Feedback on ways to stick to a budget
Earlier this week I made a conscious decision to only spend $50 per month on Amazon to cut back on unnecessary spending. I was thinking a way to achieve this would be to just add crap to the shopping cart but do not buy it, and then maybe once the cart is at $50, make the purchase.
While on this train of thought, I was thinking essentially you could add random crap you want to buy to a list, along with your monthly spending budget, and an app will tabulate for you what items you can buy this month to stick to your budget, as well as recommend how much of the budget to save toward a purchase that is greater than the monthly budget so that eventually you could buy it. This way I can add as much as I can to a list (from all retailers not just Amazon) and every month I would just look at the app to let me know which items I can buy.
Does the YNAB app help with this? If not, is there such an app?
Any thoughts/feedback is appreciated!
First, kudos to you on cutting down on those Amazon purchases! I'm on that train, too, and have been putting things in my Amazon cart to remind me to buy them when I shop locally. It's working so far!
As for how YNAB can help, maybe something akin to the Wish Farm could be just the ticket? If you create a Farm in your budget, you could have different categories for various retailers with a specific dollar amount you set aside for each one. Keep adding to the carts, and then review your Available Balances in your Farm at the end of the month to decide what you can buy.
I use Amazon rarely. One thing that strikes me is the phrase "cutting down the Amazon shopping". It seems way too vague. Amazon can cover anything from groceries to clothing to gifts to useless stuff to wherever your imagine can take you. How do you know that you have cut down on your actual shopping? Wouldn't it be better to look at what you are buying on Amazon and determine if it falls within the priorities? I am honestly asking because it feels way to vague as a goal. But maybe I am missing something.
I use the "do I really want/need this thing" approach rather than the "can I afford this thing" approach when deciding whether to purchase certain things. When I want something I write it down with the date and reevaluate my desire for the item a week or two later. If I still want it - and I have money in the budget for it - I buy it.
I used to shop sooooo much on amazon. What I did was make categories for home decor, clothing, car supplies, gifts, things like that and they helped me stop buying random things and budget better.
If that category wasnt funded I would just wait until it was funded, sometimes, by then I didnt really feel like I needed it. When I realized that was happening I decided if I wanted something I would add it to my cart and wait 5 days without looking at in it Amazon to see if I still really wanted it, if I did then I bought it if the category was funded, if I was still undecided I removed it from my cart.
I also hid the app in a folder so I dont easily see it, so Im not shopping out of boredom.
Key your purchases to purposes, not retailers.
I could never cut my Amazon spending to $X per month because some months I get my cat litter, $60, the dog food $30, the cat food, $15, the cat's flea meds, $90. And then maybe I'll decide to buy a humidifier. I need all those things. I have money set aside for those things. So "Amazon shopping" or "Target shopping" is not a useful metric. Am I overspending the money I set aside for the cost of taking care of my cat? That's the productive question.
If you aren't already using YNAB, it has a 34-day free trial. You'll need to spend some time learning the method, and then I think it will help you see that what you're looking for actually isn't what you're looking for.
I pretty much broke my Amazon habit. Just about everything I *need* is available locally and perhaps as curbside pickup. (Pet food is a great curbside item). Next is indie sellers then Amazon if I really can't find it. I would rather pay a little more and have the small business get it. Plus there are an awful lot of distractions on Amazon that can easily end up in your cart. I don't like the risk of getting a counterfeit either. Side note...They keep contacting me about a job in Seattle -- I keep saying no but Seattle sounds nice!
I find the having to WAM for each thing before I buy is good. That process means I step through all the jobs my money has (good reminder) and I get to rank the new purchase -- is it more important than this? more important than that? Would I rather progress the wonderful item in my wish farm, than buy this? This ranking happens before clicking the buy button, so I can backtrack. this has helped me, as I feel more like I am moving things forward more than being blocked or deprived (by not buying).