So, Matt was at the house this afternoon with the plumber and his drain-snake. (That sounds far dirtier than it actually was.) Two hours and $200 later, our kitchen sink is back to its normal state, and I’m told the dishwasher is even running. We suspect it’s something to do with the very low water pressure in there, which means that stuff isn’t getting washed out of the disposal as well as it should. But anyway, this made me consider something:
To pay my half, I’d have to take money from my ING emergency fund, since everything else was committed already. My credit union account has only enough money in it to cover all the bills til the 15th; I keep close track of all of those funds via spreadsheet and Mint, sending them off to savings and to cover expenses the second I get paid. The goal is for at least 20% of my pay to go to savings, and for the balance of that account to be $0 by the next payday, when the cycle starts over. Any extra cash that ends up in there gets sent to the emergency fund as well.
Then there’s my spending money account. But that’s for fun things, like shopping and hobbies and going out and shoving in strippers’ g-strings*. It’s not for a guy to come put his snake in our drain.** If I take $100 out of my $500 semimonthly allowance, I’ll probably have to not go to a show or something. Oh my god! Crisis!
So what I realized is that I’ve managed to set up a pretty awesome system for myself. It’s like a forced-responsibility plan for someone who hates the idea of frugality. That concept depresses me; it’s like people become so obsessed with saving or not spending, they lose track of the whole idea. Money is one of the tools you use to build the life you want, and I suspect the life you want probably doesn’t involve making your own clothes out of dryer lint, or not being able to flush the toilet because you only peed. That’s just kind of sad.
By having that account that I know will always end up empty, I can make myself feel like I’m continually on the edge of broke. And because I’m very unwilling to take money out of savings unless I absolutely have to (and since it’s more difficult than just running to the ATM), it’s a pretty good trick to make me stick to only the money I allot for spending. Which is more than enough for any person, really.
If you’re terrible at budgeting, and particularly if you’re bad at keeping savings around, I’d really recommend the dual checking account system. And a money market at ING, but it’s possible I’m biased. They’re pretty great.
*Not really. I’m scared of herpes.