Thursday, February 07, 2008

January Cash Use

Did the grand experiement work? Or fail? I think it worked in some ways but not in other ways. It was a bit weird to use cash. I hate spending cash, so the cheapskate in me came out. I can stick to a credit card budget, but with a cash budget, I look at everything and decide I don't need it period. Plus I got more serious about my diet and we barely ate out because I was following my weight watchers flex plan.

So how did that work out? Well we spent $63 eating out for the month. Realize we each get $10/week or $40/month to eat out for lunch/blow money. I use mine for fun stuff I might want, while DH usually eats out once a week with coworkers. So I did use my blow for a lunch out with DH. But I'm not sure if the cash affected out spending or following the WW diet did.

We did spend $91 on groceries. This was definitely a conscious decision. One which I'm not sure was wise. Why? Because we ate more out of the pantry without replacing any of it. This means either this month or the next month we'll have to replace our pantry stock and end up spending more. Also I specificaly did not buy meat and ate vegetarian meals because I didn't want to spend money. I think my DH was a bit unhappy that I said no to steak, seafood, etc.

So did this work? I guess it did. But I wouldn't say it was a good experiement. We spent less money, significantless than budgeted. But I wouldn't say it was a happy month. Instead we had were miserable because we changed our eating habits to conform. I am glad to know if need be I think we could survive 1-2 months from our pantry if necessary.

Should we switch to an all cash system? I don't know. It might be pretty miserable to live always trying to save money. At least with credit cards, I know what I'm spending and how we're doing in categories. And we don't overspend and feel okay with buying some luxuries. With cash, I feel as though luxuries are bad. It's a mental block.

I do however think this February our grocery bill will be quite high because we'll be restocking the freezer and pantry. Or I could try to curb my spending on a CC. Hmm...


Heather Allen said...

Interesting experiment. I really like that, although it worked financially, it wasn't a complete success for you.
Most people don't consider whether or not they are happy while they are saving money and paying off debts. It takes a while to get out of debt, why set yourself up to be unhappy all of that time?
Good for you.

Living Almost Large said...

I have two debts, student loans and mortgage. No credit card debt and no HELOC and no car loans.

It wans't about debt, but maybe it could be. FWIW, I got my tuition statement and we paid the university $27k last year for DH's MBA. Which after the $8500 student loan means we paid $20k after taxes. I nearly died when i read it.