Have you drawn up a detailed budget and are struggling to keep to it? According to an article in the NYT*, it would be best to just give it up. Well, not exactly. But it does say that keeping to a strict budget might not be the best way to go about spending less or saving your money. The money and pyschology experts they interview say that a budget can be like a diet — it doesn’t often last long and may just end up with you standing at the freezer late at night devouring a quart of ice cream right out of the container.
It’s human nature, they say. We generally have trouble following through with our “best-laid plans.” And after a long period of focusing on restrictions — we binge. Compounding the problem is the abstract nature of credit cards and such. Watching cold, hard cash dwindle is far more painful and thus more effective in reigning in our spending.