Last Tuesday I purchased gas after work and after ran into the Dollar Tree (they take manufacturer coupons. Ya’ll know that, right?) Thank goodness everything is only a dollar, because I had a five on me and suddenly no debit card.
That began an hour long frantic search for the little magical piece of plastic, ending in defeat. I think my little friend was somehow abandoned at the gas pump. This incident brought me to involuntarily to where I am today- only using the cash I had to survive (and checks, if needed.)
Using cash will really make you realize where your money is going! I left the house this morning to run errands, which included eating maple bacon doughnuts at an amazing little coffee shop in Lexington (I cheated on Paleo but it was so worth it,) doing a mystery shop that required a small purchase, my bi-weekly trip to clothes mentor to look for Burberry and Once Upon a Child for shoes for the baby, gas for the car, and a couple other stops. It has only taken today and the last week to realize my spending is out of control.
A small purchase here and there, nothing huge, but they are adding up. No wonder I watch my bank account dwindle every week, wondering where my money is going. My hard earned paycheck slowly leaks from my bank account one little transaction at a time.
I’ve addressed before that I purchase food at work and that’s a huge problem. I have remedied that by once a month cooking to try to stick to my Paleo lifestyle. My max food allowance at work is $3 a day. Diet Mountain Dew was my tasty toxin of choice, but did you realize it contains bromide?!? Yeah. I didn’t know until this week. So I quit that. It really is a toxin,, and it has been banned in Europe!
Back on track. This cash only experiment has truly opened my eyes. Since my biggest expenses every month are food and gas for the car (together- more than rent and my utilities) I can see where additional funds are leaking out of my account. I didn’t realize I had a website I pay 14.99 a month for that I don’t mess with anymore, or a credit score alert system I pay 29.99 each and every month. That is just shy of $45! In one year that amounts to $551.76. That in itself is a month of rent. A month of rent I wouldn’t have to stress out about. Those subscriptions are now eradicated.
This has made me also examine my food purchases. Today I really just wanted to go to lunch. Didn’t feel like making anything, just wanted an easy day. Instead of wasting $20 plus tip and gas to get there, the kiddo and I ate at home, some of the once a month meals I have cooked. After all, that is the purpose of expending the effort on once a month cooking, right? To save money.
Proudly, I can say I have only written two checks since going to cash (involuntarily.) Rent and to Kroger, because I panicked and realized I was out of cash and baby wipes and Boo Boo had made a boo boo in his pants. A great big nasty one where wipes just couldn’t be skipped. (Don’t judge me. You know very well that occasionally, if life is super busy or you’re out of wipes and it’s just been a pee diaper, it is ok until the next diaper to wipe. It happens.) This no using the debit card and only really having two transactions by me out of the account has given me new perspective.
My extra spending has to stop. Especially since I do not receive child support. (That’s a whole different kind of post right now.) Using cash for the week has taught me that, as well as some other great lessons in finance. Dave Ramsey would be proud.
Do any of you use a cash only, or a Dave Ramsey envelope system? Has anyone realized recently that although they do everything they can to save money, it just seems to be getting away from you? (I think Dave calls this “having more month than money.”) What have you done to improve your financial health?
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