For the first time in our 15-year marriage we are trying to use only CASH to pay for things.
I know this is not a new concept, and I know it is touted by money gurus as a good way to save money, which is why we’re finally giving it a try.
We’ve always used credit cards and have always paid them off every single month. (I can think of two times in our entire marriage that we ever let a payment roll to the next month on a credit card.) Debt is not our problem.
Our problem is that we spend more than we should each month because it is so easy to whip out a charge card and pull the extra money from savings later to pay the bill.
The problem with this is not that we can’t cover the bill (at least at this point) but that we could be saving more than we are. Plus, we are often wasting money on stuff we simply don’t need!
(I need to clarify that I am still paying our regular monthly bills (like mortgage payment, car note) online deducting from our bank account, but we’re trying to use only cash, no credit cards, for things like groceries, vet bills, gas, birthday presents, etc….)
This will be my third week as a cash-only customer and Michael’s second week. (I started while he was on a business trip so he was on his company’s dime that week.)
Already we are seeing the effects of only paying with cash.
So many times last week I put things back on the shelf at stores because I knew it was coming out of the very limited funds in my purse. For example, I went looking for a birthday present for one of Rose’s friends and saw some cute dresses for my 2-year-old at the Gap. If I hadn’t been paying with cash I can guarantee you I would have bought at least one of those dresses. Plus there were some super cute pajamas the baby would have been adorable in. I put back an organizer for myself and a book for my brother because I knew I didn’t have that much cash in my purse.
Michael came home last week and said he was sorry for doubting this experiment would do much good. He said it limited him the whole week. No pizza for lunch when he knew he had a sandwich in his office. No nut mix or Fiddle Faddle at the drug store when he stopped for deodorant.
What we’re trying to decide now is: If you have leftover cash at the end of the week do you just take less money from the bank for the next week or do you put that money in a big jar for special things like vacations?
Could you go credit card cold-turkey? Could you go cash only? If you are a cash-only gal, how do you handle the logistics of it? Do you get a monthly amount, a weekly amount? What do you do with any money left over? How much do you give yourself for the month? How much does hubby get? (Poor Michael got a lot less than me because I’m buying for all five of us and he’s just taking care of himself for the most part.)
What do you do with odd bills — like I need to buy a new mattress for the toddler bed for the baby – does that come out of my weekly amount?
Tell us about cash-only experiences? Would you be willing to take my cash-only challenge?