Finances: October Cash-Only Diet Results


October is over and so is my cash-diet for the month. Actually, I am sticking with cash-only in some areas, but let me first share my results.

I am excited about what we were able to do just by using cash with the guidelines I have set for myself. I had to use the credit card two times since I had to make online purchases for our 5k (online registration) and a hotel stay. I actually had cash for the hotel but there ended up being an issue with the charge so I used my card to pay. It was a good thing too because there was an issue with the rate and I had to get a credit – easier to credit a card versus cash!

So, because I knew it was used, I just took a debit out of our check ledger and knew that money was going right to pay that amount immediately on the credit card. To me, it was a wash since the money was accounted for.

All in all, I have to say this was super easy! The large reason is because we have our budget established and know where our money is going. Whether I'm using a card, direct bill, or cash, we know the money is there and where it needs to go to. I came in under budget each week for the groceries and just rolled the money to the next week. So, I was able to save some that way too.

I like the idea of using cash, but sometimes it does pay to use your debit card. For example, I would always receive those Catalinas for $10 off a $75 purchase at Meijer. Well, when you use cash those won't print. I would almost always use them when I had one too. So, I may just use a card for Meijer since that is the only store that prints these.

I also don't think cash makes good sense for me at the gas station – maybe for my hubs though. When you have kids in the car, you can't leave them in there and it's a pain to take them out to pay. Well, since I have $500 in gas cards, I won't have to worry about paying for gas for a while anyway, but I don't anticipate continuing to use cash for gas in the future.

Bottom line is that even with 2 months left in 2008, we are continuing to work on our 2008 Financial Goals. We have made some great progress and I am really proud of it! I think doing this cash-only diet just made me really concentrate on every purchase more. I'll admit it is easier to do that and I want to get out of using the debit card where it makes sense.

Did you join in the cash-only diet this month? Please leave comments and tell us how you did! Did anything surprise you? Do you think you'll continue? Do tell!!!

by Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on November 04, 2008

11 Comments

  • Anonymous - November 04, 2008 @ 12:48 pm
    1

    Hi Andrea, this is baldscreen. Good for you for sticking with your cash-only diet for the month. I do this also, and it takes away a lot of stress. Keep up the good work!!! :)

  • CKR - November 04, 2008 @ 4:48 pm
    2

    We tried this for October, too. Some of the things we liked about it: recording transactions was easier (didn’t need to enter each one into the checkbook), helped me to think a little more about each purchase…cash feels different than a debit card even when you have the money in your budget. We tried using envelopes, but it was too cumbersome, because most store trips involve more than one “category” in our spreadsheet budget, so it was really confusing the keep the envelopes straight. We will definitely do this again!

  • Emily - November 04, 2008 @ 7:16 pm
    3

    We do cash in envelopes on a monthly basis and it helps me because I’m a spender! So it holds me accountable. But we do credit card for gas for the same reason that you said. I didn’t know about the catalinas not printing when you pay with cash at Meijer? Is this at any other stores that you know of? I wonder if I’ve been missing out by paying cash?

  • Amanda Angert - November 04, 2008 @ 7:51 pm
    4

    While we don’t have debt outside of a mortgage and my car payment, we’ve been using cash for almost two years. I loved it from the start because I am an impulse buyer and would usually buy things at the grocery that we didn’t need (like Oreos!). I use a debit card for gas and I do have a credit card just for my stamping business, which is paid off in full each month. While we weren’t super strict with our budget (if the kids needed clothes, I would use the debit card), we’re able to live our life the way we want — I am a SAHM, we have a nice home that will be paid off in about 2 years and we have a nice savings account. We live like no one else so we can live like no one else!! Your blog is awesome, BTW. I check it out constantly since I am new to couponing.

  • Jill - November 04, 2008 @ 7:54 pm
    5

    I know paying for gas with cash is a hassel, but some stations here in CT are cheaper if you pay with cash (by 10, 20, or even 30 cents a gallon!). It’s harder to pay inside when you have kids in the car, so I usually have my husband fill up :)

  • Jen C. - November 04, 2008 @ 9:12 pm
    6

    I regularly pay with cash at Meijer, and as long as I scan my Meijer card, I get my catalinas.

  • Andrea @ Mommy Snacks - November 04, 2008 @ 10:49 pm
    7

    Emily – I personally only noticed this at Meijer because Kroger (the only other grocer I tend to shop) doesn’t do a lot of those offers – their offers are typically Catalinas.

    I went an entire month where I used cash one week, debit the next and I noticed the weeks I used my debit card I got those catalinas. I also read at the time, they were tied to a Mastercard/Visa promotion but the catalinas never said that specifically.

    I haven’t received one of those in a while and I’ve been using cash a lot (even before this). But, I know they are still printing because a lady behind me one day offered me hers.

  • Andrea @ Mommy Snacks - November 04, 2008 @ 10:50 pm
    8

    Jen – we don’t have a Meijer card for our store unfortunately. Just the Meijer credit card.

  • Andrea @ Mommy Snacks - November 04, 2008 @ 10:51 pm
    9

    Jill – I heard someone state it is sometimes cheaper when you pay with cash in some states. That would be a major incentive to use cash for me – even if I had to take the kiddos inside with me :-)

  • Andrea @ Mommy Snacks - November 04, 2008 @ 10:52 pm
    10

    BTW – I’m so glad to see all report success doing this cash-only thing! I’ll do whatever works best to help us achieve our financial goals!

  • Stephanie - November 05, 2008 @ 3:24 am
    11

    Andrea,
    Congratulations on your cash only success! I have to say that I have been couponing for a couple of months but we have been using cash only system for several years. I received 4 cats for $10/$75 in Sept but none in Oct. and forgot to use my Meijer/upromise card all 4 times. My husband went in and bought 1 item from the pharmacy section and one printed for him. I have also received several smaller cats when paying with cash. I think they must be triggered by items that we buy. I have never used a credit or debit card when these have printed. Yesterday I got a $2 OYNO but I sure would like to see another larger one soon :)

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