Tomorrow is February 1, and that means it's the first day of the All Cash Spending Experiment, wherein Marc and I will spend only cash at stores and restaurants to see if having to use cash curbs our discretionary expenses. Neither of us is looking forward to it, but we are curious about the results.
I will be doing my weekly grocery shopping at Trader Joe's this weekend, and that'll be my first real "test." I'm thinking of bringing a calculator because my grocery purchases can run anywhere from $85 to $150, depending on what I've bought and how much. Now that I'm menu planning again, I won't be buying extraneous things, but my average shopping trip is still about $110 after all is said and done. (If that seems high for a family of four, keep in mind that I live in the Los Angeles area, where the cost of living is higher than average, and that I buy mostly organic produce, dairy and meat - or at least, hormone and antibiotic free.)
Although the Experiment hasn't yet begun, I can't imagine that Marc and I will want to continue using cash once it's over. But I was thinking that we can probably save a lot of money simply by being more aware of the total cost of our purchases before we hit the check-out line. I am expecting to find that keeping a running total in my head as I go through the store will cause me to buy less and therefore spend less money. And that'll be a good habit to get into.