age, I use an app called Pocket Budget. There are many apps out there that are similar or perhaps do more than this app, so I suggest you research the best option for you.
Every month, I give myself an allowance (I’ve moved up from weeks to months). This amount does not include my housing expenses or other regular monthly bills. This allowance is strictly for anything and everything else like groceries, dining out, gas, clothes, vet bills, healthcare, and entertainment, etc. Every time I make a purchase in one of these categories, I quickly enter it in the Pocket Budget. This only takes a few seconds, and it’s a great way to monitor day to day spending. While my banking app can show me my budget, it may not update on the spot, and I may forget to look each time. There isn’t anything to DO with the banking app. For me, it is the physical activity of entering my expenditures in Pocket Budget and seeing immediate results, which makes me highly aware of my spending.
So, if you find yourself unable to spend wisely, try a Pocket Budget or something similar and give yourself an allowance each month. Set limits and track your spending to keep you from breaking the bank. You’re never too old for an allowance. You earned it!