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Last Day of the Month, Last Day of this Experiment!

September 30th, 2005 at 01:54 pm

We have been using cash for our day-to-day spending for one month today. This has not included when we spent money from our checking acct or savings acct, but only money we spent from our cash which we put into envelopes for things like groceries, gas etc....what I call our day-to-day spending. We conducted this experiment for one month in hopes of determining whether we actually spent more using credit cards and whether we could save by using cash. My dh has always taken cash for his personal allowance so it was mostly me that needed to try this.

We have learned a lot from this experiment. In the beginning I actually was hoping it would prove that we spent the same regardless of the method of payment. But we have learned that we DO spend more cautiously when we use cash. We are more anxious about our money..and work harder at making sure we stretch it until the next pay day. There were many times this month I would have spent more if I had been using a credit card. So yes it is true that we save money using cash. I hate to admit it, but it IS true, Dave Ramsey! :-)

So we have decided that we will continue to use cash for these type expenses. For us this includes church offerings, groceries, eating out, gas/oil, car repairs/tires, clothes, allowances, postage and miscl spending, however my dh will continue to use a cc at some gas stations...he will use cash when it is cheaper to buy it that way. Otherwise he will get the 5% rebate by using his card. I do not feel we spend more on gas using a card as he only uses it if he has money in his envelope and he has to take the cash to the credit union when he charges.

We will also continue to pay most bills by auto pay...mostly directly from our checking acct but some by credit card. This will ensure we keep the mileage we have built up. Also we will continue to pay for some things that will come from savings...like medical items by credit card and also our tithe. I simply cannot go back to writing checks! Been there, done that, have moved past it, don't wanna go back! At least that is how we feel now...possible in the future we will feel differently but these are items we are not likely to overspend on and we like getting the cash rebates for using our card. So we will mix the two methods somewhat. Groceries and my allowance are the two places we have tended to overspend on using credit cards so we will now use only cash for these.

Had a good workout at the gym...I am definitely feeling better. Only hurts now when I take a deep breath or cough. I called my insurance today and I still have no authorization to go to to a surgeon. They said I could call my primary doctor and he could call in and hurry things up a bit. I'm not sure that is necessary, however I will think about it. They said it should only take 7-8 days and I am feeling better so should be ok.

Today while at the gym, our local Wild Oats called me and told me I had won a baby gift basket I signed up for! So I went and picked it up. It is really nice and full of all kinds of baby food etc. I will probably donate it to Share House or someplace. Unless I am invited to a baby shower. :-) I also have some other baby things that I won online several months ago so may put it all together when I give it away. At Wild Oats we bought some apples for $1.61.

Then we went to WinCos and bought a few more groceries and a sympathy card for a family member. The card came out of my allowance. Total was $6.08. Next we went to the credit union and deposited a rebate check of $12.50..this was a cash rebate from a credit card and I paid it back onto our balance on that card. Small payment but every bit helps!

I was hungry by this time so we went to Arby's for lunch...yeah, I know, not the best food for a gall bladder problem, but I ate it anyway and it sure was good! :-) For the 2 of us we spent around $8. We shared the drink. I used my allowance for this. My dh is always treating me so it was fun to treat him for a change. That was the end of my grocery money and most of my allowance as I used it to pay for part of the groceries too. But tomorrow is payday and I feel we have done pretty well. My dh also bought a scone which he paid for out of his allowance.

When I got home I paid off all our credit card purchases for September even though they have not all been billed yet. I just want to pay off each months spending in that month...I don't like to be paying back all the time.

I don't think we will be spending any more today.

So today's spending:
Cash spent (not counting my dh's allowance)
Groceries: $8.06 ($1.56 came out of my allowance)
Sympathy Card: $2.58 (my allowance)
Arby's: about $8.00
Total cash $18.64

Non-cash spent:
Sept. CC charges paid: $170.22

Deposit made from cash rebate: $12.50
Put back on credit card (extra payment) $12.50

This is the end of my experiment. We now have a new budgeting system which I am using along with Mvelopes to assist me in keeping on track. We have simplified our finances somewhat by eliminating one credit card. We are using cash for our day-to-day spending. At some point we may not feel we need both budgeting systems and may drop Mvelopes to save the fee but at this time I like having both. I esp have learned to be more cautious in my grocery and personal spending by using cash. I have paid off all charges billed in Sept, so am starting fresh in October. I feel that we are more in charge of our money. We have $92 surplus this month which I am going to apply to another debt after I finish this journal entry. I really feel that we are much more in control of our money now.

Yesterday was very frustrating! Today is better!

September 29th, 2005 at 01:44 pm

Yesterday was frustrating! I made it though my workout at the gym...uncomfortable and very tired...but I made it. Came home and got ready to go to my surgical consult. Well, I get there and find out the girl told me wrong...there are no surgeons at that clinic! So I had to go home without seeing a doctor! At least they returned my co-pay.

