The Diaper Diaries

but hopefully not full of crap

Frugal Fridays- Cold Hard Cash February 28, 2008

Filed under: Frugal Fridays — thediaperdiaries @ 11:48 pm

frugalfridays.jpg When I met my husband we were a bit different when it came to spending. I was more of a spend it if you got it, pay check to pay check, pray to God the check clears kind of gal. He was more of a know where every dime of his money was at any given time, spreadsheet budget loving, cash in envelopes in his underwear drawer kind of guy. Just for the record, I wasn’t looking through his underwear drawer, he just told me that.

So when we merged finances, it could have been real ugly. Thankfully, I saw the light and gradually paid off some credit card debt, scaled back on the clothes shopping (ouch), and began to embrace a budget. But the one thing I couldn’t get on board with was the underwear drawer thing. I got on board with the fact he had one, just not the cash in envelope thing.

I realize all the big financial guys say to do it, but to me cash equaled spend. For example, I am not a big Starbucks person. First of all, I don’t drink coffee. Second of all a drink there costs the equivalent of a small house payment. But for some reason, when I have cash in my pocket somehow a chai tea latte sounds divine. I would never put that paltry amount on a card, but have no trouble throwin’ down the $5 in my pocket. Is anyone with me??

Anywho, we have done relatively well with the budgeting thing since we got married except for one area (well besides the fact I feel I should have unlimited financial resources to buy as many outfits I want). We always seem to go over in miscellaneous spending. Who even knows what it all is? Target runs, Lowes for lightbulbs, gifts for an unexpected birthday party, a new tandem bike for trips around the block.

So with the turning of the calendar year, I declared 2008 “The Official Year of Not Going Over Budget in the Miscellaneous Category of Our Budget.” I even had t-shirts made. January, not so much. But I am hear to report that in February, we are $89 under budget. Did you hear that, UNDER BUDGET!!! To what do I attribute this miraculous fact? The underwear drawer. Well, not really…but the cash system. Every week I withdraw the amount we can spend on miscellaneous that month and once it’s gone, it’s gone. Everything else on the budget is still debit card purchased cause I can’t bear to part with that beautiful piece of plastic. It’s so purty.

For more Frugal Friday tips head over to Biblical Womanhood.

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25 Responses to “Frugal Fridays- Cold Hard Cash”

  1. Kati Says:

    Seeing as how I used to work for Starbucks, and now no longer receive the 30% discount or the free drinks I’m with ya on the cost of drinks there! I should know…..I’ve made only 1 zillion of them. And hey…what woman isn’t entitled to a new outfit? It’s even better when you find it on clearance and STILL make budget! 😉

  2. Lady Why Says:

    That is a great idea!

  3. Char Says:

    I want to see these t-shirts! And then are you going to sew them into a bag that’s good for the environment? 🙂

  4. canearl Says:

    You guys rock!! That’s awesome. That’s such a good idea to do cash for miscellaneous stuff, but debit for everything else.

    I hear you about Starbucks. Since it comes out of my allowance I think twice about going.

  5. Heather Says:

    We are always looking for new ways to ramp up our budget. We finally have a system that works well…but it always takes re-evaluation and constant care and attention. Maybe a new system like this will be the jumpstart we need. We need to start checking and double-checking our budget for this next year – we’ve got a big change comin’ 😉 (I owe you an e-mail about this…I keep thinking I’ll run into you at church…)

  6. Cami D Says:

    Hey, newbie here! I came on over from my cousin’s blog and am loving yours! She was blogging for a while about the topic of Christian women and discussing sex. I’ve had a good time with that. I am a very open person and think this topic needs airing out, especially in the Chrisitian arenas. Not mixed company, but in a healthy environment like this. Alread read your challenges and have put some into practice!
    I hear ya about sticking to a budget, esp on the misc stuff. However, I am backwards with the cash thing. In my mind, swiping plastic is less stress than actually handing over my cash. It hurts me a lot worse to give that up. Maybe this works more for the bigger amounts though. Swiping a card at WalMart for $150 is WAY easier than handing over that many $20s and $10s. OUCH!!!
    Anyway, encouraging post! I want to encourage you to keep blogging, you are very inspirational to me. Thanks!

  7. wearethatfamily Says:

    Wow! I’m impressed! My other category is out of control in my budget. We just stated a Dave Ramsey class and I’m afraid. . .very afraid.

  8. wearethatfamily Says:

    Oh, and I forgot to add, “Thanks for visiting my site.” I’ve discovered my self esteem ain’t what I thought-the high I receive from absolute strangers reading my nonsense is SHAMEFUL, I tell you.

  9. Kristen Says:

    Great job!! We just completed the Dave Ramsey class last fall, and it totally changed the way we handled our money. We have moved to almost entirely all cash now and don’t use our cards at all, except for gas and our once a week ATM withdrawal. It’s been pretty great and we’ve been on budget since.

    Anyways, major congrats!

  10. Britni Says:

    I haven’t been able to jump on the cash bandwagon because like you if I have cash it just is asking to be spent. The money doesn’t get spent if it’s my credit card, but I’ll pull out cash and the next day try and figure out what I spent it on. Maybe it’s because I spend cash on the things I really shouldn’t be buying.

