Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Cash Budget Update

So I spent about $100 extra beyond what we had budgeted with the cash last month, but overall, we saved--and I'm rather mortified to admit this--$1000. Yes, you read that right. Our average credit card bill has generally been $1000 more than what we spent in cash during the month of January. We'll see if we can continue this trend. I don't believe that we were living extravagantly at all, but we were going out to eat and buying "stuff" and doing a lot more activities that cost money than we are doing now. Here are some observations and anecdotes about my experience with a limited cash budget for one month:

We have done much better eating up leftovers. Although we have always been good about this, I have been more likely to use every last bit of everything.

I really think a lot more about my purchases. Do I really need ice cream? Does Luke really need to eat strawberries--his favorite--when they are out of season? (It was hard to lecture him about "eating locally and seasonally" but it is easy to say, "I don't have $5 extra dollars in my wallet.) I have been wanting skinny jeans that I can tuck into my winter boots easily, and I didn't buy them until I found some for $3 at a local thrift store.

I've always been a meal planner, but continuing this habit more strictly has been so helpful. I now plan six to seven meals a week (as opposed to five) and only go to the store once per week. No more little runs to the store, as these always add up.

On the second to last day of January I went to Target for diapers, vacuum bags, a couple of snacky-type items (some of these are cheaper at Target) and wine. I had just barely enough money, and I was adding things up in my head as I shopped. At the register, I was 99 cents short and had to ask Luke, in front of the cashier, if I could borrow the ten dimes I knew he had in his pocket. Now, I could have just charged it and saved myself the shame, but I didn't. I'm sure the woman was thinking, "Just put the wine back, lady!"

Onward into February! I'm glad it is a short month. Maybe I can afford more wine.


AKmamaOf6 said...

Love it!!! Your so way ahead of me on those meals! Very nice.

Anonymous said...

i love these updates. it is so inspiring to me. we are trying to do the same thing. it is shocking how much we waste. money, food...thanks for sharing!


(Amy's friend):)

so yung wilson said...

Wow. Just ... wow. You've inspired me to try the cash budget. That's a lot of dough. Maybe if we can save that much a month, Troy will let me keep a part-time job.

Mara said...

Well, I have a date night planned for Friday that is sure to please:

Free yoga class downtown from 5-6

First Friday art walk (it's pretty good here, lots of wine and food)

Walk to a friends house for dinner.

At least it's one night we are saving money! And it's a date night I am going to like at least. It will be Matt's first yoga class.

Ser said...

AK mom, it is so fun to keep up with you via our blogs! I might plan meals but you homeschool six children, raise goats and chickens, and cook over a wood stove, you crazy amazing lady.

Michelle, it is so fun to find you here! I'm glad you like these posts. I've been worried that they are boring.

So Yung--I know, crazy, right? To be fair, we will certainly not be able to keep this up if a car breaks down, we have a lot of medical stuff, etc. So we shall see.

Mara, that sounds awesome. Craig would never go to a yoga class with me. Well, maybe if it was free and I bribed him or something.