AT ONE POINT IN MY CAREER, about 50% of my income was pure cash I made from baby-sitting and barista gigs to supplement my job working for a late-night talk show. I used what’s referred to as the ‘envelope method’ to handle my finances: I put cash in envelopes marked for rent, savings, my fun fund and ‘money for Anna’, my roommate. The plan was effective – but not the smartest. (I’m thankful my apartment was never robbed!) Now that I’m no longer baby-sitting or slinging lattes, I get paid via direct deposit, which means the cash stash no longer makes sense for me. Budgeting is a deeply personal process – and, yeah, it’s sometimes painful. But it’s the first step towards taking control of your present and future. Pick the plan that suits you best, and start grabbing life by the Benjamins!
The Cash Diet
Paying strictly with cash money (no plastic!) most of the time is ideal for anyone who is routinely surprised by the length of their credit-card statement, the echo in their empty bank account or how often they get dinged with overdraft fees. Of course, there will be some exceptions to the rule – like buying a plane ticket – but beyond that, do your best to use paper notes exclusively. Even one month of cash dieting can give you a more reliable understanding of your main money leaks.