I spent the rest of the afternoon tryng to find a surgeon that will take my insurance...no luck so called the company and they couldn't find one either. I told them who I'd like to see and they are sending in a request for me to the main office and will be letting me know who I can see. I'm to call Friday to check on it. They said they will either find a plan doctor for me or will send me to a non-plan doctor and pay for it. I am hoping they will let me go to this doctor here in town that I think I would like.

By the time I was done with all this I was feeling very miserable and frustrated, but yet have the sense that it will turn out ok. It was just that I wasn't feelilng well..that made it hard. Today I am feeling better, got through my workout easily and feel much more positive.

My dh went fishing today, but doubt he stays so long today as it has started raining. A sure sign that fall is definitely here! I hope he doesn breakout. So far he has had no new breakout this fall. I am sure he is going to come home talking about going south though! LOL

Yesterday I spent about $4 from my personal allowance. Otherwise no spending.
Today so far is a no-spending day.

It is almost the first! I can't wait to do a whole month on our new budgeting plan! Also I plan to take any surplus we have left this month (so far $92) and apply it to our debt snowball! Have to admit I was tempted to go to Walgreens and use this surplus to buy the 10 things you can get free with a rebate this month. But none of them are anything we need right now so I talked myself out of it.

I guess that is the main thing that bothers me about not using a charge card....I can't usually afford to take advantage of great deals I find. :-( I keeping thinking...gee, I could just charge them and then pay them off with the rebate cash (plus get 10% more for putting it on my Walgreen GC). That's what I have always done and have my cupboards full of these free items. So it's hard now not to do that, but I have promised myself not to spend any money on these type things that I don't have the money for and it takes a while to get that rebate. I only have about $7 left in my grocery/hh evelope...that wouldn't be enough and besides I may need it before the 1st.

So, my weeks spending (didn't get it posted yesterday)
From cash
Groceries: $3.50
Gasoline/Oil: $19.68
Car Mt./Repairs: $85.15 (part of this came from gas/oil envelope)
Church: $1
Personal stuff: 4.00 (from my allowance)
Total Cash: $113.33

Non-cash (check or paid online)
Water Bill: $67.03
Credit Cards: $741
Medical: $10.15
Total Non-Cash: $818.18

I think we have very well with our cash, and paying off these two credit cards enables us to get off to a good start in Oct.

A Little Discourged but got a lot done today

September 27th, 2005 at 03:41 pm

I'm feeling a little down today...it's been coming on me ...family issues, money issues and health issues...all contributing to it I know. I know it will all work out but my dh is kinda down too and that makes me more down!

The family issue is one that's been around for a while...I'm tired of dealing with it and feel I've made the right decisions so I'm just trying to let it go and not let it bother me but it still makes me so sad. I think sometimes that it is affecting me physically too.

The money issue: We are all set up with our new budget plan for Oct. I'm excited about doing a whole month on it, but we still have some bills for Sept that were autopaid by credit card. I mentioned this before here. I thought I would have enough to cover them but turns out I don't have quite enough. After discussing this with my dh we decided to withdraw enough from our EF to pay these bills and let us start fresh in Oct. I really, really hated to do this as we don't have nearly as large a EF as I'd like but this morning I did it. It was discouraging to me and yet it is good to start Oct fresh and hopefully we will never, ever let this happen again.

Health issue: Tomorrow I go to my surgical consult. I think I'm about ready to give in and have the surgery, but I still will ask the doctor lots of questions before I make up my mind for sure. Yesterday I called my neighbor who is an RN and works on the post-surgical floor..I asked her a lot of questions and feel somewhat better about it.
But I still really dread it.

After I withdrew the money I paid off 2 CCs and cancelled one of them. The others I will keep until they are paid off. I also cancelled AOL as I never use it. I was only paying $2.95 (a holding acct..no longer offered) and only kept it for when we travel. But I have since found out that Qwest (my DSL company) has a pretty large network so I will use it instead when traveling. I will not have to pay extra for it. Also last year I occasionally went to the library and in one resort was able to use wireless. Wireless was expensive but what I save not paying AOL monthly will pay for the short time I use wireless. I also called all the companies that are autopaid using the acct I cancelled and set them up to either be auto paid out of our checking acct or I will just pay them myself using billpay.

My dh called the Philippines today so I called and found out that with our long distance service (Primus) it is only .25 a minute...he only talked about 5 min. so shouldn't be too bad! Just to be on the safe side and so he can feel free to call there now and then (family), I added extra long distance calls to our savings items in our budget. I want to be prepared for everything! :-)

It's a no-spend day as far as cash, but I spent $741 paying off those credit cards online.

My dh did a small job for a friend and made $20. He told me to take it for groceries but I think I'm ok for the rest of this month so will just add it to our surplus money to hopefully be added to our debt snowball if nothing comes up to take it.

