Our Non Budget
Almost every where you look, there are budgeting tips and hacks in the financial independence community. Most of us our limited in how much we can make in our W2 incomes per year. Thus it follows that to accelerate our path to financial independence, we have to be very mindful of how we spend money. If you have never heard of a non budget, I don’t blame you. Let me explain.
Most of us are trackers by nature. We like our apps and spreadsheets. While signing into Personal Capital or Mint every month and categorizing our expenditures is likely prudent, the Doc G family has never been so great at such precise record keeping.
The frugality habit
I freely admit it, we are a disorganized non budget bunch. Our ADD like organizational style doesn’t always conform perfectly to the accountants ledger book. Thus we have to find ways to budget without really using the laser like precision that many FIRE enthusiasts employ. In other words, we are a non budget family living in a budget friendly world.
Our simple way around this conundrum is to build frugality into our daily habits. Over the years we’ve formed great savings hacks that require almost no thought or energy. In fact, in many ways I would call this lazy or low energy budgeting.
The lazy budget
How can you non budget like us without straining to make it work. Here are a few simple ideas:
- We never carry cash, almost never use our cash station cards. That’s right. If you are with me at a conference or meeting, don’t expect that I’ll have an extra quarter for the vending machine. My wallet is totally empty. It’s fairly laughable for a family whose net worth is in the seven figures. But if you don’t have the cash on you, you are unlikely to spend on cash only items. This means that we have cut down on vending machine junk food and other unplanned purchases that are usually more frivolous than necessary. On a side note, it also helps us stay healthy by bypassing fatty processed foods and drinks.
- We are a two income family, but we live like a one income family. From the moment that we both started earning wages, one pay check automatically gets deposited directly to a savings or brokerage account. There is no fuss or drama over spending. We either have enough in our checking account or not. We automate our savings and they never really figure into our budget. It’s gone. C’est la vie.
- We let the kids budget themselves. My wife and I have made the kids responsible for their own buying habits. They get a certain amount of allowance each year, and that’s it. If they run out too fast, they suffer the consequences. There are no surprises in this column of the ledger.
- We rarely buy big-ticket items in stores, never buy big-ticket items on a whim, and bargain hunt. Our purchases are well researched and often there is a cooling off period between the excitement of the decision to buy, and the actual date of consumption.
Give the non budget a try
Just because you are not organized and mathematical, it does not mean you should not be frugal and pennywise. For our family, the non budget seems to check all of our boxes. It is easy, effective, and causes minimal disruption in our daily lives.
Now, on the other hand, if you are methodical and detail oriented, budget away.
The world is your oyster.