Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Things I've Learned About Cash Management

I decided to start off my month by getting into the habit of using cash for gas and food expenditures.  The idea being, once it's no longer in my hands, that's it!  I planned on documenting expenditures on the post-it notes attached to the money so I had some kind of accounting figured out.

I started strong.  Really strong.

I had everything for the month of May planned out.  When I could pick up dinner, what I had to do for groceries to keep to my budget.  I was doing really, really well managing the cash I had on hand.

Then something changed.

I took it for granted and splurged a couple times.  I was feeling pressure during a transaction and committed to noting the expenditure later.  I never did.  Unfortunately, I never did note a single expenditure after that.  I just fell into old habits of spending cash until the cash ran out.

I even went over the $200 limit I set for myself on yard work (some last minute snafu with the spa wiring) and I still haven't accounted for some last minute purchases that I need to pay back my friend for.

I disappointed in myself.  A dinner splurge now could mean no Disneyland trip for Danny for his birthday.  Biting off more than I can chew in purchases could mean I'm shy a couple hundred dollars I need for a potential overseas trip I'm considering this winter.

Honestly, we've been so good about cooking and eating at home, I generally find eating at a restaurant really tedious.  So I still feel good about not splurging on eating out as often.  But then, handling everything with cash and not keeping good accounting, at the end of the month I may never really know how much I spent on unnecessary dinners.

I debated abandoning my efforts this month, but instead, I'm going to try to recreate things as best as I can and just renew my efforts.  It's a process.  I can't expect to completely change bad habits overnight.  And while I'm momentarily disappointed, overall I think my increased awareness is a very good thing that I know I will reap the rewards of.  And for that, I'm still extremely hopefully.

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