We did it! One month down, two to go in The Money Saving Mom’s Budget three-month cash challenge commitment. I’m not ready to cut up the plastic, yet, but things are going well! Here’s what the challenge has looked like for us.
Credit Card Statement
Before taking on the challenge, we had previously used our credit card for nearly all purchases. (Note to the haters: do your homework before hating. We live debt-free, including the house, on mostly my husband’s teacher salary. We’re not spenders.)
We always knew it was coming and planned for the bill. No big deal. I must say, though, that this time, having only my May Azure order on our statement (which I included in the challenge) was so much fun! I don’t know why… I don’t think we spent less money this month without the card, but seeing that low number made me a happy girl. (I can’t comment on debit card use and how that would affect us, because we don’t own one.)
Creative Spending and Organization
I’m not a fan of failure. We knew going into the challenge that May was going to be on the spendy side, what with our daughter’s birthday and several graduations and such. I found myself digging out, remembering, and redeeming all sorts of “play money” that I must have
forgotten about been saving for a rainy day.
T’was a great reminder that SwagBucks credits, Vitacost rewards, and yes, even credit card bonuses (more on those later) spend like cash. No reason not to use them and keep the green in my wallet a little longer. I also gathered a few gift cards with partial balances that added up to a few bucks here and there. It pays to be organized and prepared! (Who knew?!)
Lessons from My Littles
I made it very clear in previous posts that a big reason why we took on this challenge in the first place was that we felt like our children may be getting confused about spending. Case in point: one evening after a ballgame I ran into the store with our 6yo to grab some snacks for his team. He picked them out, after great deliberation, and we went to the register to pay. The total wasn’t much more than $5, but his face fell when I pulled out my cash. “Aren’t you going to use your card? I don’t want you to spend money on my snacks.”
Break my heart! I explained (quickly, while checking out) that’s it’s okay and that “the card” is a form of money, too. That appeased him temporarily, but it reminded me that at this age our children are very literal learners and I really do need to keep using cash until they can grasp what’s in that plastic and how it gets there.
I do stop to think about what I’m spending. I do have to make sure I have enough cash in my wallet. I haven’t decided if it’s making me spend less (let’s not talk about how well I keep track of such things yet, okay?) but I really, truly do have the “Do I have enough cash with me?” thoughts that give me pause. Attention spenders: this one observation may very well be your key to spending less with cash.
I have none. ;) Perhaps that’s why this is a three-month challenge, and so far we’re just plugging along. There are great lessons to be learned when handing over the green though, and we’re still trying to discern if it should be a permanent change for our family.
If you’ve hesitated to jump on board, I truly do encourage you to give it a try for a time. Inconvenient, yes. But if you’re in debt, that sounds even more inconvenient to me. Do something! (Perhaps this will be your something?)