Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My 3 Month Goal: Cash Only

I am not one for making goals. Not that I can't, but I'm usually pretty good at adapting along the way or just jumping on the bandwagon and doing it. As a parent now, however, it is harder to even find time to think about making changes, much less changing.

So, here it is, and I know many people do it already. I think it is my turn.

For the next 3 months (July-September), I am going to use cash only for:
*my son's clothing and toys

GROCERIES: My friend Chelsea is doing cash only, and I haven't heard much of her experience yet, but I was truly inspired after reading this post by Money Saving Mom. Specifically, this post on using cash only for groceries. She suggests giving it a go for 3 months to try it out. I think that is only fair. I already have a reasonable budget, but I've always used my debit card. I do track my spending, but it never fails that by the end of the month, I am going over budget and I start the next in the negative. I truly believe that I can stay in budget, especially with all the coupon cutting and comparison shopping I've been doing, as well as stocking up, and I think by using cash, I will think about my purchases even more. Sometimes too, we'll end up buying something on the grocery budget (like socks last week), and when my husband gives me cash for it, I forget to use it (like this morning, I had an $8 small grocery pick-up, used my debit card, and wanted to kick myself because I had $9 in cash in my pocket!)

MY SON'S CLOTHING, TOYS, AND GIFTS: This has been a problem area for me. I have a set budget for each of these categories each month, but because these items seem to come when you need them, not monthly, I put the money on my credit card to be there for these purchases, but never really keep track of how much I'm spending, causing my credit card balance to go up. I would like these budgets to work like groceries, in that I either have the money or I don't. I think it will also help me to be creative and maybe preshop for a gift when I see it on sale and have the money for it, or if I don't have money for clothing, go to the resale shop where I have credit and look there for clothing. I just did that a few weeks ago when my son needed some new shorts. I found 4 pair and didn't have to give out any cash. Even funnier, a friend sent an extra pair she bought to him in the mail and he got them a day later. 5 new pair for nothing!

I would love to hear any experience you have using cash only and how it helped you. Also, what do you do to help yourself from overspending?

1 comment:

  1. "Cash only" works if you leave your credit and debit cards at home. I don't buy much by credit and don't have a debit card. I do use my checkbook, though, in addition to cash! One thing I do do, is make sure I get all my receipts and when I get home I enter the amounts of my purchases into Quicken, where I track every penny I spend. I can tell instantly how much I've spent this year on clothing, dog food, and everything else.