I told you we’d managed to buy all our consumables for $500 last month, but when it came time to look at the cold hard numbers, I realize I lied. (Payday for us is once a month on the 25th, which is why we don’t operate on the “normal” month.)
The problem is, I don’t really know where and how we spent our money because of the stupid, stupid, stupid cash system. (I’ll try to be subtle with my real feelings, mkay?)
I know that all the debt avoidance persons tell you that boo-koodles of cash filled envelopes will keep your budget on track, but that does not work for us. I am not sure why, exactly, but here are my speculations.
- We are not in debt. Maybe this only works if you have engrained plastic usage issues, which we don’t.
- I am as klutzy as a drunk-monkey. That God trusted me with children is astonishing. Untraceable green papers of value shoved in a purse that is overloaded with receipts, bandaids, mascara, sunglasses, sermon outlines, sippy cups, and a phone proved to be too much for me to handle.
- I am frivolous and silly. Cash makes me feel rich and entitled and untraceable, like I’m off the grid. When you are off the grid, you can buy all kinds of stuff without THE MAN knowing about it. I don’t mean the ProvidinaTOR when I say “THE MAN.” I mean the BANK. When I have cash, I buy all kinds of dumb stuff despite the envelope’s designation.
- Cash people don’t get receipts. When you spend cash, it seems that the cashier assumes you don’t want a receipt. Or you buy things that don’t get you a receipt. Or . . . . you get home and the groceries are put away and you don’t know where the receipt is, but there is only $8.95 left in your wallet. You think there should be $28.95, so did you drop $20 on the FLOOR? OH CRAP!!! You look around like a crazy lady for your $20 bill. Eventually you find it in the side of the Pull-up bag because you didn’t take your purse in and you just took four twenties and maybe the bill was only $60 OR YOUR HEAD WILL EXPLODE IF YOU HAVE TO DO MATH and find your own money. (While you are looking, the three-year old walks into the street.)
So, WHY, I ask, would I think I should switch to cash? Why? Why? Why?
Speaking of math, and the MAN, and knowing things, I am pretty uptight when it comes to budgeting. In the early days of being a tightwad, I used to gleefully sit down every night and enter in all my receipts and bills into my check register. Then, I found Quicken, which does it all for me and uploads my bank transactions. It even categorizes my spending and aligns it with my budget. It’s a nerdy poorganic girl’s dream come true! Now every morning, I update our Quicken with the day’s bank transactions to see where we stand. For us, it is a good system that keeps me accountable, in budget, and out of debt. Cash did NOT do that for me.
According to Quicken, we spent $500 and groceries and $160 on household, putting us a whopping $160 overbudget. GASP!!
Frustratingly, I don’t really know if those numbers are totally true because most of that money was a cash withdrawal that I marked in the system as “grocery.” However, in point of fact I must confess, I am certain I did not spend that cash exclusively on groceries. I spent some on medicine, a child’s birthday present, my kid’s allowances, my fall Bible study book, etc. BECAUSE, why not!?!? I had cash.
All the other errors of the Not-so $500 month, I cannot recount, though I suspect we ate too much cheese. It happens.
Let’s have a do-over, shall we? I’m going back to my trusty debit card. I’ll let you know how it goes, um . . . sometimes. As I confessed to some friends last night, when I blog a lot, it means we are awesomely poorganic. When huge chunks of time go by without posts, you can assume that I’m eating pie sweetened with sugar and reading novels. Send me and intervention e-mail when that happens, won’t you? (Actually, this month, I HAVE a real life J-O-B, so that is a tiny excuse, right?)
How did your $500 month go?