Thursday, July 31, 2008

Round Two - Cash Only

Funny thing about cash...banks don't know how to handle a large pay out...they give you strange stares when you ask to have your paycheck "cashed" as opposed to be deposited. Because I work part time, my paycheck isn't all that high, so I cash it out completely. (At least since I started using cash only). Both times, the teller at the bank looked suspicious of me...and why did I want it all in 20's?
Oh well.

I took out $1321.00 (bi-monthly) to handle the following categories:

*Personal/Household/children's expenses
*New additions

I've added several "jars" to separate my cash further. Actually, I still have the jars but I've switched to large envelopes that I can slide into a drawer. Hubby was a bit worried about keeping large sums of cash in clear jars. I've kept them out though, and they will hold the receipts.

Heeding how fast I blew through money the first time, I took my time to write out a menu for the month and a grocery list and to really think about what I wanted to spend. Since we were really low on everything, I mapped out the best way to stock up. First, I went to BJ's to buy meat for the next two weeks. Their meat is pretty good, and I managed to walk out of there with enough meat for 14 meals, two gallons of milk, and 3 lbs of pecorino romano cheese for $120.00. Since we have several meatless meals a week, this should last most of the month. I was happy.

Today I went to two grocery stores, one for produce, and the other because it is just so much cheaper than the rest. I've used up about 2/3 of my food budget for two weeks, but my cupboards are full. (I bought some food for the lake next week too, but I'm sure I'll need to supplement).

We needed dogfood and guinea pig supplies and were careful to price compare. We ended up saving almost $30.00 through a rebate and shopping at a discount store instead of the pet store. I'm not sure I would have done that had I not been watching my "cash".

I put $40.00 into my Pilot, and my husband put $40.00 into his hybrid. We will park my car for the next two days and use his. I think just watching this has saved us about $40.00 a month.

Next week should be easy to watch the cash, but I'll have to pay close attention to the second week when we'll be at the lake. (Lots of wineries in that area, I'll have to figure out which "jar" I can pull from to purchase some great wine!)

I'm actually really liking paying with cash. Aside from the receipt, I don't have to remember to write anything down....when it's gone, it's's surprises.

Any takers on using just cash????


Fabulously Broke said...

I like collecting MC points so... not a huge fan of it
Plus I like tracking where things go and my Credit Card does that for me.

CT Mom said...

Kudos to you! I don't think we would be as disciplined with cash, so I give you a lot of credit for following through (no pun intended) ...

letters to elijah said...

I've thought about using only cash .. I think it's harder to give up (to the cashier) then my debit card.

If you don't mind me asking, what is your grocery budget?


Sharon said...

Thanks for visiting! Actually using cash has been great, and separating the cash for categories eliminates a "false" hope that I have a lot of money .... I had to up our grocery amount because of the increasing food prices. We are a family of 6 (2 adult children home from college for the summer) I've given myself a budget of $950.00 a month. It's sounds ridiculously high to me, but it's nearly impossible for me to get anything substantial without spending close to $200.00 a week. What do you spend?

Francois said...

I love reading your blog Sharon!

Your stories about jars and envelopes and getting funny stares at the bank are just too amusing. :)

But for the record, I admire your discipline.

I live in South Africa. It's a great and beautiful country, but it has its disadvantages.

One of them are that it is not safe to be lugging around a wad of cash everywhere you go, or even to keep it in your house (nevermind then also telling the whole world about it on the Internet).

I think you're doing the right thing for time being, but since you are already proving to be able to have very good discipline, I also think you should consider switching to "virtual jars and envelopes" soon.

Having money in the bank instead of cash also have other advantages apart from safety - e.g. you can earn a small amount of interest on your cash.

But as I said, I admire your discipline, and I find your posts delightful! So keep it up for now!!

Sharon said...

Thank you for commenting, and your kind words!

Ah, I wish I were disciplined! Hence, the cash is forcing me to be so...

And as far as security, believe me, the money gets spent very quickly...

I also get very little in way of interest in my checkbook. We do stash savings away on online accounts, and pay the bulk of the bills with our checkbook.

The cash I use is specifically variable ...I control the amount I use, and using cash causes me to be somewhat disciplined. I'm not where I want to be yet, but hopefully I will train myself to get better at it, and then I can store my variable spending in a separate checking account...but until's cash only! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Sharon ...
We have been doing the whole cash/envelope thing for our variable expenses of: gasoline,groceries,and personal allowances. It kind of helps me from enabling Craig (my hubby) from overspending. He knows that he can choose to spend his allowance envelope however he sees fit. But when it's gone it's gone. And the groceries & gasoline envelopes help him to see how quickly that money can disappear as well. (We still have our youngest son, who is going to be a junior in college at home; and boy oh boy can he eat)! I really like this set-up we have, because it takes SO MUCH PRESSURE off of me. Love it, love it, love it!
I just have to ask ... have you ever seen the television program called, "Till Debt Do Us Part?" (I think that's the name anyway)? A personal finance guru named Gail helps families with a cash/jar system like you use.

Also thanks for stopping by my blog - I appreciate it. I took a couple months off awhile back ... and am slowly trying to get back into it, because I do really enjoy it. And it's a lot of fun meeting people in the personal finance blogosphere!

Sharon said...

hi Dawn!
Thanks for stopping by too! We probably have a lot of similarities, as we are in the same age bracket...:) I got the whole jar idea from Gail (Til Debt Do Us Part Show) If you look on my sidebar, her own blog is listed there as Gail's Blog. I love watching that show because I get to see what other families go through with money...

I just started using cash, and it's been a real eye opener....the money goes VERY quickly!

I look forward to hearing more about your adventures!


Francois said...

Hi Sharon,

I just published a post ( that links back to this post of yours.

How can I send you a trackback? Is this possible with blogspot?

Take care & God bless,