Mar 1, 2012

Modified Cash Spending Experiment: March 2012

As I mentioned last month, I've been thinking about a modified "all-cash" spending experiment, and contemplating ways to implement one.

My husband and I are both pretty disciplined when it comes to spending. We rarely spend frivolously, and we save a good amount every month. So the only areas where we could realistically tighten spending without becoming miserable about our living conditions is my domain: grocery and drugstore spending.

While I cook regularly, meal-plan weekly, and don't spend frivolously, I'm not as disciplined in restricting how much I spend on groceries and toiletries as I could be. But I have good reasons:

I buy organic dairy for the kids, and RBST-free dairy for my husband and me. {Thank goodness for Trader Joe's and their low everyday prices!} I buy most of my meat at Whole Foods, because even their non-organic meat is hormone- and antibiotic-free. I keep a close eye on the "Dirty Dozen" list of produce that retains the most pesticides, and buy those in organic varieties.

Thanks to food allergies, I've become an obsessive label-reader, and that in turn has caused me to notice ingredients in foods that don't seem necessary. So when I don't have time to cook or bake, and when my kids prefer store-bought items like crackers, I'll pay extra for the brand that has the most "natural" ingredient list.

These are health choices that I'm content with and have no intention of changing. Still, I think I could reduce our spending somewhat. I took a look at the charges on my credit card and discovered that I spent $594.15 and $558.29 in the last two months. That's actually quite a bit less than I was thought it would be, but it makes me think that I could get our spending down to $500 per month.

So I'm going to try something new in March, and switch to cash for my groceries and drugstore expenses. I'm taking $500 cash and making it last the whole month. I may not be a happy camper by the end of the month, but then again, I might be thrilled.

I'll let you know how it's going once I get into it!


Christina @ Northern Cheapskate said...

I'm very interested in reading how this experiment goes for you. I've been struggling with keeping my bargain-hunting/stockpiling in check, and while an "Eat from the Pantry Challenge" helped, it hasn't completely cured my shopping issues. I've often thought about doing a cash challenge, but we've become so reliant on our debit card (and rewards credit card), that I know we would really struggle.

Thanks for sharing this with your readers. Best wishes!

Chief Family Officer said...

Yes, I've been following your challenge too! This is definitely going to be interesting - I'm not used to thinking THAT hard about whether to make a purchase, LOL!