As a recovering consumerist, the urge to spend is a deep-seated craving that I know will never go away. So, what is my most powerful weapon against mindless emotionally-fueled spending? Well here's the thing - it is not discipline, it is not will-power, it is not meditation, it is not giving it all to Mrs HM to manage, it is not a budget per se or indeed anything rational.
The answer for me is most definitely - Automation.
Yep. Automation, with the very kind help of some banking technology.
|Our friends the possums eating the veggie scraps on the back|
verandah at night. I know they are a bit pesty, but.....cute.
So, I have realised that I spend the least when I touch money less frequently and when I do not have any money on me to actually spend.....spoken like a true 'holic. Thus I have stopped touching or interacting with my money for the most part and with great effect. I have automated every single necessary bill payment and savings transfer and I only have a small set amount on a separate card to mess with fortnightly (even that is off limits due to my recent spend-nothing challenge).
|Corned beef hot from the slow cooker with white sauce|
made from scratch.
How I Automate My Money
Immediately after my fortnightly salary drops into my bank accounts (usually in the wee hours of every Thursday fortnight) it gets allocated out as required via automatic deductions that I have set up via my internet banking or by direct debits - I touch nothing.
1. A set amount auto-transfers to my bills accounts (which has no card access)
2. Set average amounts get Bpay'd off to utility companies and the like from my bills account
3. Direct debits for other bills and expenses have been organised to all occur on that same Thursday
4. Savings and investment amounts get whisked off via automatic deductions to untouchable HIBA's and investment accounts
5. $40 goes to my personal spending key card to last me a fortnight (this is the only money I can justifiably access). This key card is a stand-alone account linked to no other sources of money. Once that $40 is gone, it's gone old chap! Uh huh.
So in any given fortnight, out of my entire senior manager's pay packet I only get to see and use $40 personally - even that small amount can sometimes light the fires of the inner demon spend-a-holic.
|The local carols, youth concert and jazz evening in the park.|
Automation means all my bills are paid in advance before I get them, investments and savings happen while I sleep, payday is a non-event and the evil Smaug lies undisturbed within my poor tired mind.
I think automating your money might be worth trying - even in part maybe?
I know the cash envelope system works brilliantly for many folks....but not for me. I have given it a red-hot try and cash is like a nightmare for me.
Take care folks and stay nice
Mr HM (Phil)