When you pay for something with cash, you are using your spending money. Spending money may seem like an unimportant part of your day-to-day finances; however, controlling your spending money is the key to successful budgeting.

"Failure to control spending money is typically the main reason that people get in trouble with their finances."

The secret to getting control of your spending money is something that you may have experienced when growing up: a weekly allowance. When you were given your allowance, you knew how long the money had to last and, hopefully, learned to stretch your money accordingly. The flip side of your allowance is that you knew (bad behavior notwithstanding) that you would be getting more money on the next allowance day.

That same approach to controlling spending money also works for adults. Giving yourself a weekly allowance in A Real Budget on a weekday and an amount of your choice controls your spending. Once you have both your weekly allowance weekday and amount settled, your only interaction with this feature will be to get (withdraw) your allowance each week. Where you put your allowance is up to you. Options could include:

It is not necessary to micromanage your weekly allowance to give every dollar a job. Nor is there a need to track how you spend your weekly cash. The goal with your allowance is to have little or no spending money left at the end of each allowance week. Doing so indicates that your spending is in tune with your allowance.

If you consistently have money left over each week, consider reducing your allowance amount. The amount of the decrease will improve your net cash flow. Conversely, if you consistently run short of cash each week, increasing your allowance amount will work; however, the increase will take away from the money available for payments and set asides. You might first look at possible ways to adjust your spending before increasing your allowance and, thereby, reducing your net cash flow.