Weekend Budget Cheating

Melissa has been cheating on her budget. She keeps moving money from one category to another. Dave helps Melissa figure out how to make her budget work for her.

QUESTION: Melissa in New York City has been cheating on her budget. She keeps moving money from one category to another. Dave helps Melissa figure out how to make her budget work for her.

ANSWER: If you were broke, you wouldn’t go out, right? You’re not a person who needs to go out so bad that you’re willing to go into debt to go out, right? Since you’re not paying on the debt because you’re going out so much, that’s the same thing as borrowing on a credit card to go out for drinks. You are borrowing because by not paying it off—the debt that you have and instead you’re going out for drinks—you’re using the money you would’ve used to pay off debt. It’s the same thing as borrowing the money to go out, isn’t it? Maybe we came on to something here.

You’re a saver, and you’re conservative when it comes to borrowing money. The debt has you freaked out, and you want to get out of the debt. But you’re a social person too. You love the weekend. That’s not a bad thing, by the way. We’ve just got to customize your life, your budget, to fit your life and for it to not be too bad and too out of control.

I would suggest starting out with $200 a month in your weekend envelope. I think $150 is a little shy. Then I would plan on your calendar one weekend a month to not go out. You’re not going stay home every weekend and not be out there and bust it through. I think you’re going to bust out of it. Take your envelopes with you, and then when the envelope starts getting empty, get your butt up and go home. We’re done. Party’s over. This is just about you controlling you. That’s what it comes down to. I think you’re doing better than you think you are.

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