As someone who has experimented with many different budgeting methods — the guilt-free budget, zero-sum budget, and the 50/30/20 budget, to name a few — I had pretty much given up on maintaining a strict budget and keeping a close watch on my spending. It felt tedious, time-consuming, and at the end of the day, what really mattered was staying on top of savings goals.
That is until my friend Ari, who is a financial coach, suggested that we all should budget weekly, not monthly. Ari, who is a self-described reformed party boy who once went on mini spending binges on weekends, found that resetting your budget on a weekly basis could help you not only keep track of your expenses, but also help you save.
A few years ago, I decided to give budgeting weekly a whirl. Budgeting weekly has helped me be more realistic about my expenses, and give me a little more wiggle room each month. These days, I do a combination of a guilt-free budget and “pay myself first,” and spend the rest, along with budgeting weekly for my discretionary expenses.
I separate out my discretionary expenses
To keep my savings and discretionary spending money apart, I move a set amount of money each week to a Qapital account that I use solely for spending.
Qapital has a “weekly sweet spot” feature where you can determine how much you can spend each week, and monitor your spending on a weekly basis. First, I figured out my fixed expenses such as rent, utilities, subscription services, and insurance, and how much I wanted to save each month for emergencies, vacations, and retirement. Whatever remained was what I had to spend each month. Last, I divided that number by 4.3 (which is how many weeks are in a month), and that would be my weekly spending budget.
Keeping money in a separate checking account makes it less tempting to tap into my savings before I truly need it. Plus, it makes it easier to keep track of how much I have left each week.
I stash money to cover credit card payments
During the pandemic, I started to shop more online and use my credit card to cover purchases. To help cover my monthly credit card payments, each time I make a purchase with my credit card, I move money from my Qapital account over into my main checking account, where my credit card purchases are paid out of.
Say I spent $30 buying pet food online. I would move $30 from my weekly spending account to my main checking account. This helps me avoid feeling blindsided when I receive my credit card statement, …….