Cash: Keep the Change?

So I decided this month that I would try a “cash only” system. I pulled out $400 on the first of the month and designated this to be my spending money for the month. Food, groceries, dog food, entertainment – well, everything, on $400.

It was a great idea in theory. But I screwed it up in two respects:

1. I spent it ALL in the first week

Now, this actually isn’t as bad is it initially appears since I also used this to pay for my lovely UTI and all associated costs there. And I used it to pay for my stuff at Ikea and my half of the hotel and nice dinner (Grand total for the weekend $164 + doggy boarding of $40 = $204).

Well, the weekend away on top of my UTI means I spent nearly $300 in the first weekend of September. I should have set up a SEPARATE amount that was NOT my weekly spending money to this trip – or, better yet, not taken the trip at all. I thought I could do it cheap, but I just couldn’t. So I’m calling a caputz on all future weekend get-aways unless I have budgeted for them OR until I pay off this darn credit card debt! While impromtu vacas are fun, they’re not practical nor do they work on a budget.

2. I didn’t separate my money by weeks

In the past when I’ve used a cash only system I separate my money by weeks – $100 for each week. This keeps me from being broke for entire weeks and instead I only get to be broke for a few days until the next Monday comes. Also, by Thursday I have a pretty good idea of how much money I’ll have to spend on the weekend. I just kept all $400 in a lump sum in my car and grabbed a $20 as I wanted it. This was a bad idea.

So what am I going to do?

I was very tempted to say “Well, you’ve got only $20 left, live on that for the rest of the month!”

However, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to set myself up for more failure. I have two paychecks coming in from the community college that I started teaching at. I was planning on putting both one of the paychecks into my E-fund to get it near my yearly goal and the other onto my credit card debt. However, I’m going to just use one of these paychecks (the one I’ll get on Friday) to pay for my expenses for the rest of the month and put the other one on the credit card. I’m kinda bummed that I have to do this, but the UTI couldn’t be helped and I’ve learned a pretty (in)valuable lesson about weekend get-a-ways.

So I now have three weeks until my next payday – and hopefully I won’t fuck that one up as much as I did this one!

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2 Responses to Cash: Keep the Change?

  1. Jessie says:

    Hard lessons like this suck, but they are usually the ones we remember…good luck making it through the rest of the month.

    Have you decided whart will qualify as an emergency should you need to dip into the fund?

  2. MPP says:

    I had a hard time using cash too because it would suddenly disappear and I hated keeping track of the receipts. I know it sucks to derail from your original plan, but I think what you chose to do instead is very sensible and will save you later from setting yourself up for failure.

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