Looking back, I can see that the attraction one of my girlfriend’s and I had to peaches during the first months of our relationship was a bit odd. It all started as we were taking a weekend drive in the country and came upon a farmer’s market. We picked up some fresh vegetables, but were drawn over to a table where a woman was selling tree-ripened peaches. The fragrance of those peaches permeated the area and we bought two bushels.
To say we ate peaches until they were coming out of our ears is an understatement, but it started our search for the perfect peach. Both of us were working entry level jobs then so our disposable income, after rent and utilities, wasn’t all that great. However, that never stopped us and we actually tried as many different types of peaches that we could: Empress, Dessert Gold, Honey Babe, and Sunhaven. When we couldn’t find new peaches locally, or even by travelling miles out of our way, we ordered them from growers around the country.
Not only were we peach-crazy, but because we often had a surplus of fresh peaches, I ordered a dehydrator to make dried peaches and peach leather, and even invested in a very expensive canner to put up some of our peaches in jars. Our devotion to the peach came crashing down one weekend when we went in to make dinner and found the only thing available was peaches. A quick check of our wallets revealed only a couple of dollars. We looked at one another and realized that it was time to take some control of our spending habits.
When we started looking around to see just where all our money had been draining off to, we found an embarrassingly high amount was going for peaches and peach accessories, rather than sensible meal planning. Not only that, but when we began researching our spending habits, we found that we’d basically been buying too much on impulse without any kind of planning. If we didn’t want our present and future to consist mostly of peach pits, we knew we would have to make some changes in our spending habits. We discovered one of our big errors was that we never made a shopping list, which meant that nearly all of our shopping was done on an impulse basis.
Because we didn’t want to get stuffy and too rigid about our spending habits, we decided to develop a budgeting system based on the peach. We called it the Peach Principle.
The Peach Principle
This is hardly a difficult concept and just involved keeping track of what we were spending money on. Each of us got a little notebook and whenever we bought something or paid a bill, we wrote it down. We also got in the habit of making a little peach next to intelligent spending and a peach pit next to questionable spending. If you’ve been wondering where your money is going every month, try the Peach Principle yourself.
Does the Peach Principle Work?
At the time we started the Peach Principle, we had no idea whether it would work or whether we’d be able to stick with it. We were using mostly cash when we first started dating, but as time went on, we started to rely more and more on debit and credit cards, we often found credit to be an all too easy way to buy things and drain our bank account.
Once or twice, our finances almost got away from us again, but thanks to our sticking with the Peach Principle, we were able to keep the pits at arm’s length. Using the Peach Principle, we were able to keep better track of our cashless spending, especially as regards our cell phone use.
One of the most important aspects of using the Peach Principle is to find a way that is comfortable and convenient for you. We found that notebooks worked for us, and they might just work for you, too, especially if you don’t have a cell phone.
Use a Notebook
This method worked well for us and we had no problem with carrying a small pencil in the coil of a small notebook that fit easily into a pocket or purse. It didn’t take us too long to adjust to writing down what we spent as we spent it, and it was kind of a game with us to compare notebooks at the end of the week. I can’t say that either of us was the bigger offender when it came to spending, it fluctuated back and forth between us. But, this gave us a great way to see exactly where the money was going, and how to stop the drain.
Cell Phone and Computer Apps
If you find it more convenient to keep track of your purchases with your cell phone or computer, then by all means do so. It’s a snap, actually, to just enter something right at the store on your phone by using Spending Tracker. This is a free download and you can get it by going to Android on Google Play or iOS on iTunes.
Tracking your spending with apps is also made easier if you use 4 free budget and personal finance apps for everyone. These apps will take you by the hand to teach you how to get and maintain control over your money.
Getting control of your spending isn’t hard, and I’m sure you’re smart enough to do it without any problem. The important things to remember is that by following the Peach Principle you will not only find out where your money is going and where you can cut back painlessly, but you’ll find life much more pleasant when you’re not living on the financial edge.