Overall I guess it's not been such a bad day, we will now get off to a better start in Oct. We only have 2 autopays now and I'm leaving them for now. One is to keep activity on a card until we can use the frequent flyer miles. The other is just for our Netflix payment. That one is also the one card I plan on keeping after the others are all paid off. Maybe. I may change my mind and drop it too then. I'm getting to not like credit cards much! :-)

Another Rough Day

September 26th, 2005 at 01:10 pm

Got through my workout this morning but again, it just wiped me out. I do not feel well. My surgical consult is Wed. and I will be asking lots of questions and then have to decide about surgery. The trouble is I have heard of so many people who continue to have problems after the surgery that I am a little leery about doing it. One surgeon (after my last attack 4 years ago) told me he didn't advise me to have the surgery in fact. I had done well controlling it with a low-fat diet for 4 years, but this episode is lasting longer and I am getting very tired of it.
So will just have to see what I find out Wed. I hope I get enough info to feel I can make an informed decision.
I really hate to have surgery again...I have already had 5 (for other things) and that is already 5 too many IMO! Especially since I've been told I likely can't have it by laparoscopy. You know what scares me the most? Waking up with that old naso-gastric tube in my nose! So far I have not had to have that but with this surgery I think I will and I'm afraid I will freak out! Anyone have this experience? If so, I'd like to hear how it went for you.

Today we went to Sears and had our pickup battery tested. My dh charged it before we left and it started but it failed the test so we bought a new one. $85.15 There wasn't enough in the Car Repairs/Tires envelope so he had to take some from his gas/oil envelope, but at least we had enough to pay for it plus he still has enough for gas this week. So that made me feel we are doing something right. In the past we would have charged it.

I don't think we will have to spend any more today.

It's a beautiful sunny day, but in the house and the shade it is cool. I'm rarely cold but I am sitting here with a light jacket on and still feeling a bit chilled.

Another No Spend Day

September 25th, 2005 at 05:18 pm

I am not feeling well today...it's still my gall bladder...no intense pain but bloating and lots of discomfort on the Rt upper abdomen and up the back on that side. Feels kind of like a side ache like you get when running. I also feel very tired. Almost stayed home from church this morning but ended up going. I don't want to just lay around, so make myself do things. After I got there I was glad I went.

After we got home I fixed some chicken minestrone soup and served it with Garlic Bread. I know I shouldn't eat the bread and did limit myself but it was so yummy with the soup I just had to eat some. All the ingredients were from our fridge and pantry. The chicken and spaghetti was leftover from another meal.

Some friends are coming over later to get some of our fish eggs, and we are also going to give them some tomatoes and green beans from our garden as we have too many for just us.

My dh put $1 in the offering plate in church but otherwise it's a no-spend day. We pay our tithe online on the first but this month I started putting a few dollars in an envelope for offerings and gave it to my dh. It's not much but it's a start. I'd like to give a lot more and to other worthwhile organizations too. This is one of my financial goals as we get our debt paid off.


September 24th, 2005 at 04:16 pm

Today we went to a potluck. I took Pineapple Upside-Down Cake and it was yummy! That's about the only time I bake any more is when we either have company or go to a potluck...at least I won't have it all to myself to eat too much. I still ate 2 pieces though. We had a nice time eating and talking with friends in our Filipino Club. Then one couple who we rarely see as they live in the Philippines came over to our house to get some of my dh's smoked salmon.

Today is a no-spend day. Everything I need to bake the cake was in my pantry.

After all that eating I feel like taking a nap. :-)

A Good Feeling

September 23rd, 2005 at 07:23 pm

Went to the gym this am per usual. Yesterday I felt so good exercising, but today I thought I'd never get through it...my gall bladder was bothering me a little again..and I just got so worn out. But the rest of the day I was fine.

We went to Costco for gas and a calcium supplement so snagged a few samples and shared a hotdog while we were there. My dh paid for the hot dog out of his personal cash. A very cheap date! :-)

Today I was able to redeem a small reward ($12.50) on one of our credit cards and decided it was time to make some changes. We have some auto-pays that go on this card which we pay off every month. I was going to just change them to another card in order to get more miles but when I got on the phone I decided to ask if they could just take it out of our checking acct and they said yes, so that's what I did. I noted the date when they will be taken out of our acct in my budget plan.

