Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Starting with Cash

Sometimes being on a budget really stinks. Not to be a complainer here, but if you are on one, you know how hard it can be to stick with it sometimes. We have gone through seasons in our marriage where we are really good about setting a budget and sticking with it. We've gone through other seasons where we have the budget in place, but don't really think about how much we're spending...it's more of just a "guideline". Those seasons usually end with us getting strapped for cash and getting back onto the budget, ha! In preparing for our adoption, it is more important than ever for us to be serious about how we are spending our money. Or should I say, serious about NOT spending money?! 
We have been big Dave Ramsey fans since we got married and read Total Money Makeover. He has great ideas and plans to help you overcome debt. Give it a read, if you haven't already. I have never wanted to use cash, though. I don't like carrying it. I don't like going to the bank. I feel like there's more at risk if your wallet gets stolen, etc. It has just always been so much easier to carry plastic. We don't use credit cards for day to day purchases, only debit, so we aren't in risk of overspending at Target. Anyway, all this to say that we've decided we needed to get a much more strict budget. I roll all of our toiletries and household items into our grocery budget, but we don't budget for things like our dog. Obviously it would be wise to set aside a little money every month for the one time a year we take him to the vet so we aren't just out that money in one month. The real issue was that we needed to set spending budgets for "fun" money, eating out, gifts, clothing and entertainment. Those were the places we were overspending. It is way too easy for me to go to the store for one thing, see something else cute and buy it and before I know it, I've spent all this money! I know it happens to everyone. 
We've only just started this system this month, but so far it has been working out great. Knowing that something isn't in the budget has been great for me. I'm not tempted to buy stuff that I don't need. Then we have more money to put toward our adoption expenses! There are also times where it is hard because I'm not sure where something falls, or there is something that is on sale that isn't in the budget right now and won't be around in a month or two when I've got the cash! Of course these "hard" things are really good things...I've been re-learning the value of a dollar and gaining more self control with spending. 
Do any of you use the cash system? 
Right now, even though we've been budgeting for these things more seriously, I've just been keeping a spread sheet whenever we spend something and tracking how much we have left in that category for the month. There are some things I haven't figured out yet with cash, like do I go to the bank twice a month and cut every budget in half? I feel like that doesn't work out well because what if I have $20 in one of the budgets but it's only the 10th of the month so I have only taken out $10 so far and can't spend the rest. But I can't take out every single budget at the first of the month. So I'm a little confused on how that should all work. What do most people do for that? Right now it seems to be a little easier to be paying cash for only a few things (like groceries) and just keeping track of the budget for other things, like fun money. 
What are your thoughts on the cash system? Have you been turned off the idea like I was for years? Or do you use and love it? I would love to hear any and all thoughts about budgeting and using cash/envelopes. 
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2 comments:

  1. We essentially do the envelope system as well, except we use our debit card (we prefer plastic too). We use mint.com since it has an app so we can have our budget right on our phone. It links to your bank account so it automatically updated when you make a purchase so you know how much it has left. It works great!
    We do however use cash for our fun money. We budget out a certain amount for each of us at the beginning of every month and that's what we use if one of us wants to buy a video game or a cute pair of shoes that isn't needed.

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  2. We have been using the envelope system for almost a week now, and it really has made a difference for us in how we're spending. Having a debit card made me feel like I always had money, no matter what, but that's just not true. And I was spending way too much. It hurts more to lay down cash for what I'm buying than swiping a card. We leave our debit cards AND our envelopes at home so we're not tempted to buy things we shouldn't. It really has made us realize how much unnecessary spending we were doing, and we're saving a lot more, and much quicker! We're hoping this gets us out of dept faster and closer to our dreams :)

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