Let me check….

A few days ago, I asked a coworker if she wanted to go out for lunch.  She said she’d have to check her bank account before she decided.

What?

If you have to check your bank balance to know if you can afford something, you can’t afford it.   It really is that simple.

Now, strict budgets aren’t for everyone, but everyone should know how much money they have available to spend.   If you don’t know what you have to spare, you need to set up a budget.

Period.

After you’ve done that, you can ignore it, with the exception of knowing how much you have available to blow on groceries, entertainment, and other discretionary purchases.

If you don’t know where your money needs to go, how can you determine how much you can spend on the things you want?

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  • 7 comments

    Comments

    1. Well said. Straight at to the point. It really is that simple.

    2. that used to be me. thankfully, it’s not anymore.

    3. Actually, I always check my bank account before I make a purchase. Not to make sure I have money in there, because I know I do, but to get a visual. Kind of like when you check the time, then immediately check it again if someone asks because you can’t remember.

      For me, seeing the balance allows me to quickly run through my mental list of things like the length of time until payday, things I still need to buy or pay for, how much I want to keep in the account, etc. Also, since my bank has built-in budgeting tools, it’s an opportunity to check how much restaurant spending I have left for the month.

    4. Even worse, she checks her bank account and what can that tell you? It won’t tell you if a check is still outstanding or that you have to pay the gas bill tomorrow. The last thing you should be asking is your bank account. You should be consulting a budget instead.

    5. Jason, I completely agree with you in general. But let me give another view point (I don’t think the person in this post meant it this way, but…). The way our budget works is, I have a lot of subaccounts for fun, for emergency fund etc… each month we put the allotted money via direct deposit and if we ate out more during the early weeks we will run out of “fun” money, I do check those accounts before we go out. I guess that is one disadvantage of using credit cards, I don’t know how much I have already spent on a particular category unless I look or keep a running count.

    6. At least she *was* checking, as opposed to just going out when she may not have been able to afford it. Some people (like me) do let their checking account get really low though. I could have $2 in my checking account and not want to go, but it wouldn’t mean I was down to $2.

    7. Sometimes it is just wanting to have a look. I rarely eat out, but it is simply my preference to not spend $8-$10 on weekdays for lunch when I can bring leftovers, etc.

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