I did this because our plan is to slowly get away from credit cards. I will be closing this card as soon as I pay off a small balance we are making payments on, but we will keep the others until we can redeem the reward miles and cash. But I have come to the point where I dislike paying for last month. Call me crazy but it just seems somehow cleaner and freer to pay immediately for most things. I don't care about the reward incentives any more. It will be a while before we are completely through with the credit cards though and I think we may continue to keep our Citibank card to use for things like renting a car and perhaps at Costco. The gas station takes debit cards but I don't know whether the store does. In fact I used my AMEX today at Costco for the supplement. I took it our of our medical/health savings category which is not part of our cash so used a card to pay for it. Then transferred the money from savings to checking so it is there ready for the bill when it comes. It really feels good to be taking some steps to get away from the credit cards and also to have money to cover the non-monthly expenses in savings. The last few years we had had that but recently we had really blown it, but now I know we are taking steps in the right direction.

I made Primavera Chicken and spaghetti for dinner. Yummy! Everything was from our fridge/pantry.

Today's spending:
calcium supplement (took from medical) $10.15

gas - $19.68 (my dh put it on a card but then deposited cash to cover it)

Seniors & Potlucks

September 22nd, 2005 at 04:35 pm

What is this thing about seniors and potlucks?! At this time of life you are already having trouble keeping your weight diet and are starting to reap the consequences of a lifetime of eating the wrong things, and now everywhere you go they are having potlucks! Today my gym had it's monthly? potluck....not sure they are monthly but they are often. The food is GREAT but that's the trouble...too tempting! I really was careful and didn't eat a very much otherwise but I did eat 3 desserts...some kind of fruit dessert, a chocolate chip cookie and a very rich brownie! Then we had a meeting and I sat there wondering whether my gall bladder was going to give me problems. I could feel it complaining a bit and still can but so far no real pain! Oh, I really need to learn to just walk right by the brownies! I had a good workout before the meal and it was fun chatting with my friends but I don't think they should have these potlucks so often! And Saturday a club we belong to is having a potluck too!

After the potluck we went to Wal-Mart as my dh had to buy a couple things using his personal money. Since the Old Mill Bread store is nearbye, we stopped in to buy a loaf of bread, so I spent $3.50 from the grocery envelope.

Got the water bill in the mail...I think it is the highest water bill we have ever had...I was expecting about $50 but it is $67.03!! My dh only waters once a week, so don't know why it was so high. I am going to pay it by BillPay and will have to transfer money from savings to cover it as I put the money for anything that is not monthly in savings.

So today's spending from cash:
Groceries: $3.50
Other spending:
Water Bill: $67.03

First Day on New Budgeting System

September 21st, 2005 at 11:14 pm

I was to participate in an eFocus group this morning, but when it was time to login it didn't work...something on my computer seemed to be blocking it, called the tech but he couldn't figure it out either so didn't earn the $30!
I was a little disappointed because I could have used the money. Eventually I was able to see 1/2 the screen but not the ad I had to look at to answer the questions so had to give it up. I stayed home from the gym to do this too!

Then I went to the bank to get our cash for the next week and put it in the different envelopes. More envelopes now. Before I got home to put it in the envelopes, I went grocery shopping...3 stores and spent $77. When I got home and put put the rest into the envelopes I was missing $5. Very puzzling because I had gone over it again and again to make sure I got the right amount of money. So don't know if I dropped the $5 or what. That is one problem with cash I guess, it could happen, but I thought I was very careful. I took it from my allowance so I only have $20 for this week, but I think I can manage, but puzzled and disappointed by this too.

I transferred $266 to savings and left very little in the checking account because I only have a couple small bills to pay. So far I think our new system will work well once I get used to it.

I have two bills now for Oct...the custodial fee for my IRA ($9) and AAA+ ($145). I have placed them in the back of my budget binder until next month. AAA will be auto-paid by credit card and the other one on the 23rd (my second bill paying session). I feel very organized. :-)

I fixed pepperoni pizza and salad for dinner tonight and then we went to church. Came home and watched Lost.
Now very sleepy so think I will go to be bed soon.

This week's spending:
Groceries: $78.99
Gas & Oil: $26.45
Total: $105.44

We are spending less each week than I expected, so guess we are doing ok.

Alone again

September 20th, 2005 at 02:37 pm

I'm alone today as my dh has gone fishing with the neighbor boy. I don't really mind though as it is a pretty day and I'm enjoying puttering around the house. We went to our weekly senior breakfast at church this morning. It is a potluck and is usually a very nice spread. I took cornbread and drizzled some melted butter and honey on top. Afterwards we listened to the old hymns played on the piano with different tempos...kinda ragtime style.

Today I transferred some money back to checking from my dh's ING account. Remember that was one of the things that made us short this month..I accidentally set up 2 transfers for Sept! So now that is back plus a little more due to the bonus he earned for opening the account. That will help us to be able to pay a little extra toward our debt this month! I left $91 in ING for small unexpected expenses that might come up.

