Wednesday, March 2, 2011

allowance at age 29

All of my childhood I didn't have an allowance of money given to my by my parents. They didn't believe in that sort of thing and so I had to work for my money. I was horrible at saving and spent my money as soon as I had it. I worked cleaning houses in high school for family to make money for clothes.

Now as a grown adult I've struggled with managing money. Its probably one of my biggest weaknesses. It is a big challenge. I can make a budget but have never felt capable of keeping it. I honestly don't know how. We save a good amount but that is because I have it automatically transferred and most of our bills are paid automatically. With the new year came a challenge and desperate plea from my dear husband. He has been so patient and forgiving of my spending and lack of restraint. (In my behalf I am great at not spending money on big ticket items (say over $50), but I easily find myself spending $100 at TJ Maxx on shoes, clothes, home accessories (you know 10 items $10 each kind of deal). He wants more assurance, more peace when it comes to money. Can you blame him? Poor guy!

So, he devised a plan to give me an allowance. At age 29 I have an allowance. hahaha! At the beginning of every month I transfer the agreed amount to my own checking account and then use a debit card for that account so we can easily track how much I am spending and what its on. So far I have come to the end of each month with a chunk of my money still not spent. Last month I still had half left over. Now that I know the amount is limited I find myself asking more questions, "Is this really what I want?" "Will I forgot about it soon after the first time or two wearing it?" "Is this really how I want to spend my money?" "What is at the top of my list for things I want/need?" I only overspend really on things like clothing and home decor so that was the stipulation of what got lumped into that category. It feels good to start developing self-control and really assess how I am spending my money. I will say I find myself buying more expensive items but that is because I have decided what I really do want/need and then saving up for it or committing to spend more which is fine when you're not buying all those $10 items that you forget about soon after the purchase. I am buying less clothing but holding out to find the items that I "can't live without" or I really need for my wardrobe. I'm definitely not perfect yet. Both months I've come down to the last few days of the month and then made a trip to TJ Maxx and found myself sucked into buying some items that probably don't fit the bill, but I've returned them once I'm home because I know its not how I want to spend the money. So, if I do good 3 weeks out of the month and that last month is a struggle but in the end of the whole month I'm under my limit I'd say pretty good improvement!! We'll see how March goes. I am realizing that if I just save up my pennies I can have the things I really want that cost more and in the end will be more satisfied with how I spent my money (like that headboard and nightstands I'd really like to have in my bedroom).

So after two decent months how did I start off March? I finally convinced myself to buy the adorable Thomas Paul Octopus shower curtain for the bathroom makeover. I did find an alternative for much less at Target that had stripes, but I just realized that the shower curtain was what I really wanted and would really make the changes in the bathroom what I wanted in the design. I decided against changing out the lighting or hardware or doing the beadboard so that spending a little more on this will be ok. And I feel much better doing it now since I know I didn't spend all that money on silly little nonsense.

Any money tips you've found that really work? How do you restrain yourself? I'm just trying to keep myself out of a SA (shopaholics anonymous) group. Is there such a thing?


  1. I seriously relate! I just started taking out cash for our misc. items because I end up spending more than I should if I use the credit card. We never suffer because of my spending, but we could have WAY more in savings...

  2. i'm sure patrick can feel ryan's pain. funny that i'm reading this after just coming home from TJMaxx/Home Goods where i spent $80 on a few things (socks for K, birthday gift for B, hooks for the master bath, & some workout clothes for me)! i don't have an allowance but i'm sure it would help our savings to GROW! i have a hard time with "budgets" because they make me feel restricted. i just would hate feeling like, "well, i've already spent my grocery budget for the month, but this is a great sale or this sounds really good right now!" that would drive me CRAZY and i couldn't live like that. so because of that, we have never created a budget for ourselves, we just try to "live frugally." big purchases are researched and planned for, and i try to limit my spending at Marshall's/Target/Home Goods to stuff I REALLY love or need! i'm sure there are better systems out there, but it's working for us so we're sticking with it for now!

    glad the allowance thing is working for you-- saving is fun as soon as you start seeing the money add up!

  3. I just hate the feeling of not having money in the savings account so after seven years of living the student life with no money in the savings account I'm just ready to have money in the savings account!!! That is my motivation. Maybe once the student loans are paid off I will feel more comfortable spending money on myself! Right now if I want something small I work it into my grocery budget. Everyone spends their money somewhere--different things different people think are important. I'd rather out Brennan in gymnastics and go out to eat more often on a date night rather than spend money on shopping. Although I do miss my shopping spree days! Just not a part of my life right now.