Finance Snack: April Cash-Only Diet Check-In

I thought I'd come and check-in for the progress of April's cash-only diet. We've stayed on budget with several things, but I'm disappointed and proud of myself – isn't that the dichotomy? Remember, one of my goals on top of just using cash-only was I couldn't dip into our saved grocery budget to fund other purchases. I'm proud that I haven't done that yet, but disappointed that we had to make a purchase with a credit card (but it was for an online purchase and I give my reasoning below).

First, as stated above, we had to use our credit card to make an online purchase for some tickets. Here's how I solved it:

  • Used credit card and in order to “make things right,” I put a debit in our checking account for that amount and will pay it directly to the credit card with our regular payment. I could have used our debit card, but since I had never purchased from the site before I wasn't comfortable using my debit card (remember, how someone got access to my debit card information).

Second, how did I forget that April would be a big month for extra purchases? Andon is turning 1 – Hello, that's like a big deal!! Here's how I'm solving it:

  • Decorations – Do you remember the Ebates special promotion back in March? For every two people who signed up under you, you would receive a $10 Target Gift card (and the $10 sign-up bonus – hopefully that comes back soon). Well, I've received one so far so I used that to purchase his invitations, plates, cups (all matching, of course). Everything was around $15 and I was able to use the Target coupon for $3 off $15 in Party supplies. I used my $10 Target Gift Card, $3 off $15 and spent only $2.
  • Cake – One of the boys needs a new RX filled and Kroger is going to honor the RX coupon I have from Meijer (for $20) so that will pay for a portion of his cake this weekend.
  • Presents – I have a balance in my paypal account when my “big fat check” from Ebates was deposited earlier in the year (can't believe I haven't used it yet). I knew it would come in handy eventually. So, I'll use this to purchase his birthday gift. Nothing extravagant – he doesn't really need anything anyway!
  • Miscellaneous Other – What is a party without goodie bags and balloons? Well, his brothers and cousins would gasp at the thought. So, I've made a little extra money with my surveys that I'll use that to pay for goodie bags for his cousins and brothers.

One thing this has made me realize is I need a birthday budget or account so when things like this come up, I'll have the money already allocated. Typically, I wouldn't mind using the debit card for these purchases so I know it would come right out of our account, but I wanted to stick to my cash-only diet where possible (IMO using a credit card online is just safer). Plus, I'm likin' the budget thing – it's like having goals to challenge yourself, and I love a challenge! I also thought it would be good to get creative and show people that some of the money-making ideas I snack about really work (at least I think they do)!

I still feel like a success because I've turned down several opportunities for coffee and gym dates (from my girl, Lisa) that I really want to do, but I want to be out of debt more so I'm making sacrifices (YES – Starbucks is a sacrifice people!!).

How are you doing? Are you joining the cash-only diet this month? Please leave me comments and let me know how things are going!


1 Comment

  1. mom_of2boys on April 16, 2008 at 11:06 am

    I don’t own a debit card. I got rid of it a couple years ago when I was first attempting the cash only. I don’t think I would use it for online purchases either.

    Good point about the birthday budget. I never thought about that…adding that to my list. Thanks!

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