Latest posts by R.J. Weiss, CFP®
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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Green Dot. All opinions are 100% mine.
One of the core principles when trying to change a behavior is that willpower is limited. As such take the limited willpower you have and change your environment to make future behaviors easier.
The simplest example of this is when wanting to eat healthy. If that’s your goal, one of the first steps you should take is to throw away junk food. Because when it’s the end of a long day, there’s no willpower. In the battle of you vs. ice cream–the ice cream will win.
This concept of controlling your environment, which is very well-researched, works. It can work in achieving your health goals, your career goals (get the hardest thing done first), and even personal finance goals. This is the idea behind the very popular envelope method of budgeting. If you’re not familiar the concept, here’s a quick explanation:
- Divide your expenses into a few basic categories.
- Set a budget for each of those categories
- Put the budget amount in cash into that envelope at the beginning of the budgeting period (week, 15 days, month)
- Any and all expenses within the categories must come out of that envelope
- When the cash is gone it’s gone
Controlling Your Spending With the Single Category, Debit Card Hack
As you’re probably thinking… …that’s a lot of work. And it is. But as with most things in life, there are workarounds.
For example, say there’s one or two budgeting categories that tend to ruin your budget each month. Let’s say dining out. What you can do is set a budget for just that category. Then, instead of carrying cash around, load up your budget on a debit card.
My Adventures Using The Green Dot Cash Back Visa® Debit Card
Looking at my own budget–one area I tend to exceed my budget is on books. I justify this as a business expense and an investment in myself. Which is 100% true. However, by the end of the month, I seem to run up quite the bill with my Amazon Kindle. And this got pretty out of hand last month, when I was traveling (we made it to Kauai)!
Wanting to get my budget back on track and not let bad habits fester, I implemented the Single Category, Debit Card budgeting method a shot. Recently Green Dot Bank sent me their Cash-Back Visa Debit Card card with $50, which made this very easy.
The card had some cool features, such as:
- Get 5% cash back on every purchase, up to $100 a year
- Can be used anywhere Visa debit is accepted in the US
- Easy to access app, so you’ll have easy access to your balance at all times
Once I got the card in my hands, I headed over to Amazon to switch that to my primary payment method.
Give this budgeting method a shot. You won’t regret it. And while you’re at it, see if The Green Dot Cash Back Visa® Debit Card is right for you.