I've been playing around with my new budgeting software...I think it's kinda fun. I have been trying to divide up our bills between the 3rd and the 21st...odd dates but we don't get all 3 of my dh's checks until the 3rd so I want to wait until then to start paying bills. Most of our bills are due before the 21st however, or at least I want to have them on their way before then. I tried the 17th but most are due before even then. We have only a very few that are paid after the 15th. Many of them are auto paid and I have been just letting them come in whenever but now I am keeping track of the date and scheduling this in my budget plan. This plus our using cash for our daily expenses should help to prevent the overdrafts we've been getting. So for now I will leave most of the money in checking to pay almost all the bills and then just pay the few that remain out of my check on the 23rd. We will take some cash on the 1st and the 15th and on the 3rd and 23rd I will transfer some into savings.

At this point everything looks good for the rest of this month and for October. I'm excited about getting starting on my new system and keep going over it to make sure I know what I am going to do. :-) It is quite a bit different than what I was doing. I am sure there will be things come up that I don't expect but I think I have most things accounted for and that once I get the hang of it, it will be a much easier system. Today one of those unexpected things came up...I got a notice from our CU that the custodial fee is due on my IRA Term Share. So now I have put that into the budget so I'll be prepared for it next year. It's only $9 so not a big deal but I want to be sure I have everything covered and know what and when things are going to come up.

I hope to have some extra money at the end of this month to put toward our debt, AND be able to do it without worry of an overdraft!

We spent $19.28 for gasoline today, but that's the only money going out today.

Daughter's Coming for a Visit!

September 19th, 2005 at 01:14 pm

Our daughter and her bf will be here sometime late this afternoon. I have a BBQ roast in the crockpot and hopefully it will be done by the time they get here. I will shred it and serve on buns with some kind of veggie..not sure what yet. They only live about 3 hours away but we don't see each other very often...usually every 1-3 months I guess, depending on what's going on. It will be good to see them!

We went to the gym this morning. My energy level is coming up again but I'm still not where I was before getting sick. My dh is even worse...he is taking a nap now.

He was over at the neighbors a little while ago...they caught some HUGE salmon last night and borrowed our cooler to put them in overnight. Had to cut off the heads to even get them in our cooler! I thought my dh had caught some very large ones but these were even larger! So they will have plenty fish for a while. My dh hasn't done as well fishing this year but he did catch one fairly large one and we still have fish in the freezer and smoked. He enjoys fishing and it helps out on the groceries.

We stopped at the store on the way home and bought my dh some milk. I drink non-fat but he can't stand it so had to have his 2%. So I spent $1.99. I've done well with the groceries and still have a little grocery money left.

I don't think we will be spending any more today. We had leftovers for lunch and dinner is from our freezer.

After I got the crockpot going, I did a little housework. Still have more to do but taking a break.

5:17 pm We had a nice time chatting with our daughter and her bf. They were unable to stay for dinner but had a beer with us...well, I'm a diet coke person myself but my dh, daughter and her bf had beer.

After they left we ate an early dinner as the BBQ roast was ready...it was SO tender and really tasted good. We had it on buns and had a salad with it. I wish the kids had had time to stay and eat with us but they wanted to get home - it's a 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive depending on the traffic.

My dh ran out to buy something for fishing and spent a little over $1, but it was out of his own money, so for purposes of this journal, the milk was all we bought today.

Another Quiet Day and Good News, I Think!

September 18th, 2005 at 04:58 pm

There's a real feeling in the air that summer is almost over and falls acomin' today. I should be outside enjoying these last days of summer but here I am at my computer. Maybe I'll go out and walk for a while after this.

It's really quiet here at home. We went to church this morning, came home and ate leftover chicken and asparagus stir-fry and rice. The asparagus was some our neighbor gave us a while back and I froze it. Wasn't great, but was edible. Even though money is tight these days, we have plenty food. I'm pretty frugal with food and love to cook so we always have food. I was going to fix something new tonight but my dh said he wants to eat last night's leftovers tonight, so guess I'm taking it easy today! :-)

Looked over my plan again just now , and feel things are going pretty well. I have only a couple bills yet to pay this month and they only total $47 so unless something comes up I've forgotten about, we should do alright the rest of this month. I will be able to transfer money from our ING accounts on Tuesday...I think that takes 2-3 days to get it in our checking account but that should be ok as I will just be putting it into savings anyway. This is a short-term savings acct for things that are not paid monthly. My little check comes on the 21st (Wed) and out of that I will pay the 2 bills, take enough cash for 9 days (til end of month) and put most of the rest in savings.

Now the good news...this is IF nothing comes up I'm not expecting....I think there will be about $170 left. I added up the amount I have to pay the credit card (the LAST TIME for these kind of things!!) for groceries, my personal expenses and other small items and it comes to $179....so I will have almost enough to make up for that! I will leave that amount in the bank for Oct so we won't be so short on groceries and my allowance afterall!! Woo-hoo! I sure hope it works out like this!!

