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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. I read through alot of budget threads on this forum but had another idea:

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 out there?

Any thoughts/feedback is appreciated!

Thanks

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  • Usually "random crap" isn't a budget category. If you want to give yourself $50 of "mad money" to blow on whatever you want that's fine; it's your money. Maybe use Amazon's Wish List rather than the shopping cart? – spuck Mar 4 at 16:24
  • You're compulsed to buy random crap from Amazon. Sounds like a psychology problem not a monetary one... – MonkeyZeus Mar 5 at 19:49
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I think your failure is limiting yourself to $50 "on amazon". You need categories for your budget, and amazon is not one of them.

Lets say you have these categories:

  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Electric
  • Giving
  • Emergency fund savings
  • Savings for Christmas
  • Insurance sinking fund
  • Groceries
  • Internet/Cable TV
  • etc...

You still have some money left over after and you want to improve your kitchen accessories, so you might also have:

Fun money 50 Kitchen accessories 75

In any given month, you may spend a whole lot more than 125 on Amazon depending upon what category that spending comes from. Or, you may spend less.

With a budget you need to create a new one each month, you need to plan ahead for large purchases (like Christmas, car maintenance, or insurance), it needs to be done ahead of time, and it should include a category for giving to a charity you are passionate about.

Spending too much money could be a contentment problem. Giving to people less fortunate than yourself battles that contentment problem.

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As a long time user of YNAB and other "envelope-based" budget software for past years, I might offer a bit of insight.

Before the age of personal computers, I had a sheet of paper in my wallet.

Rent = 125 (mo)

Power = 50 (mo)

Auto Ins = 250 (yr)

more...

Each entry had the name, a figure and a reference for how frequently the expense appeared. Each entry had the current balance in my checkbook.

Each week's paycheck would be "distributed" in this alleged ledger based on the appropriate math per entry. A pencil with a decent eraser was all that was needed.

The last entry in the list was "spending money" for that week. If nothing was spent from the previous bank deposit, it accumulated.

As computers became part of the household, the software didn't yet exist, so a spreadsheet took the place of the paper, but eventually there was the right stuff.

You can do the sheet-of-paper method, the physical envelope method, or you can use YNAB (classic is better, but no longer available), but the key is will power.

If you can't restrict your spending, no budget software will keep you solvent. If you can restrict your spending using an envelope budget method of any sort, you won't need to Amazon-cart a ton of rubbish.

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