I’m living on a budget and struggling with how to stick with my monthly allowance for dining out and entertainment. Do you have any suggestions on how I can improve my discipline in these areas?
Living on a budget for the first time can be both uncomfortable and rewarding. Budgets can make people feel uneasy, because they typically require people to change behaviors and make sacrifices to meet long-term goals. On the positive side, budgets can be rewarding when you see your bank account grow and your money go toward your defined priorities and dreams. I congratulate you for living on a budget, because statistics show that only 1/3 of households have a budget with even fewer consistently adhering to it.
It’s not surprising that you have a few categories where you struggle with discipline. Dining out and entertainment, those fun and make-it-easy-on-your-lifestyle categories, are common ones. For these two categories, I’d suggest taking the full monthly allowance out in cash on the first of each month and putting each in its own envelope to carry with you. Use only cash for these categories, so you can visually see how much you have remaining as the month progresses. Statistics show people spend upwards of 20% more when using a credit or debit card than they do handing out bills to pay for their purchases.
If you decide to adhere to this envelope methodology, it’s also a good idea to write on the outside of the envelope any dining out and entertainment plans of which you’re already aware. Paperclip the cash for these plans together in your envelope, so you don’t spend it prematurely and get caught short.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and life coaching. She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at and www.shinecrossings.com and www.shinecrossingsministry.com. If you would like to engage Sandra as your coach, reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org