Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cash Spending

I've been trying to pay all of my variable expenses with cash for the past two months and for the most part it had been working. Unfortunately, if I am to "come clean", I often robbed Peter to pay Paul from the various categories. So, when I need to have about $400 in gift money, there is none in that category. Vacation overspending, car repair, bedroom re-do all took the "extra" money that had been in those categories. So, for September's bills, I will work mostly out of the checkbook. Not because it works better, but that it is a bit more convenient for me to "catch up".

If I follow my spending patterns over the past 5 years, it is almost inevitable that I fall apart in the months of August, Sept. and October, and then totally give up in Nov. and Dec. causing credit card damage. The onslaught of school expenses, left over vacation expenses, tax bills, and other large items causes the budget to fall apart. Usually by August I'm out of savings. It is an uphill battle until I completely collapse in January when it's time to rebuild.

Knowing this, I am facing the same bills and I'm struggling to remain credit card debt free. Unfortunately, I'm playing a lot of "catch up". I presently have two items on a credit card...my daughter's headboard/footboard $300.00 and car repair totalling $450.00. I have it scheduled to be paid in full by my Sept. 15th paycheck. And then there will be no outstanding bills.

It is imperative to me to stay on top of the coming months. I've even went so far as to declare to my children that Dad is "doing" Christmas this year (you should have heard their groans! :)). Hubby will make Christmas beautiful, but he won't overspend like I would. I want to reach January with savings in the bank, and have no credit card debt.

9 comments:

CT Mom said...

Hi Sharon - I was just thinking about the same thing today. We start falling apart in July and it goes through October. November and December are ok, but then we have our "holiday hangover" in January, and I don't feel that we're back on track until March bonuses. It's not a good feeling.

This year we will pay off our major cc bill in October before the 0% ends. Then I will focus on our home improvement expenses (at 0% until April). The good news is that we haven't incurred additional debt; the bad news is we stopped contributing to savings for 4 months to keep us on track. We're not ahead, but we're not falling behind. Maybe treading water is a good thing ...

Giraffe Spender said...

Sharon,

I was terrified about Christmas this year...and then Brian reminded me: We have a stock-pile of gifts for the kids in our closet that we've come across during the year that were "specialty" items, so we took advantage and got them "right then." AND....both kids are quite happy to include our snowboard/ski trip to Mammoth AS their gift...Yahoo!

I can relate to over spending on vacation...my trip to TX was a disaster to my envelopes. Borrowing money from Hubby stinks!

I appreciate your blog so much! Thanks from sharing from your heart - the honest truth about your struggles AND your accomplishments. You're QUITE an inspiring woman!!

Blessings,
Tif

Sharon said...

@ct mom - Isn't it amazing how we have become so accustomed to our bonuses? Unfortunately, there may not be one for us next Feb., so we are trying to plan accordingly.

@giraffe,

Thank you for your kind words! I'm so impressed that you are doing so well for Christmas already! I've found that if I buy too early, the kids change their minds on what they "really" want. (Well, except for the older ones, but their "wants" are on the pricey side.) I know hubby will spend less, and the pressure will be off of me.

Canadian Saver said...

Sharon, I think you have half the battle won already since you see a pattern and know what your problem areas are. I admit too I get bitten by the spending bug every September. I go a bit overboard then try to do damage control in the next couple months. We're only human though!!

Sounds like a good plan to get rid of the outstanding bills by September 15th. Hope you reconsider letting your DH doing Christmas though ;-)

Sharon said...

@CS,
DH is hoping I reconsider too! :) But really, is it fair that I buy all the presents and DH just has to buy for me? :)

RTC said...

Sharon, Thank you for stopping by! I can relate to the tendency to overspend on birthdays and Christmas. I'm dealing with it by setting a limit for spending on each child, trying to buy each just one nice present.
I'm impressed that you are making a plan already to help alieviate the potential overspending. This could be really fun for you!

paradigmshifted said...

i think seeing the problem is an excellent first step! and the kids will be perfectly happy with whatever you do for christmas. i'm sure they recognize the thought behind the gifts and not just the dollar signs. :)

jpkittie said...

That is amazing! I sure hope that one day I will have a nice post to be able to share - check in with me in about 5 years ;)

I agree with you & the other bloggers about spending too much this time of year - I love fall clothes for my dd! that is my downfall! Also, dd's birthday is the end of October & then there is Christmas --- aahhh! But ~ I am happy to say that we do have 'cash christmas' every year because we have a christmas club account - this is what really saves us! I just take that $ and leave everything else at home - most of the time anyways ;) but this year for sure!

Good Luck!

Francois Viljoen said...

Sharon!!

All I have to say is that I'm proud of you, because this year is going to break the pattern!!

Good luck and well done with how you've managed to stay within budget until now.

Praying for you!

Francois