Not to brag or anything, but my discretionary income is rather healthy.  How so?  Well, the main reason is because I live (and look) like a bum.  Hah.  But regardless of how stable my financial life is, I always plan any purchases over $500 ahead of time.

Calling it “lazy budgeting” is sort of misleading, as I don’t really budget — the entire act is more of a reminder for myself.  For example, for the month of November (or whenever), if I’ll be spending an extra X amount on so and so… I make a mental note or jot the dollar amount and the planned purchase date on a sticky note, notepad, or a text document on my desktop.

Holiday gift for the family?  Mental note.  Jewelry for the mistress?  Sticky note.  Monthly payment to the loan shark?  Sharpie-written note on forearm.

What are some of the benefits of making a note on these purchases?

  • No surprises when the bill comes the following months.
  • Know exactly how much I need to transfer to checking to cover expenses.
  • No freak-outs when credit card company calls to verify large purchases.
  • Accountability: can’t pretend I didn’t spent the money.

If you’re lazy and you don’t budget like me, you should at the very least consider making a mental or visual note whenever you have a large upcoming expense.  A visual cue to the actual spending can actually be pretty powerful, as I’ve found myself at times changing my mind on a large purchase simply because I got sick of staring at the sticky note on top of the monitor.

“Birthday present for sister? Pff. Forget it.”  *tears off sticky note*