Guest post from Cassi who blogs at The Fitness Failure
Our first decision was to implement the envelope system!
We had tried using cash to pay for groceries in the past but inevitably we would turn to the debit card when we went over. We solved this problem by purchasing an inexpensive calculator that I could use to keep track of our total as we shopped so that we would not go over.
I learned to take my time shopping and pay close attention to prices. The longer I used the envelopes, the easier shopping became. I also realized another added benefit to the envelopes — they held my coupons that I needed for any given shopping trip and eliminated the possibility that I would forget my coupons at home.
Since switching to cash we have reduced our grocery bill by over $150 per month. We always have a stockpile of cereal, pasta, and other canned goods. And because I now pay more attention to the amount of cash that it leaving my envelope, I am better equipped to handle sales on items that I need to stock up on. This has afforded me the opportunity to buy more fresh produce throughout the year and has helped me to plan healthier meals for my family.
Holidays used to be a grocery bill buster, but now my husband and I plan for holidays by budgeting more money for groceries in November, December and April. We no longer have to panic when a holiday arrives wondering how we will purchase the few added expenses.
Using cash has totally transformed our lives.
We do much less impulse shopping and we pay very close attention to where every penny goes. My husband and I are much less stressed and we have a stronger relationship as a result.
Tips for using cash:
- Use brightly colored envelopes to categorize and organize your cash — it makes them easier to keep track of!
- Invest in a decent calculator — one that flips closed is best if it is going to live in your purse!
- If you don’t want to use a calculator (or you can’t find it) round up on everything and jot the total down on your list periodically so you don’t lose track.
- Don’t figure coupons in when keeping a running total. This helps you have money left at the end of your shopping trip for things you may need to buy later.
- Leave your debit card at home — that way you will not even be tempted to think it is okay to go over.
- Always leave wiggle room — try not to spend every last cent so that you have cash left mid-month if you need it.
- Don’t forget to figure tax into your total — this could break the bank
Cassi is a wife, mother, and high school English teacher in South Dakota. She loves to read, write, paint, use coupons and is passionate about saving money. She blogs at The Fitness Failure.
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