Well, here I am, one week into the new year with my budget in hand, snowball chart (snowman chart as my husband calls it), and my new checkbook software ready to go. And I have to tell you, it really sucks. I am so close to charging things sometimes, that it is alarming! It makes me realize that using credit has become such a part of who I am that I almost do not even think of it as credit, I almost see it as cash. I find this very unnerving and unhealthy to say the least.
A good example of this is my husband is in a new round of Nursing Clinicals and came home and stated that he needs different shirts for this rotation. I told him that we can go this weekend since we have a little bit of money in the clothing "envelope" and we can find him something. He suggests let's go to Old Navy. Well, I know why he said that: we have a credit card there to which I respond, "Fine, but we are not charging it." Then it kicks in with him what we almost did. We have become programmed to use the credit as cash to fill in the gaps that would not be there if we paid cash! Remember Susan Powter, "Stop the Insanity!"? That is what I plan on doing, and since we have cash we can shop anyplace we want! That was the first small piece of freedom I have experienced and it felt pretty damn good. Now, with the small amount of money in that envelope being only one week in we can't exactly go to Nordstrom for a shirt, but we can choose anyplace we want to spend our money.
I have come across some other obstacles this week, and I wanted to share them just in case there may be someone reading that does not keep a checkbook register. I tried and tried to keep a checkbook register prior to this and there have been times that I have been more successful than others over the years, but if I can get you to do one thing after reading this is, START A CHECKBOOK REGISTER! Even if you don't do a budget, or put it on the computer you can not control what you do not know you have. Case in point, because I was so irresponsible BC (Before Checkbook), I still have checks clearing that I had no idea had not cleared and were definitely not in my budget this month. So, until all the checks I have written over the past few months slowly drip in, I must take money from envelopes like "gifts" or "clothing" to cover them. I have to tell you I had a small check for $10.00 clear that I had written in November for my daughter's Girl Scouts, and it almost made me overdraft because I am so down to the wire right now. I am looking forward to the day when I do not have to stress over money, and it does not have a dark hold on me. I want to control my money, not have my money control me.
Does anyone else have a hard time keeping a checkbook register and keeping it up to date and balanced? Is it because we spend so much more using our debit cards that it makes it harder to manage??? What do you think, why is it so hard to keep a check book register??