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The relationship that we have with money is an interesting one. Why is it interesting? Well, for one there’s indeed an emotional attachment to money. A universal feeling that the owner has when possessing the almighty green-backs. This feeling is powerful; but not quite as powerful as the feeling we get when coming into possession of dollars. That feeling of, “the world is my oyster” to the extent of the buying power that that cash amount has.
When somebody slips me a tip, my brain lights up as I quickly stash it away out of sight. Try to immediately remove the dollars from my sensory register. And when those dollars are gone? The brain slowly recovers from it’s heightened state; however, the mind seizes the new numbers, and quickly computes any of numerous calculations of money. The same goes for other forms of receiving cash: accepting a gift, when paychecks come, finding money on the ground.
Afterwards, some time later, there are several potential places for the money to go: into the gas tank, or take a walk to the restaurant, etc….. hey maybe into the bank!
Yes, that’d be a great place for those dollars. I think I’ll put them to use either under my command in savings, or towards already existing consumer debt (i.e., credit card debt).
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Extra cash is great for throwing towards old debt; and at the very least, these x dollars can find respite in one of my
l uxurious weather-beaten, old envelopes. Where they’ll take part of my budget for some unforeseen expense. But I also want to apply them towards my pre-existing debt. So when I get a cash windfall, I like to also apply that amount towards credit card account(s).
But how to do both?! I’m gonna need a new haircut pretty soon, and there won’t be any cash in my wallet! My gas tank is pretty low, and I’ll be damned if I’m using my credit card again this month. It’s damn near melting from all the swiping-induced friction created from recent activity. Got to put on a pair of sunshades just to look at the friggin’ thing its so hot! Guess I’m just plain ol’ stuck.
Small Actions Beget Big Victories
Is it even possible to NOT feel stuck at least once or twice per month? No, right? Wrong. The key to getting out of debt sooner is paying off those little purchases that find their way onto the credit card.
Ideally, the monies in my budgeting envelopes (whether tangible, digital, or existential in some other way) are bound to find their way back into the world. And if the option is to either use cash that I’ve had on hand or the credit card? I prefer to use the real-deal. There’s more of that emotional attachment associated with paying with cash vs. paying with plastic.
And that means my credit card balances will drop down to zero that much faster. But when will they be completely gone? Well, that depends on the individual. Personally I’m at the point of paying off my credit card balances completely each month. Which is why a service like Debitize can be such a helpful tool; to ensure that I don’t fall back down that slippery slope again.
Do you want to be completely free of Stuckiness (just made that word up)? If I can become unstuck, believe me, anybody can. The key is to build upon small victories (e.g., paying little bits of extra amounts ON TOP of the minimum credit card payment each month) while being patient for those bigger wins. And staving off gratification from purchases long enough to use actual dollars will help. With Debitize, I get the same feeling of using my debit card when I use credit cards. Because I know the money will be removed from my account, immediately and automatically.
Any extra money acquired by tips, gifts, found on the street, etc., gets budgeted while I simultaneously add that same amount towards reducing debt. Because as everyone knows, the path of a dollar is fulfilled with touches by many hands. Now, let’s look at a brief clip to capture (in a rideshare driving context) what being stuck really looks like.
My Money Is Moving Like Molasses
See how in this clip cars keep darting ahead of me, preventing me from moving forward? The traffic is analogous to immediate wants and desires that cast their temptation at my dollars. Similarly, I’m prevented from progressing along my journey every time dollars are usurped from their nesting envelopes prematurely; however, if the only alternative is using plastic, then it’s Okay (and preferred) to pay with cash.
Related Post: How To Setup Your Budget Effectively
Along these lines, spending antecedents come in the form of low-to-no food in the house, prolonged usage of my primary vehicle, feelings of social isolation and/or envy towards more affluent and deeper-pocketed acquaintances, etc. When spending is mandated by one or more of these factors exerting their influence upon my well-being, it’s time to reach for the green. But the trick is to delay that day for as long as possible.
Each dollar will be well-wise enough to adequately perform it’s duty as expected in the future. And the further out into the future I can delay, the bigger the buffer against the unforeseen I’ll have. In a nutshell: no feeling of stuckiness. In contrast to the maddening frustrations of New York City traffic, a molasses-slow rate of transactions are required to combat being financially stuck in a rut. And again, always opt for using cash versus using plastic.
Spend Money As Fast As You Can Park
Just to drive home the point, ever try to find parking on one of the streets in NYC? It’s pretty tough. I always allot for at least a half-hour of time spent “looking for parking” when it’s date night. Even when I find a spot, I don’t always take it. But instead circle a little longer to see if there’s a magical “greedy” spot open, right next to the restaurant. And occasionally it pays off. I have a video clip of exactly the kind of behavior that’s being described:
Notice how this guy keeps going for the closer spot until finally he’s passed by all the openings. No doubt he’ll have to circle the block again, hoping one of them’ll still be available on the next pass. Well, that’s (sort of) how I spend money from my envelopes too. It’s only after very careful scrutiny of the items-to-be-purchased that I’ll “pull the trigger” on making the purchase. If at all. Maybe the best course of action is circling the block, which means waiting a little longer on forking over my dollars in this metaphor.
Turning “Stuckiness” into “Simpleness”
Since Debitize is very new to me; I’ll be updating as I experiment with using it. And hopefully will accrue some nice reward points along the way, while keeping my balances all at zero. Here’s the logo with my referral link attached one more time. Check it: