Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Piggy Bank Effect

OK, before I totally get back into the budget recaps, I'm going to share with you a little Saving Secret. Now, The Candyman wasn't quite on-board with this process until the week before the wedding when I showed him all the cold, hard cash. 'Nuff said after that. As unconventional (or perhaps old school) as this may seem in today's world of ATM's and on-line banking, it really did work. Here's what I'm talking about. I'm going to call it The Piggy Bank Effect.

As I'm sure a lot of you who are paying for your wedding yourselves know, ya gotta save a lot of money. That's hard, especially in today's bullshit economy, right? To save the big dollars, I set up two automatic transfers with my bank that happened once at the beginning of each month and once in the middle. The first transfer was a large one and went along with my mortgage and such. That's always a sparse time of month anyway, so I just made it worse - on purpose. Money is a mind game - make sure you play with yourself. *OK, just typed that, realized what I typed and am totally not changing it. I totally advocate play-dates with yourself.*

The second transfer wasn't as big, so when that payday came around, I felt sorta rich and not so poor. That was nice.

Now here's where The Piggy Bank Effect took place. In addition to the above savings, I played another little game with myself. I took out about the same amount of money I did every week prior to financial lock down (anywhere from $40-$100). I took HALF of that money every time I did and distributed it into envelopes that were going to be the CASH payments that were due the day of the wedding. I had envelopes for the officiant, the DJ, our Packard driver Reggie, the chapel, the ceremony guitarist and Julie at J Bangs Salon.
By not having as much cash in my wallet, I spent less. I gave up Starbucks, pedicures and recreational shopping (this was some what replaced by wedding shopping so I didn't feel deprived at all).

The other thing I did was steal money from The Candyman. Yes, ladies - it's true. Whenever I did his laundry, I'd check all the pockets for loose change and bills. The bills went into the envelopes and the change into a big glass jar on top of the fridge. The Candyman caught me doing this and started sneaking in money himself! It was awesome! Team effort! The weekend before the wedding, we took all the change down to Publix and put it in that change machine thing. The Candyman and I made a pretty serious bet on the total. He won. I have yet to make due, but I never back out on a bet. I can't remember the total, but it was around $80 or $90! Sweet!

By doing this over the course of 10 months, we saved over $1000 in those stupid envelopes! And, all my payments were ready to go, labeled to the appropriate vendor! I think that made Tabitha, my planner, happy.

Don't trust yourself not to tap the envelopes of the change jar? Appoint a trusted source to hide the money from you, if you can. Or count the money together as a team and promise not to touch it, week to week. That way, you are both accountable. If you need to tap it for an emergency (this does not include the new Jimmy Choo collection at H&M), make sure you talk about it first.

I'm going to guess that most financial analysts would not condone my savings methods, suggesting I transfer that money into an account on a weekly basis. But seriously, I had a lot more fun this way. I could see the dollars adding up and it gave me GREAT pleasure and satisfaction to seal up each completed envelope one by one. Even The Candyman was surprised at how much we had saved by pilfering from ourselves!

The great thing about this now is that we can continue to do it. I'm allowing pedicures back in the mix, but it doesn't have to be bi-weekly, as was my prior addiction. The Candyman and I go out to eat again, versus tuna casserole and my "pasta bake specials" that we seemed to live on during our engagement. We allow ourselves trips to Publix instead of Wal-Mart, because Wal-Mart sucks (but damn it, it's cheaper!), we like the produce better and we can dance in aisles to the music. It's fun.


  1. Yeees. Envelopes and cash never work for me, so I created an electronic "envelope" system at ING, labeling each of the accounts and making separate transfers to each. I get a nerdy joy watching the numbers go up too. And I've cut back on all the unnecessary-but-nice splurges out of my everyday account to compensate. We're thinking of a change+$1 bill piggybank too.

  2. We have a 'wedding fund' setup through ING which I put money into each week but we also have a physcial "piggy bank" that we put loose change and dollar bills into which we are planning to use for activities/day trips on the honeymoon. We can't wait to see how much we end up with.

  3. So funny, I was just about to put up a blog about money and saving! Great job you two! I'm an advocate for whatever works. For us, its watching the money online, in a separate account and having a set point to reach and not "spending over". We're contributing equally.

  4. Makes sense to me. Only thing is that I practically never carry any cash on me these days since almost everywhere takes visa debit cards. I def have a wedding fund savings account and transfer $$$ on a monthly basis.

  5. I love your idea. I have actually used the envelope method before to help me budget. With Debit cards it can be so easy to over spend. Same thing with money in your wallet. When things were really tight I would write a budget for every month...and break it down by paycheck. I would write how much I had to spend on food, gas, etc. Then I would put that amount of money into the envelope for every expense. This really helped me stay on budget. There was no money unaccounted for and it was impossible to over spend. I had what I had in the envelope and that was it. Things have been so tight recently that I am thinking of going the envelope route agian :-)

  6. Oh I love using envelopes to save! It's so nice to know I'm not the only one. I have used the tactic of hiding money from myself for years and it really works for me.

    Left you a little something on my blog!

  7. great job! and i love how you would "steal" money from the Candyman. and even better how he joined forces with you!

    oh and I'm so glad you're able to stop going to Wal-Mart :)

    have a great weekend!