A story about sticking to a budget and using cash.
On Saturday, our family went to Hickory Park in Ames, Iowa, to take one of our daughters out for her birthday. It was a perfect cloudy day for eating out. Our daughter was full of excitement knowing that this treat was for her birthday and she definitely felt extra special.
As we sat down and began scanning the menu to see what each of us was going to eat, we carefully chose what each of us was going to partake of. Before we got there my wife and I settled on an amount we were going to spend on this special occasion and had our cash ready to go. After we made our order, our little birthday girl wanted to order some cheese balls in addition to everything else she was getting (and she was excited at the thought of getting cheese balls).
After looking at the menu we determined that if we ordered these yummy balls of happiness we would be going over our agreed dollar amount. We gave our daughter the news that we were not going to get any cheese balls. It only bothered her for a moment and life went on just fine.
Now you may be thinking it is only an extra five dollars. Surely you could’ve spent the extra five dollars for your daughter’s birthday?
Maybe, but if it is one thing we have learned it is once you go over your budget, it is easy to keep on going. Like any habit (good or bad), the first time you do it is hard. The second time a little easier and the third time you don’t even think about. What habit has helped us stick to our budget?
Using cash helped stay accountable to our budget and our goals. Studies show that when you use cash not only are you more careful on how you use your money, but you will spend less. When you go to spend your hard earned cash you stop and think before you spend.
You see, the old us would’ve said it is only a few extra dollars and put it on a credit card. Once that decision would’ve been made I can envision us ordering more appetizers, larger meals and more dessert (which is not including more to pay in sales tax and more to tip the waitress). It was by lots and lots of little unnecessary purchases in the past that got us into a credit card mess; not large extravagant purchases. Interestingly, when I first coach my clients, they tell me the same thing was true for them.
How did our story end?
We all had a great time, including our birthday girl. She got a dish of ice cream with a birthday candle, a dish of whipped cream and the famous “Happy Happy Birthday” song sung by a few of the waitresses. And forty-eight hours since we left the restaurant, she has never mentioned anything about cheese balls.
For more information on getting your finances in order:
www.strongtowerconsulting.com or call 515.223.2183