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Easier Said than Done


Why did only spending cash not work out for several of our interviewees this week?


Not wanting to plan how much they were going to spend was a big part of it. This led to not taking the planned amount out of the bank in advance because...

cash from atm

Not planning means that we can tell ourselves that we're not going to spend any money. We're going to be good, and make up for all the spending that happened last week.


Yeah, right. Ironically not planning also means we don't have clear limits on what we can spend, which we also prefer.

raining money

Bottom line: Participants didn't want to think about the money they spend. They tell themselves, "I won't get anything extravagant, so whatever it adds up to will be fine." What kind of spending are we talking about?

Back-to-school shopping on school supplies, kid's clothes, and kid's shoes.

Sandwiches out at a farm that doesn't accept outside food and drink.


Unexpected trips to the doctor with medicine and bandaids to follow. Over-the-counter Covid tests.

Winter shirts while they are on sale.

Then there was the endless game of need or want? Cotton candy grapes, need or want?

Steak? Need or want?

tri tip

Peaches? Need or want?

In practice, finding balance was a lot more difficult for our participants than the books led us to believe. Covid has one parent out of a job and home with kids. Skyrocketing housing prices eat into our budgets. The reasons went on. Not excuses. Good reasons.

So where do we go from here? How can we experiment with guilt-free spending when so many participants had budgets that were not balanced?

scale with dollar

Come back next week to find out.



All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan by Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi.