I’d like to let you know something – budgeting is not as easy as I thought it was going to be! I looked at my numbers, scribbled down my expenses and income, and hoped that things would change. I used mint.com and studied my spending. After trying a cash budget for a few weeks and never succeeding… I decided that something had to change.
Months and months ago, I found these handy DIY budget envelopes and decided that paying for things with cash may help us save some money. Well.. after doing it for a week here, and a week there… we always faltered! We’d find ourselves at the grocery store again, with no money envelope in hand, and out would come the debit card.
March 2013 has been the very first month where I have budgeted almost every last penny. This first week of March, has been a full week where we have gone to our favorite grocery stores with $120 in hand.. and spent exactly $118 of that month and not a penny more.
Why did we decide to do this? Because something has to give. There has to be a better way to manage money than adding and subtracting again and again and hoping that all will balance out. While we’re still learning to preplan and be proactive with our cash, there of course has been a little bit of spending that has not been pre-planned. We’ve edited the budget to include these expenses as they come to be sure we have something to save at the end of the month.
The point of our cash exercise is to limit our overall spending to cash only if we can… but on a much larger scale, it is to teach us the value of our money. Some may think dinner for 2 for $30 is a cheap date… but to us, it now equals X amount of ground beef or other food that could have fed us for a large amount of meals. While we won’t cut out our splurges all together… we’re deciding to live on a mostly cash budget because we work HARD for our money, and want to keep as much as it as possible. We aim for less debt every day. We need to work on how we budget for entertainment, fun, and dinners out.
We’re spending how we want to. After the necessities, everyone has their own priorities. We’re just learning to keep better track of what we do most… with cash
Please join me in the coming weeks in March, when I’ll let you know how we’re doing with our March Budget! Looking for a new way to budget and love writing things down? Try my Monthly Budget Worksheet, available on Etsy…