Trying something different

I work on a two week budget and do my budget banking through Presidents Choice, where I am not charged for each and every debit transaction I make.

Which is good, because I live with my debit card! I use it everywhere! My having cash is a rare thing and usually happens because I know I am going somewhere that doesn't use debit, like a farmer's market.

I ran into a banking problem a few months back that essentially cut me off of my bank account (no fault of mine, though,) and left me debit cardless and without any cash. I couldn't get at my money at all and ended up doing my grocery shopping on my empty credit card for more than a week.

Not how I like to do things!

I've decided to try something different for awhile though - going strictly cash and keeping every receipt I get.

With that in mind, when my budget started yesterday, I withdrew what I had earmarked for this week in cash and started tracking.

Lucky me I had already done most of the back to school supply shopping, so there wasn't that much spent on those items, though I did have to get a birthday gift for a party my youngest is going to this weekend.

Do you have any idea how fast cash spends? Here is my bill from this morning's trip to Farm Boy to show how quickly things add up:

baby watermelon $2.99
English muffin package of 6 $1.69
4L of 1% milk $4.59
2 English cucumbers @ $0.88 each - $1.76
10% table cream (on sale) $1.99
Wonder Bread $2.19
Lite Sour Cream $2.59
Lean Ground Beef (on sale) $8.52 - I plan to make a big batch of meatballs for the freezer
4 Russet Baking potatoes $1.99
Spinach bunch $1.29
Broccoli $0.99
3 lemons $0.99
Haas Avocado $0.99
Whole Wheat Paris Toasts $1.99
Medium Cheddar $3.08
Havarti Cheese $2.47
2 bagels $1.10
pint of blueberries $2.99
4 golden kiwi $1.98
Mussel $1.19
Black Plum $0.47
White Peaches $1.08
2 packages of raspberries $5.00

Bag credit 6 @ $0.02 each - credit of $0.12

Total spent with credit - $53.80


Janet said...

That would definitely NOT work for me... cash burn a hole in my pocket... I am about 100% more likely to go out for lunch, or buy another (unneccessary) cooking magazine if I have cash on me...

Dolores said...

And in contrast to Janet, I can let my debit card get away from me quickly -- tossing magazines, greeting cards and other obvious impulse purchases into my cart and categorizing the entire purchase "groceries" without analyzing the line items.

I'm planning to do a similar "cash only" experiment in September -- I think it will be fascinating to see whee my food money goes.

David T. Macknet said...

Meanwhile, I'm going through a "no cash" thing, because I'm moving to the UK. Imagine my chagrin when we went to the consulate, down on the other end of California, and had our cards frozen because we weren't behaving as we usually do. Umm... duh?

Good luck!

Stepmom said...

i can't carry cash. if i do, i spend it! i'm much better at not spending if i use a debit card or check. not having cash also keeps me from buying too many snacks & sodas from machines at work :) good luck!

leslie @ definitely not martha said...

Not sure if you're trying to save money, but I usually shop at price chopper, and I found tha tsome things are a LOT cheaper....for example, this week:

- watermelon - $1 (on sale! and seedless!)
- english muffins - $1 (also on sale)
- cream - $1 (on sale too)
- sour cream - $1.69
- 7 pound bag of yukon golds - $1.99
- bagels - $1 (on sale)

I bought different veggies and stuff, but if you're looking to save some $$, definitely check out Price Chopper or Food Basics for some of your staples. You can save a TON on the exact same products.

Jenny said...

Thanks all!

Leslie, part of the reason I do Farm Boy is that I can walk to it (2 minutes from my house) whereas Food Basics is a 10 minute drive away, so I can't go whenever. Plus I refuse to buy their produce and meat, knowing that they choose what other stores don't want. I'm not adverse to their canned items though, so will be giving that a try for week two! Thanks for the advice!