“Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves.”
― Dorothy Parker
One of the best money practices I’ve found for for living in an expensive city is to give myself a cash allowance. I set up an account for myself that gets £100 a month paid into it automatically–no more, no less. I have a card for this account that allows me to withdraw cash from a machine, but is not usable in any other way, and that cash is my spending money for the month. If I forget to pack a lunch, or want a hot/iced drink in the morning, that’s the fund it needs to come out of. Same with purchases at markets or indulgences like magazines. At my very best and most diligent, if an item wasn’t groceries or a travel card, it was paid for out of that stash.
Some months I’ve barely touched it and the fund has accumulated nicely, other months I’ve dipped into the extra to get a specific purchase. The bag I mentioned as part of my end of year shopping mission was a cash buy after haggling down the seller at Portobello Road, for instance. Secondary pro tip to this story, go to markets at the end of the day when sellers are looking to make one last sale or two before packing up and heading home. Yes a lot of things will have been picked over, but good stuff remains if you’re willing to look for it. I’ve also pulled this trick to get a week’s worth of produce from Borough market in a box for £5 on occasion. It never hurts to make your cash stash stretch as far as possible, and if that means you suddenly need to learn how to cook with beets that week, so be it!
Do you have a cash or card trick? Do you give yourself a strict allowance, or do you frame your spending money through another lens?