Year of Discipline Update—Finances

At the start of 2023, my wife and I had been feeling a bit stressed about money. We knew we should have plenty, but it always kinda felt like the money wasn’t where it needed to be when it needed to be there. We tried budgeting apps, but they just didn’t work for us. It’s hard to pinpoint why, but we haven’t been able to find one that works the way we think.

So we tried to come up with something that would work for us.

Basically, we needed to automate our money a bit more and get it out of sight. First, we opened 2 new checking accounts. We now have one for bills, another for expenses, and one for credit card payments. The bills account is for everything that is scheduled/automatically withdrawn—mortgage, utilities, savings, etc. Expenses is for every day stuff—groceries, eating out, etc.

I setup my paycheck to be split between the bills and expenses accounts. This way we are 100% sure we have the money set aside to pay all the things that have to be paid.

We’ve also made the decision to put all expenses on the credit card1. Every few days, we move money from the expenses account to the credit card checking account so that the balance of the credit card matches the credit card payments account. If it’s a bigger purchase we have saved for, we move money from savings to the credit card payments account. Now we know the money is set aside to pay the credit cards.

This system has worked really well for us and we’ve felt a lot more confident about our finances. It feels simple—move the money away so you’re not tempted to spend it. The more I’ve looked into personal finance advice and systems, this is not a unique or novel idea. But it feels validating to know others are giving similar advice.

Moving forward, we’re opening another 2 checking accounts so that we can each have our own fun-money” account. I think this will help us feel less stressed/guilty about spending money on ourselves. And it will also help us keep gifts a little more secret.

Personally, I’ve been working on delaying purchases. Instead of just buying things immediately, I wait a day. Usually, I talk myself out of it by then. Works out pretty well.

  1. We did this mainly so we could start earning more rewards points to help with some trips we have planned in the next few years.↩︎

April 1, 2023