I thought about actually participating in WIP Wednesday but I only have two WIPs--a baby dress that I haven't made much progress on since I last blogged about it, and a boring angora/wool winter hat for Dr. Mad Scientist. We're talking a 1 X 1 rib and then just stockinette the rest of the way. Yawn! Boy knitting is kind of boring.
Seeing as said Dr. Mad Scientist is working late tonight and it's the Festival of the Hut in Israel and as a pseudo-Jew I'm out of work early--I give you Part 1 of my cheapy tips/journey through Sucky September where we tightened our belts and basically every paycheck I brought home, was set aside for the IRS.Hitting back on the topic of boring--this post is long and not so picture-y. I won't feel bad if you don't read it all.Planning
A few days after I received the dire news from the IRS, I sat down and I pulled out all of the bills I had waiting to be paid and the ones I knew were going to be cropping up.
Even though all of those bills (car, cable, power, weekly daycare, student loan) weren’t due that day, I wanted that money out of sight out of mind. I then set up the pile of envelopes or checks with little stickie notes as to when I needed to mail them (usually a week before they were technically due). A few of the payments I scheduled to be automatically deducted from my account—which saves you 41 cents a check!
Bottom line—a soon as I wrote those checks, out of my balance they were deducted. I ignored what the bank said I had and went off of what I had left after all those checks were written. This gave me an amount to work with for other non-billed expenses.Removing Temptation
The second step was removing temptation to spend. Dr. Mad Scientist, oh how I love him, but he’s just like his mother and his siblings—money burns holes in their pockets!
When we lived in Michigan and the ATM machine (or MAC machine if you roll like that…) ruined his card and we were too lazy to get it replaced, life was good. I’d give him a weekly allowance and he’d spend it.
Cut to our Michigan-Texas separation and now him working in La Manzana Grande. He was easily pulling anywhere from $60-100 a week. To be fair, some weeks it was not that much, but other weeks it definitely was that much. I grumbled about it (trust me!) but I let it go on. What the hell was he buying? Beats me. Sodas, lunches, dinners, bikini waxes*? Whatever it was, it was quite a bit.
So I took away his credit card and ATM card and we went back to the allowance system. $40 a week for him and sometimes me. On Friday I would pull ½ of his allowance and on Monday the other half (from our bank's ATM to avoid service charges of course). This helped him budget it out better. Like I said—money burns holes in his pockets.
He got to spend his allowance on whatever he wanted.
Remember how I air-dryed our clothes the Saturday we received the notice from the IRS? The following two weeks Dr. Mad Scientist gave me 75 cents from his allowance to dry the clothes. Hee hee. Apparently he likes his underpants downy soft.
With the allowance system, this meant that our debit cards and our credit cards stayed at home. They only came out when a.) it was an allowance pulling day b.) he needed to buy his weekend train ticket or monthly subway pass (a portion of those expenses are reimbursed pre-tax thru Mt. Sinai ) or c.) I needed to fill my tank with gas—a once a week occurrence.
I put our cards someplace where I knew he wouldn't find them, but someplace where I wouldn't forget about them.
In with my knitting mags...
...which was then hidden by a picture.
WOW! You should see my credit card bill!
There’s nothing on it but what I qualify as necessary expenses. There’s no charges to McDonalds, Subway, 7-11, Duane Reid, etc. And my bank statement didn’t make me want to scream at Dr. Mad Scientist.
I’m so proud of him for limiting himself.
I was usually able to get away with $20 a week.
From my allowance I also paid for the laundry ($5.00) and my fresh produce vice.
I’m not sure if this is really a vice or not, but I spend easily $10 a week across the street at the farmer’s stand buying tomatoes and fruits for Chunky’s lunch. This past week I splurged on a ½ gallon of apple cider ($2.50).
One week I spent nearly my entire allowance on beads for my balls
. (Hee hee, I said balls.)
But that’s the beauty of an allowance. You only get X amount per week. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. It makes you think about what you really
Do I want to buy that $1.50 bottle of Diet Coke on Tuesday leaving me with just $2.00 left until Friday? Hmmm…
Leaving the credit cards and debit cards at home was also liberating. Yes, it’s possible an emergency could come up and I would need them, but I still had my checkbook, and there are Banks of America everywhere. If I had really needed money, I could have gotten money—the same went with Dr. Mad Scientist.
Up next: Food
*No, my husband does not engage in genital-area waxing. Do they even call bikini waxing for men? Do men even have that area waxed??
Labels: Cheap Thrillz, Sucky September