A few weeks ago, Jer and I were sitting down talking finances. We decided that we could be saving more, and we could be giving more. That afternoon, I handed over the checkbook and told Jer to come up with a plan.
Here's what Jer concluded. We rarely use credit cards, so we didn't have to worry about that, but no more debit card. From that day on out, we are operating on a cash budget.
Each week we get a set dollar amount in cash out of the ATM. Everything except the monthly bills comes out of this weekly allowance. Gas, groceries, clothing, out to eat, diapers, etc. We don't have the cash, we don't get it.
While I was dreading it at first, I love it! I have always planned my monthly menus and stuck with my grocery list, but I am so much more conscious about what I buy. So we've been at it for three weeks, and here is what I have learned so far:
- Plan your menus and make a thorough grocery list.
- Stick to the list, unless you find an incredible deal. For example, I didn't need shampoo and conditioner, but there was the brand I use on clearance. It would have been silly for me not to get it.
- Use your calculator to figure price per unit. Surprisingly, it's not always cheaper to buy the store brand, especially if you have coupons.
- Use coupons, but only buy it if you need it!
Here is an example of my coupon shopping. My Mom gave me her $10 off coupon for JCP. They were clearancing out winter clothing and I picked up tee shirts for the boys for next year. They were on clearance for $2 a piece, so I owed nothing. Not even sales tax. Epic score! (Because it was her coupon, I gave them back to Mom and told her to give them to the boys for their birthdays.)
For those that know me, you know that I am a classic, I mean classic type A personality. Not sure why I wasn't doing this before, but it's working now. It's helping me and hopefully helping my children distinguish between wants and needs.
After all Luke 12:15 says, And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”