One way I’ve managed to budget is through gift cards. (That sounds like the opposite, but it’s actually the grandest thing.)
In August/September I sit down and make a budget for the year. It’s extremely detailed. I am an impulse buyer. If I like it I buy it, and then I get home and I’m like “this is the ugliest/dumbest/stupidest thing I’ve ever seen, get it out of my house.” I’ve always made budgets, but I’ve had a lot of trouble sticking to it.
It’s inevitable that I’m going to spend money on food at school. Whatever change I have in my purse is gone within two days. Being away for school this past year helped me subdue that frivolous spending, and now I really budget! I’m no expert, but I’ve come a long way since last year.
To monitor my spending spree I’ve put a certain amount of money on gift cards for the month. Tim Hortons now has reloadable gift cards!! Superb! So every month I load up the Timmy’s gift card with about twenty dollars (or less) and that’s my spending money for food at school. This also helps curb the terrible decisions at vending machines, which I did way too much of at University of Winnipeg.
Bonus: If you don’t spend it all on one month, it just carries over!
Some stores I’ve used gift cards for: Tim’s, Starbucks, iTunes, American Eagle (I would put money on it for two months because I buy my jeans there), Cineplex, Target/Sobeys/Walmart for wherever you buy your groceries, and Chapters Indigo – my ultimate weakness so this strategy has helped with my rash spending.
So think of places you frequent, and start using reloadable gift cards! It will help you monitor your expenses better, and save you money!