Tips for Solving your Budgeting Woes
I have a confession to make, and like so many people in society driven by over-sharing, I’ve decided to make that confession to the internet:
I have budget issues.
To help manage my finances, I thought I would do something similar to Dave Ramsey’s envelope system: at the beginning of the week, I’d pull out all the cash I was allowed to spend that week. Everything for groceries, entertainment, eating out, shopping, happy hours, the works. Then, when I run out, that’s it. It’s gone, and I have to wait until the next week if I want to go out.
I was explaining this genius new plan of mine to my co-worker when he said, “Why don’t you just use your Serve card?”
It was as if the financial heavens had opened up to rain unicorns and rainbow-colored puppies down upon me.
Why wouldn’t I use my Serve card to put my plan into action? All my favorite merchants accept American Express. It’s easy to set up automatic transfers, so I don’t even have to remember to transfer the money from my bank account into my Serve account. And if I happen to need cash for the farmer’s market or a cover charge, I can grab some out of the ATM – first transaction is free every month! Best of all, whenever I have an unused balance at the end of the week, it will just roll into the next week, making it easy to save up if I know I have a spendy event happening late in the month.
If you’re thinking about following in my footsteps, here are some tips I’d consider as you set up your account:
1) Take advantage of Serve’s scheduled transactions feature. Create a weekly Add Money transaction in your budgeted amount, and you will never have to remember to add funds to your Serve card. If your total monthly budget is within Serve’s credit/debit Add Money limits, I suggest using a debit card instead of your bank account. That way, the transfer happens instantly. If you do choose to add funds from your bank, remember it takes 3-5 business days, so make sure you plan for that!
2) Disable your back-up funding source. The back-up funding source is an awesome feature 99 percent of the time, but if you have it enabled, it defeats the purpose of using Serve to control your budget.
3) Download the mobile app. If you have an Android or iPhone, download Serve’s mobile app. Then, you can check your balance on-the-go.
So, that’s it. Serve is the solution to my budget woes, and it was there in my wallet the whole time.
And while it might take me a few weeks to learn that grocery store rice and beans are $7.50 cheaper than my favorite Taco Tuesday meal, I know that with Serve on my side, I’ll figure it out. Eventually.