January 2012 Jar & Goals

January 1, 2012


This month, rather than write out a monthly budget, I’m going to do something a little different. Instead of tracking my daily spending, I’m giving myself a weekly allowance. Rather than divide the money up into separate jars, like Gail suggests, the $110 will cover my food, my gas, and all my entertainment, and it has to last me from Friday-Thursday.

I have no idea how it’s going to work out but I have butterflies just thinking about it! Why? Because, when I worked out a balanced budget, I found that by doing this I’d be able to put $400 on my credit card debt. In December, I only made the minimum payment! Yes, Christmas got in the way, but that’s bloody ridiculous!

Now, the $110 doesn’t include any of my bills. My rent, bills, and debt payments will make up the rest of what’s in my budget. But that $440 is all mine. (To spend wisely, of course.)

Since it’s not easy (actually, it’s impossible) to take $10 out of an ATM, I’m going to pull $220 every payday. If I can’t make that last me for 2 weeks, well… I’m an idiot! That’s a lot of money and, with the $100 gift card I have to the grocery store, it should be even easier than I’m imagining.

Other than this experiment, I’m only making 5 goals for myself this month:

  1. Declutter after the move (donate/sell/toss everything I can)
  2. Make a financial vision board (like the one I made for LearnVest)
  3. Meet all my deadlines for school and work
  4. Run/workout 3x per week
  5. and, stolen from Krystal, I won’t be buying coffee/lunch/snacks during the work week!

Have you ever tried giving yourself an allowance?

  • Rachel Jonat (@racheljonat) January 1, 2012 at 7:21 am

    We do something similar but run a monthly budget. We don’t do cash or jars but we basically pay out to all of our savings accounts right after my husband gets paid (he gets paid monthly). And we leave a set amount in our account to pay all of our bills and live off of for the month. We use cash or debit for purchases and track everything with an app.

    It really works for us because we have the flexibility to spend more in different areas and cut back in others.

    Good luck!

    • Cait January 5, 2012 at 8:22 am

      Nice to see it works for someone else. I’m going to do everything the same except only use cash for food/gas/fun. Using a debit card doesn’t show me how much I’m *really* handing over. Thanks for the luck!

  • addvodka January 1, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Love the new blog design! This is a really good idea. I’ve been thinking of doing something similar, but I always like to use my credit card for everything because it’s a rebate card – I get 1% of everything I spend back at the end of the year (usually adds up to about $200 at the end of the year).

    Let us know how it goes!

    • Cait January 5, 2012 at 8:23 am

      i’m loving the new look too, thanks!

      When I’m debt free, I’d like to use a rebate card for everything too. One day… one day… Anyway, I’ll definitely keep everyone updated.

  • Michelle January 1, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I’ve never done this, but I need to.

  • Clare - Never Niche January 1, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Giving myself an allowance last year was what put me on the fast track to being so much better with money. PLUS it’s so much harder to part with cash.

    • Cait January 5, 2012 at 8:23 am

      Exactly! I have a feeling I’ll stop handing over cash for items I would’ve had no problem paying for with debit.

  • centsofacountrygirl January 1, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    I’ve been debating about going to a cash allowance, but I haven’t made my mind up. I’m worried that I’d be too lazy to drive to the bank every other week. I am with you on the work out and financial vision goals.

    • Cait January 5, 2012 at 8:25 am

      Yea, I can see having to drive to the bank being annoying. I’m lucky that I work right by a bank and there’s another one close to my new place. Maybe my experiment will help change your mind? :)

  • Serendipity January 1, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    I’ve never myself done the jars but I usually give myself a budget for certain categories then try not to over spend with my debit card. But with the cash, once it’s gone, IT’S GONE! You can definitely do it. :)

    • Cait January 5, 2012 at 8:25 am

      Thanks, girl!

  • Lauren January 2, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    An allowance sounds like a GREAT idea! I decided to give myself a Tim’s allowance per month (on a card, since I can refill it), since I spend so much on coffee there. I might try this idea in Feb! Looking forward to reading about how it works out for you :)

    • Cait January 5, 2012 at 8:26 am

      I tried to give myself a Starbucks allowance once and then it just bothered me so much that I stopped drinking it altogether. Not a bad thing, I suppose.

  • Eddie (@Finance_Fox) January 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    I like the new blog design Cait, however I’m still waiting for a new “real” picture. Remember our twitter convo a few wks back.

    Hope all is well!

    • Cait January 5, 2012 at 8:27 am

      Even when I post a real pic, I’m going to keep my avatar as a sort of “logo” for my blog. Hope nobody minds. ;)

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  • Sarah January 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    I do this exact same thing! I admire the Jars, but it does not work for me. A few changes I do are that I give myself $120 a week for everything except for gas/transportation (I eat TONS of fresh produce and it is crazy expensive in the prairie provinces and in an oil industry based city). I give myself $100 a week for transportation and gas (oil changes and small repairs included), I have a short highway commute to my job and I see this is as a must. Anything that is left over is snowflaked, and all leftover gas/transportation money is put away for yearly payment of insurance.
    Glad to see I’m not the only one doing this…

    • Cait January 5, 2012 at 8:28 am

      Oh yea, if I had to pay your prices, I’d need more cash too! But it sounds like what you’re doing works great for you. Hopefully my idea works for me too.

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  • Saving My Toonies January 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    I tried the cash but it didn’t work in our household, mostly because we kept it at home and it wasn’t available when either I or hubby needed to pick up milk on the way home. We also found we weren’t too good with receipts.

    I do the weekly budget of Friday-Thursday and pay all of my bills and put away my savings on Friday before I do anything else. Then we are forced to only spend what is in our bank account. We have been doing this for almost 4 months and it’s been working a lot better than anything else I’ve tried!