Tuesday, 15 March 2016

The Envelope $ystem


I overheard three older gentlemen discussing finances yesterday at my local java shop.  The one was talking about his system of rationing his funds.  He cashes his check, pays his rent and then places $15 into 30 separate envelopes for each day of that month.

This one man went on to talk with regretful words, about how he wishes he had paid his debts long ago.  Now he only wants to get back to that $15 a day thing.  

"I just feel better being able to see my money in front of me.  I don't trust those banks and I just like to see my money at home."

He's not alone.  Whether it's under your bed, in your freezer, or in the half empty cereal box up in the cupboard .... wherever you keep your moolah, many believe it to be safer hidden away than kept in a bank.

Can you imagine being content with $15 a day in spending money?  I assume this man eats at Martha's Table, our local non-profit community group that offers low-cost meals to those in need.  It's a busy place, even for this rich city that boasts Canada's first Prime Minister.

But in every group there is a voice of reason.  Of the three gents before me, there was the economist, the hype-guy friend, and the voice-of-reason.

When the economist was talking about the banks being untrustworthy, the hype-guy sat listening intently, nodding his head in agreement with his friend's logic.  He said, "you might have special needs, but you're not stupid right?".  And they all laughed together.

Finally, the voice-of-reason spoke up as though he could no longer bite his tongue.

He said,  "Dave ... you been using that envelope system for all of the years that I've known you.  But it doesn't always work."

At this, the economist and his hype-guy friend both paused and looked straight at their friend who continued, his voice rising in stern volume as he continued .....

"Your envelope $ystem doesn't work Dave because you kept taking money out of the other ENVELOPES!!!".

I couldn't keep a straight face any longer and I turned myself so I was looking out the window.  So much logic on a Monday afternoon.

The only reason I was there, was the free coffee I won with their yearly contest.  Buying coffee isn't usually what I do.  I looked around that coffee shop and saw so many other people who are struggling with their finances.

I'd like just one day where I don't worry about money.

How about you?