Guest post by Nony from A Slob Comes Clean
We pay for Christmas gifts with cash. It’s the only method we’ve found that keeps us within our budget.
You see, I’m scatterbrained. I choose to view this as an endearing quality, but also have to find ways to compensate for it. If I try to remember how much I’ve spent on a credit (or even debit) card, I’ll invariably forget something. Sometimes something big. If I write down each gift and its cost, I lose the list.
Using cash solves both of these problems, and I actually enjoy shopping this way. I start out feeling rich with an envelope full of money, and I end up feeling not-poor because I haven’t overspent.
In the age of online shopping, it can be difficult to work with cash only. A few years ago, I got the bright idea to buy a digital camera for my computers-are-for-solitaire in-laws. Family members warned me that it was a bad idea, but I was sure that if I could find one with a viewfinder, they would use it.
Turns out, there aren’t many point-and-shoot digital cameras with viewfinders. I searched and searched until I finally found one on Walmart.com. They didn’t sell them in stores, and I had to pay online.
I went through the checkout process, figured out exactly how much it was going to cost, and drove to my local Walmart. I bought a gift card for the exact amount–using cash from my Christmas envelope!
Yes, it was a bit more effort, but it disproves the theory that you can’t shop online with cash. You just have to turn that cash into a gift card first! I’ve now done this multiple times and it’s worked well for me.
Not every online store will have a brick-and-mortar counterpart where you can buy a gift card, but you can also purchase a re-loadable Visa gift card with cash from your cash envelope. There may be a fee, but a fee that you pay in cash up front is definitely preferable to an unexpectedly high credit card bill in January.
Is it easier to pay online with a credit card? Yes.
It is much more satisfying to know that you stayed within your budget? Definitely!
By the way, my in-laws loved the camera, though I don’t think they’ve ever yet actually used it. Maybe my next post should be on how to save money by not buying people gifts they won’t use…
Nony is a full-time mom who is forever coming up with practical solutions that work for her unique, creative (but very scattered) brain. She focuses on ways to keep her home in order at A Slob Comes Clean, where she shares her personal deslobification journey with complete honesty.