Turns out, cash makes you boring.

The cash spending thing is still going well.

Tomorrow will mark the two-week period and the second paycheck in this experiment.  Unfortunately I did have to use my debit card at the parking meter in Hartford this morning (for a whopping $1.25).  I had cash and I thought the fancy new parking kiosks took cash but they only take quarters.  Crap.

Other than that, it’s been going surprisingly well.  Another weird side effect (other than not wanting to spend my precious cash) is that I’m home more after work.  I didn’t go out shopping every night after work, but I frequently would go to Jo-Ann Fabric or TJ Maxx just to browse around and waste some time before going home to the quiet house.  Since I don’t have the “Crafts and Supplies” cash to spend at the moment, I’m not going to risk tempting myself at Jo-Ann’s, so I just go home after work.  It’s been strange.  Tonight I came home, tired to go outside to read, but was chased in by the mosquitoes, so I laid down on the couch, watched a movie and took a nap.  Quite boring, but at least I’m not wasting money, right?

I had a few questions about this whole process so I thought I might just answer them here.

Firstly, most everyone was outraged by my labeling of the one “Clothes and Household” pouch.  Even my sister gasped and said “Nooooo! You MUST have a clothes only pouch!” But here’s my reasoning.

Why did I choose the categories I did? When I came up with the whole cash budget, I went through my check register for the last four months to see where I spent my money.  Generally it was Stop & Shop (Groceries and Farmers’ Market), Jo-Ann Fabric (Crafts & Supplies), the hair salon or Molly’s doggie salon (Health and Beauty), Starbucks and occasional restaurants (Eating Out), and TJ Maxx or Marshall’s (Clothes and Household) – so named because in those stores I could buy a new outfit, bed sheets, and a muffin tin in the same trip.  To avoid having to take $20 from one pouch and $20 from another and to make it as easy as possible for myself to actually use the cash, I combined the two.  But don’t be worried on my part, I never buy clothes anyway.

How did I come up with the budget numbers? Honestly, I typed it all out in Excel with yearly, monthly, weekly – and then since I get paid every other week, biweekly breakdowns.  I wrote down all of my bills, the ones that get paid monthly, like my car payment and the electric bill; the bi-annual ones, like car insurance; and the annual bills, like car taxes.  I also figured in Molly’s annual trip to the vet, her haircuts, my haircuts, and then my weekly spending on gas, groceries and craft supplies, etc.  I figured out how much I would need from each paycheck and then what category the bills/expenses went into, and divvied up the cash.  Then comes the confusing part where I tried to figure out how much cash to take from each account since I had (in my debit card days) had one checking account for bills and one for spending.  It all added up and made sense, but today looking at the sheet, I don’t understand what in the world I did.  I’m just trusting that I did it right. Hopefully.

Now I know I was asked other questions but at the moment I’m drawing a blank.  If you want to ask me anything, please feel free to leave your questions in the comments.  This is a work in progress that seems to be working well so I would be happy to give any advice or information to anyone who is interested in trying this, too.

See? I warned you, cash makes you boring.

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