  11. Woohoo! Never a bad thing to come out under budget. 🙂

    I’m the same way – I rarely carry cash, so when I have it, ohhhh does Starbucks call to me. *sigh* HOWEVER we did a Target run last night (for actual necessities) and I ignored the siren’s call. The best part? I found a pair of shorts on clearance (that I almost bought full price 2 weeks ago and put BACK) – for what a Venti Frap would have cost me. YAY! 🙂 Bet you can guess which one I went for.

  12. That’s wonderful! Congratulation on one big stepping stone. I start using Yodlee to keep track of my finance online and the first month was not very encouraging. But this month we are getting better. I agree that $5 for a coffee seems too much when you have to use your hard-earned cold cash.

  13. Heather Says:

    Everytime I read you…I freak out because I think we are so much the same. I don’t like coffee either….but on my little mama’s weekend away last week I was introduced to chai tea latte. Oh my now I am addicted. Good thing our town doesn’t have a Starbucks. And my husband is the same as yours. Likes to see everything penny for penny. Me if I have it, I really like to spend it. Our goal this year is also to give every dollar a name…before we spend it. It is a challenge. I’m with you on that one too. That is so great to be under budget!!! GOOD FOR YOU.

    Although my promise to have sex every night this week is not going so well. Hmmmm…..Maybe you better continue the “challange” Can we have a daily challange? Can their be cash rewards??

  14. Why’d you have to go and ruin my perfectly good coffee indulgence? Not “Charbucks” (as in – the taste of the coffee, not Eastowners), but another Big local chain. I have no problem putting it on a debit card and often find myself putting it into another bugdet category. Stupid graduate degree financial management classes – I can make anything fit where I want it now.

    Very catchy name for the year though. OYNGO-BIMCOB for short? Get me wunna-them t-shirts, wouldya?

  15. The “Miscellaneous” column is also a problem for us! Good idea, Jillster, I might have to give this one a test run and see how it plays!

  16. skiplovey Says:

    Yes this is totally my weak spot. Everything else is in pretty good shape but then those birthdays or house needs come up and bam, there goes the budget. I like the debit card thing although we use our credit card for air miles. But it might be worth it if we could actually stay within the budget.

  17. CC Says:

    It is soooooooo hard! that miscellaneous kills us too. I think we’ve budgeted by $175 misc. but it is almost always more than that 😦

  18. Pamela Says:

    Great work! $90 under budget is HUGE. But sister, I want to encourage you to re-think what is considered “miscellaneous”. Starbucks, yes. But maybe part of the solution is to have line items for things like household maintenance (light bulbs, furnace filters), gifts (for the unexpected party), etc. That underwear drawer is going to be too stuffed with cash to hold any underwear pretty soon!

  19. jubilee Says:

    We took a Crown Ministries Financial class and it changed my way of thinking about money. We’ve never tried the cass in the envelop thing b/c we both spend whatever cash is in hand. Not that we do much better with a debit card . . .
    Life is so much easier when both husband and wife are together on the money management thing.
    Good for you!

  20. I love the idea of the cash in envelopes system but we use our credit card for everything and then pay it off at the end of the month. Then we get the points. Wells Fargo has it set up where they show you where you spent your money during the month so you can track your expenses and still use your credit or debit card. I also thought of you today when I went to the Mike Huckabee rally. He was amazing to hear in person.

  21. Good job! I must admit I’ve scaled WAY back on Starbucks. When I DO get a Peppermint Mocha, it is treasured.

    My mentality is: we don’t drink, we don’t eat out often, we don’t go out for movies or shows…so a little Starbucks here and there is OK.

  22. Sarah Says:

    I know EXACTLY what you mean about the cash. I used to use my debit card for everything, and I usually thought twice about a purchase if I had to use my card. After all, later I would have to record that purchase in my checkbook. BUT, if I already had the cash, then I had *already* recorded that withdrawal in the checkbook, so it was like “free” money. It wasn’t like I was consciously thinking that, but somehow that was my attitude. If the cash is in the wallet, it’s begging to be spent! I’m not so much like that anymore, but I’m just sayin’, I know what you mean. If that is indeed what you meant =)

  23. goodideamomma Says:

    So the hubby is right again, huh?! I love the envelope system!

  24. Michelle Says:

    Great tip! I’ve found that works for us as well. I’m still enjoying perusing your blog and archives and have added a frugal friday post to my blog.

  25. lifeafterbaby Says:

    I got bridal shower invite today and was so hacked off b/c we hadn’t budgeted for it–didn’t realize it was coming. It’s out-of-town, we can’t get to it, and it’s family, so I HAVE to send something. Maybe we’ll get an unexpected windfall in another category that will make up for it. I agree with everyone who has done the Crown Financial classes to get some foundational theory and Dave Ramsey for some functional and practical planning that REALLY WORKS! I have to admit, though, i’m one of those “if I have cash I spend it” people, so sticking to the debit card is more “painful” for me–especially if it’s like a 59 (pronounced fitty-nine) cent purchase–I won’t bother with it.


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