Have you ever made homemade lemonade? Or better yet: homemade margaritas?! Whatever your drink of choice, you always have to squeeze and squeeze to get as much juice as your hands will allow.
If you're anything like me, the week before payday can feel a lot like squeezing citrus. When we take in about the same as we spend (aka we're living paycheck to paycheck) those few days leading up to your next direct deposit sometimes seems like juicing the every drop out of a lemon. Only in this case the lemon is your bank account and that hurts more than your hand -- it hurts your heart.
Picture it: It's Monday and I get paid on Friday. I have $100 left in my checking after paying all my bills and putting aside my budgeted savings. I know that sweet DD will hit my account Friday so I go ahead and order something from Etsy that I've had my eye on for some time. Now I've got $40 left until Friday AND IT'S MONDAY!
All of that comfort I felt having 100 bucks as a cushion is now gone. My mind begins to worry because I know that $40 isn't great if an unexpected expense shows up. Or god forbid I forgot about a scheduled bill payment and now I've got to transfer from my savings to cover the bill AND I'm hit with an overdraft fee. But I've got that Wonder Woman lunchbox on its way....cue eye roll.
If any of this story sounds familiar to you please know you're not alone. And don't get me wrong: you're entitled to buy whatever you want from Etsy! Even if it's a treat and not a necessity. But my impatience now cost me $35 in an unnecessary overdraft fee while also taking me from confident to stressed in the mere time it took me to log in to my bank account.
The solution? Let's try the Lemonade Challenge together! This week I'm asking each of us to set a goal to leave a pre-determined minimum amount in our checking account until the next payday. It can be whatever you want it to be! Start with $20, $40, or whatever your budget will allow. (Not sure what your budget thinks? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to score a free budget coaching that is absolutely judgment-free!).
Let me be clear: this isn't really about the amount. This is an exercise in changing our habits around money. Setting a goal like having $50 left in your checking until payday will pay OFF in the following ways:
1) Simple and measurable - did you leave the money until payday?? If not, ask yourself if the expenses were truly necessary or which you can trim. If you did: congrats! If it was super easy then up the stakes to a greater amount.
2) Builds a habit - the success from setting and achieving a small goal will encourage us to continue on the streak, eventually creating larger goals until we have a new pattern of successful behavior
3) Relieves stress - believe it or not, but looking at your checking acct and seeing a lower number, even when you know you have no upcoming expenses, stresses us tf out. Knowing we are holding on to our money in case of an emergency leaves us feeling protected!
Follow me on IG @artonabudgetblog and share your successes with the community!
What's my lemonade number? I'm committing to leaving $100 in my checking until 12:00am April 16th. Now you know when I get paid. What's your lemonade challenge look like? Are you ready to commit?
You're on a roll!