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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Envelope System: Month #6

I've been putting this post off, but I need to write it so I can document the mistakes and successes from this past month.  In other words, I can't put it off forever.

The day the Warden got paid, I emailed him the cash amount and denominations we needed, and he stopped at the bank on his way home to pick them up.  He's right up around the corner from the bank, so it just made sense to have him do this.  It also gets him involved a bit more.  Up until now, it's just been me.

That night, after dinner, I sat down with the list and the envelopes and distributed the funds.

There are two things I want to do with this system that I haven't implemented yet but will soon:

1.  Have a weekly meeting with the Warden to discuss where we are financially.
2.  Have a spreadsheet in which we jot down how much is in each envelope and update the amounts each month.  For now, I only have what I put into that envelope each month not the accumulation.  With the new spreadsheet, I can keep track of the total amount and know if any goes missing.

One of the things I originally did with this system was to put my debit cards away in another part of the house.  I'm not sure why, but as time has passed, these cards have crept back into my wallet even though they went unused.

The day after the money was distributed, my purse was stolen.  I had just cleaned my purse out that afternoon, so I knew exactly what was in it.  The good thing was that I had started to leave most of the cash in envelopes outside of my purse.  The bad thing was that I still had the month's medical/dental/pharmacy budget, the first week's grocery budget, the money to spend on clothing for the month and the gas money for April in my purse.  Needless to say, that money is now gone.

With the rules of the envelope system, you're not supposed to "rob Peter to pay Paul," but it can't be helped this month.  I should, at this point, take another look at the different budgets and reallocate funds, and I think that's exactly what I'll do.  I just haven't been able to bring myself to do it yet.  It was tough enough deciding on the budget originally and getting everything just right.  Now, to have to do it with less to work with, that's a tall order.  I just need to get past it, and do it.

Anyway, this is all about this month--not last month....

Last month was a tricky one.  Two kids were signing up for high school track, so I pulled out the spring sports envelope and had all but $20 for that.  One thing I hadn't accounted for was my non-high school child wanting to run track too.  There was no money left for her, but she walked in the door with a flyer and told me that she didn't really want to run track, so it was okay.  She shared with me why she felt it was a rip off--too much money for too few meets.  I should have known, by the way she brought the flyer in, that she really wanted me to say that she should do it anyway, but I didn't argue with her.  I just let it go.

A week later, one of the high school track runners  had been injured and things still weren't getting better.  We decided as time passed, that that child was going to have to withdraw.  Sad because I looked forward to seeing both my kids run this year.  In the meantime, that child has gotten a job and is earning money toward college, so it really was a blessing.

Because of the withdrawal, we received that child's portion back from the high school, and we now have the money to pay for the other child to run and for her younger brother to play spring soccer.  After the money was returned, I approached that child and asked if she was sure she didn't want to run track this season.  She, very enthusiastically, shared how she really had wanted to run, and although I hadn't said anything, she was concerned that there wouldn't be enough money to sign up with.  It really is quite expensive considering it's middle school track, but I feel badly that she jumped to this conclusion without even asking.

Where does one strike that balance between kids' activities and the money required for such activities?  This is a very frustrating thing right now.  Our kids don't do an awful lot of after school activities--just sports during part of the year, so when they come forward and show interest, I want to be able to say yes.

At this point, I am working on a post about what to do if your purse or wallet is stolen.  I really have gained a new education this past month.  The individual(s) who stole mine were pros.  There's no question about it.  I'm pretty sure they waited for a chump like me to show up.  The surprising thing is how many people I've spoken with that have had very similar things happen to them.  Wow!  I had no idea.

I'm still dedicated to the envelope system.  Maybe more than ever.  Even though a portion of it was stolen, it could have been much worse.  We still had cash stowed away elsewhere for other things--Peter's still waiting there and willing to give to Paul as needed.  PHEW!  Had all of our money been in our bank accounts, all the thieves would have had to do was use those cards as Visa purchases and not had someone check their signatures or used the checks in the purse, and it would have all gone away.  Then we would have REALLY been hurting.

Another really good thing is that we aren't credit card users, so there wasn't even one of those blasted things in the purse.  Phew!

If you haven't started the envelope system for yourself, I highly recommend it.  Here are the previous posts:

FYI:  Envelope System
Month 1
Months 2-6

1 comment:

Alyson said...

I ran out of checks a few months ago. Almost all of my bills are paid online now, so I was only using checks for things like tithing and piano lessons and maybe haircuts, stuff like that; I thought to myself, I wonder if I can get along without them? I hadn't realized until this post how some of your envelopes blog entries must have influenced the way I'm working with cash now, because I do a lot of these things. I must have gotten the ideas from you!

However, I still use my Visa debit card for things like grocery shopping, and keep most of my money in my checking account for those expenses. My purse has never been stolen, but my identity has—and my bank accounts were cleaned out. On a Friday, and of course I couldn't do anything about it until Monday. But because of that Visa debit protection, I got every cent back, eventually, redeposited into my account.

You bring up a good point though; I keep certain cards [that we never use] in my wallet just because it seems like the place to keep cards. I'll find a different place for them, because if my wallet is ever stolen why give the thief more to work with?

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