During year three of the bankruptcy, I changed. I was not consciously trying to change. I did not have a “this has to stop” moment. Perhaps, because I am always thinking and reading, the thought was lurking and I did not realize it. No matter, during the 3rd year of the bankruptcy, I began to use cash, clean my house, and write down my expenses each pay period.
I came to terms with the fact that I cannot control my spending when I use a debit card. I won’t overspend (most of the time) but I will certainly spend more than planned. So, I created a new plan. On a 12×12 piece of paper, I wrote down my plan and put in on the side of the refrigerator. Tigger goes out every morning and evening (if not more) so I was forced to look at it when I first woke up and before I went to bed.
Allocating Every Cent
Based on my plan, I became intimately connected to the idea that every dollar in my bank account must be accounted for. There would never be “extra money” in my account. The Wednesday before each payday, I would sit down and determine the bills that needed to be paid, how much would be allocated to gas, groceries/aux expenses, and savings. Then, I would setup the required bill pay and automatic transfers. I determined that $150 would be enough to cover groceries and general spending every two weeks. $100 was allocated to gas and that was put in a different account.