November in cash

After so many years of trying to be really really frugal, it looks like there is a need to change the way we spend. Don’t get me wrong, we do save ($10k in the bank saved in fact) but I’m not very happy about our spending habits with the extra money we have after bills are paid.

I mean, we have student loan to pay off. We have goals, like retirement and college, to fund for. Obviously we could do better than the current situation. I’d be much happier, and pleased with myself, if we really stick to the basics of spending and eat food that we cook.

Jon prefers that we eat at home, so that’s not a problem. My toddler has no opinion obviously, but I have grown up eating really yummy food at home cooked by my mom. Eating out back in the days was not the norm, it was mostly tied to an occasion. My point is that I’m (still) used to eating yummy food, so when there’s nothing yummy at home I resort to restaurants.

Of course I cook, but I don’t cook as much as I did compared to, say, a year or so ago. I keep thinking that if I didn’t get home at 5:30pm that I’d have more motivation to cook, but that’s just lame.

The idea of spending in cash only was something Jon and I had talked about. I have been so used to using my debit card for 6 years now that to revert to old style will require brain re-adjustment.

Oh well, we’ll still try it. Good thing I bought Ziplocs sometime ago, we could use them as envelopes. I budget $700/month on groceries but when I think about how much it would cost our family a week’s food, I can only justify $100. So how did I come up with the extra $300???

On November 1st, I will withdraw money for our food budget (including take-outs), personal allowances, and transportation. If we have extra, we can always deposit the money in the bank.

I don’t have notions that by end of the month we will have saved $x, but I hope that we will. It would be different to hand over REAL money at the check out when I buy groceries. I also plan to leave my debit card and Visa at home. My Visa has no balance, yet I feel like cutting it in half and pound it with a hammer. Where is my angst coming from?

Let’s see how it goes…


Check, please!

Banking was the first thing that I wanted to learn about America when Jonno and I decided to move here. In the countries that I lived in, electronic banking was the way to go. I was sure that USA wasn’t behind for sure, but it was here that I first wrote a paper check.

I’m serious!

It’s a bit odd. It was also here that I was first asked if I preferred direct deposit for my paycheck. It was never an option since I started working 12 years ago. And I started my first job in a third world country.

I’m still ever surprised to see cafés and shops here that accept checks. How’s that ensuring that the account is funded? Today I thought of keeping a checkbook in my bag if I run into a store or café that doesn’t accept a debit or credit card.

I’m a big fan of electronic banking. It’s not only convenient, but I have a compulsion for organization. No, it’s not OCD.