After I get this plan in motion (Oct), I shouldn't have to deal with it very often. The software manual says 2 days a month is all you need for budgeting activities but the way our checks come in, I think I will be doing budgeting 4 days a month plus I will continue to download transactions in Mvelopes (kinda fun!) as long as we use it. It will be kind of a check on what I'm doing otherwise. I think the 2 budgeting systems will work well together...guess I shouldn't need both but I tend to learn things the hard way so for now I like using them both.

So, things seem to be working out well and I feel much more relaxed about starting Oct. now. Ok, now to get outside! :-)

Need new battery - otherwise just rambling

September 17th, 2005 at 11:59 am

My dh just informed me that we are going to have to buy a new battery for the pickup before we go on our next trip. Not sure whether we will go on a winter trip or not due to the gas prices but regardless sooner or later we will have to replace the battery. We have a little money we are saving each month for repairs and tires so it will probably come out of that. He said he thinks the last time he looked they were about $60-70 so I am hoping no more than $100 at least.

I have been thinking about the timing of our bills. We have 2 credit cards that are due by the 3rd of Oct. I wish I could pay them this month so that we could start Oct. fresh...not oweing any of our day-to-day expenses to a credit card company...like groceries. I liked that we got cash back on our purchases, and supposedly we had the money saved in our acct but because I overspent in other areas, it is now not there. Now I will start my new budget plan..in Oct...having to pay 2 bills for things charged in Sept! grrr!! That will cause me to have less
spending money in Oct....it is mostly groceries and my allowance but those are two important areas to me! grrr again! As you can tell, I am still very angry with myself.

At the same time, I feel really good about my new plan! I feel that we are going to feel much more in control of our income and how we spend it. Unfortunately the amount we have in cash and to put into savings is not really suffcient since we are still paying off a lot of debt but hopefuly in time it will get better.

My dh will be very disappointed if we cannot go south this winter. The last time we stayed up here he was sick most of the year and he is already starting to really itch no matter how much cream/lotion/oil he uses. So far no new breakout though...he tends to break out when it gets even slightly cool. The dermatologist has confirmed that it is the weather or actually the changes in temperatures...like going from inside to outside, outside to inside or even when the temp drops in the house. He is continuing to plan on going, but knows we may not be able to and we are trying to take it just one day, one month at a time.

So far it is a no-spend day. We got up late and are just starting to get some things done around the house. As far as I know we will just be staying home today. I'm a little bored and would like to go out but without money there is not much to do. I really don't care about window shopping...I only like to shop when I have money. :-)
I'm ashamed to say that my first thought upon waking this morning was, why get out of bed when I have no money to spend! Then I thought that's silly...life is much more than money and I actually love my life even though I would like more cash! :-)

There is also plenty to do around the house, since I really neglected it when I was sick. I'm planning on organizing our closet today, cleaning the kitchen range from top to bottom, cleaning out the fridge and mopping the kitchen floor. So, I'd better get to all that right now!

I'm disgusted with myself!

September 16th, 2005 at 02:58 pm

I really am! I have been using this new budgeting and going over our bills etc. and realized that I have been spending much more than I should the past 30 days (and before that too I'm sure!). I honestly didn't think I was doing that badly...and the thing is that with Mvelopes there really is no excuse, but I was abusing the system...that's the only way I know to say it! It was obvious I was going over the amount allotted in certain categories but even with Mvelopes I was able to rationalize and tell myself it was all balancing out.

The only way it was balancing out is that I started getting these overdraft notices...and I kept tellinig myself it was just the timing of our checks (4) and payments and that I could correct that! Well, that was partly it but as I went through my purchases, I realized that I have simply been spending way too much! It is more noticeable to me now that we are using cash for our day-to-day purchases. We were paying off the credit cards that we used for daily expenses every month, but it was draining our checking account to do it!

I wasn't being extravagant like I used to do in the past...but I was still over spending...just in more subtle ways...going a little over on groceries. And buying clothing (this is rare that I buy clothes but I did last month) that I needed but couldn't afford. Suddenly I could see what I was doing and was very upset with myself!

I confessed all this to my dh. Most of it was me...I thought I was working it all out, had it all under control so had rationalized I could afford it. SO WRONG!! So we are DEFINETLY going all cash now! No longer am I giving myself any leeway for rationalizing overspending! I have done a lot of changing the last several years, but it is amazing how much I have changed just the last 16 days!

So today I cut up the credit cards. Only card in my wallet now is my debit card. I have never liked using it but will only use it when I really have to use a card, like I forget my cash or checkbook. My dh is doing the same thing except he is keeping his AMEX that he ONLY uses to buy gas at Costco ...he is keeping it until he knows he can use his debit card at Costco. They do not accept cash and are often the cheapest gas station here. If he finds he can use his debit card, we will cut and cancel that card as we have no balance on it. We do have some auto-payments going on some of our other cards so will keep those accts open for that reason to get the rewards. As we can use our free air tickets we have already earned, we will cancel some more, but that will happen more gradually. Then we have a few we are paying off balances on so we will keep those open until they are paid.

I did not spend any money again today, but my dh spent $7.17 for oil as he has to change the oil in the car.

A Quiet Day

September 15th, 2005 at 04:06 pm

It's been a pretty good day. I am feeling better and went to the gym...enjoyed my aerobics class. It wore me out but at least I wasn't as uncomfortable as yesterday. I know I'm getting better!! Yea! I'll be glad when my full energy level returns...my dh is also still kinda draggy but getting better. He went fishing late this afternoon so that's a good sign. :-)

It's a no spend day today so far which is a good thing considering how little money we have right now! :-)

I'm really getting into this cash thing and am fairly sure we are going to continue it. Funny when I started I really didn't want to do this but now I really do! :-)

I am enjoying the new budgeting software I bought. I showed it to my dh this morning and went over the printouts again with him and I think he is catching on. This is a relief to me as I want him to be apart of it all, and not just me.

I'm doing the laundry and cleaning house today, pretty quiet day.

Getting Through This Month

September 14th, 2005 at 01:55 pm

My gall stones have been hurting me more again ever since seeing that darn doctor yesterday ...all the poking he did I guess! Today it is also hurting up in my back again, and I didn't get much sleep last night. Just couldn't turn off my brain...thinking about the new way of budgeting and the possibility of surgery and other family issues. Finally fell asleep around 3 am and woke up about 7:45 am. My dh said he got to sleep even later than I.

We were determined to get to the gym this morning though so we went. I didn't have nearly the energy I usually do but I got through my aerobics class plus spent about 15 min. on the machines before the class.

After that we went to Wal-Mart and picked up a few groceries...very few..but with what we have on hand we should be able to make it through a week except maybe for milk. I only have about $8 left in the grocery envelope so we'd better! We also went to a bakery for some bread and got 2 loaves for the price of one.
My dh also bought a scone for himself out of his own allowance.

So this is our spending for today. Not counting my dh's personal allowance:
Groceries: $13.95

Last night my dh and I talked about our financial situation this month. The rest of the month is going to be tough! We only have $14+ in our checking (draft) account that is not committed and the only reason we have that much is because of the automatic deposits from our line of credit (to cover overdrafts). We have money in 2 savings accounts but those are for Christmas and Taxes. We also have an EF but I don't want to touch any of these and there is a penalty for withdrawal from them. We have another small savings account but it only has a little over $50 at this time...still that would help if we have to do it. The overdraft of $200 is already new debt and I hate that but I know it is just a matter of timing of deposits and payments so I can fix that from now on...we have enough money to cover all our expenses each month and we are pretty good about keeping to our allotted amounts in each category of our budget, so things should be fine after this month but it is going to be a pretty tight for the rest of this month!

My plan is: when my check is deposited on the 21st, I will pay remaining bills out of that. I have rescheduled some scheduled payments in BillPay so they will now be paid after my check is deposited. That makes me feel more in control. I have to go to the doctor once more this month and there are about 8 other bills to pay yet, but my check should cover all these. At least we are not behind in anything. My dh feels he has enough money for gas to get through the month. I think after paying these bills, there will be about $75 left so we can each take a few dollars for allowances (but not what we usually take) and use the rest for groceries for the rest of the month...there will only be 9 days left so I think we can make it.

I think I accidentally threw away the water bill so will call and find out how much that will be but I am estimating pretty high so should be ok. This will probably be the highest water bill of the year due to watering yard and garden.

Oh another thing I did is cancel our dental checkups and cleaning appointments. I have the surgical consult and my dh wants to go with me and that is the same day so I cancelled both dental appointments and have rescheduled my dh for next month. We should be able to handle both the cost of that visit and if necessary, my hospital stay (just in case I have to have surgery in Oct) next month. I will schedule my dental checkup and cleaning asap but don't know when it will be...maybe November or December.

If we can get through this month like this, it won't be much fun, but I think we will then be fine on the my new budgeting plan from now on. I don't know if we are saving a lot of money paying for daily expenses in cash or not (I know we have at least a little), but I do know that I am much more cautious about my spending and I suspect we are spending less. Part of it though is just that I am really focused now on paying off debt and not taking on more debt. That's why the overdraft bothers me so much, but we should be able to get it paid off pretty quickly. I hate to rush my life, but I will be glad when this month is over! :-)

At this point (after 2 weeks) my feeling is that I think this cash system (for day-to-day spending) is better for us that using a credit card. We won't get the rebates but I think we are more careful about how we much we spend and are sticking to our budget in general better than ever. I have only made one impulse purchase this month and that was to purchase the new budgeting program, but I think it is going to help us out in the long run. I like that I can see our whole budget at once and plan it out and also make notes about what I am doing and planning to do. One of my few complaints about Mvelopes has been that I can't make these notes.

Cash spending this week (not including dh's allowance):

Groceries: $60.42
My allowance: $19.61 ($3.22 for skinc are, $1.50 lunch, and $12 co-pay at doctor's office, $2.89 for notepad and personal care item)
Gas: $22.52

Total cash spending: $102.55 -

Non-cash spending (paid by cc but money saved in bank to pay for it)
Household Maintenance $ 20 (carpenter ant spray)
Budgeting Software $34.95

5:38 pm In summarizing the past week, I forgot to add that we made $35 by opening our ING accts! Yea! That pays for my impulsing purchase of the software! :-)

I just got back from Walgreens...went to buy a couple small items and used the very last of my allowance cash. $2.89 so had to change the above figures. I think we have done pretty well this week, but now that we have very little cash left it will be a looooooooong week! :-)

New Budgeting Software and a Decisions Made & to be Mad

September 13th, 2005 at 05:30 pm

Forgot to make an entry yesterday. We went to the base lawyer and got new wills made up. Actually it's a new one for my dh and the first one I have had. We needed to change the executor as he is older than either of us. We had the first will made when our children were young which was a long time ago! Just never got around to updating so finally decided we'd better. We ended up making 2 of our children (all grown) co-executors and hope this pleases everyone! Strange how complicated these issues can become!

I didn't spend any money yesterday and my dh just bought a candy bar from his allowance.

Today I went to my regular doctor for a follow-up visit to my ER visit. He wants me to see a surgeon for a consultation, so I now have an appointment for that. After the consulations (may get 2) I will have to make a decision about whether to have my gall bladder removed or not.

I paid the $12 co-pay fro the doctor visit from my allowance since I know there is no money for this in the bank at this time. Hated to do this as now I am really low on cash, but I did it. We are overdrawn on our bank account now..$200, too. We have been doing this the last few months...I pay it back but then it happens again the next month. We do not seem to be overspending but I have figured out that it is a matter of the timing of our checks and payments. I am now changing the dates I pay some of the bills to avoid this happening hopefully.

I have found another budgeting software I like pretty well and that should be easier for my dh to understand in case I'm not around at some point. It is called The B Word. http://www.thebword.com/
So far I like it really well. At this time we are using Mvelopes and I really like it and thought I'd never go back to any other way of budgeting. We have a lot of different accounts and Mvelopes really makes it easier, but we are looking at simplifying our financial lives by eliminating many of these accounts and if we can, I think I may drop Mvelopes and just use The B Word. This would also help our budget a little bit by eliminating the small charge each month for Mvelopes.

My dh isn't really into using Mvelopes and finds it difficult to understand even when I print out the forms. Since Mvelopes is continually changing I have to keep printing out forms for him, but with this new softare not only do I think he will understand better, I can just print out the worksheet for him and he actually will not even have to use the software. He can just use the print out to get him started with the budget if something should happen to me. I have printed out the budget worksheet (there is also a tracking worksheet) and put it in a binder along with some instructions on how to find the info he will need if he has to suddenly take over.

We will probably not eliminate these extra accounts right away but over time, so for now I will continue to use Mvelopes.

Total spent today:
Doctor's Office co-payment: $12.00

What Mood?

September 11th, 2005 at 05:55 pm

I'm unsure of how I feel today! LOL It was a good day...beautiful day, went to church, did some shopping, came home feeling good, but then had a family issue come up with one of our children and now feel kinda down.

One of our children does not like a decision we have made and is ready to disown us as parents! Strange how if you try and give them any bit of advice you are told it's none of our business, but yet they feel they have a right to tell us what to do! We have decided to just ignore it and hope it will die down in time.

We went to Costco for a couple items. I have to admit that if I had been using my credit card, I probably would have spent about $8 more. This was the first time that I feel this was the case.

Spent on groceries $19.78

Also had lunch there and we each spent $1.50 or $3.00 for 2 of us. We each paid for our own lunch out of our own cash allowances.

So total spent today: $22.78 ($1.50 from dh's allowance)

Feeling Better

September 10th, 2005 at 03:35 pm

I am definitely feeling a lot better today...hopefully I will be over this soon. I stayed home again today, but got a few things done around here.

So I didn't spend any money today, but my dh spent about $20 on some spray for carpenter ants. This was not out of our cash. He used a credit card as method of payment but the money is in the bank waiting for for the bill.
We just prefer not to write checks and like getting the rebate.

I asked my dh what he thinks so far about the cash thing. He says he kinda likes it because he feels in control and just likes having cash in his pocket. Hmmm...I'm not sure...I feel like I'm missing out on the credit card rebates esp for gas! But we are just getting started really ...almost 3 more weeks to go.

9:49 pm We had hamburgers for dinner tonight and my dh ran to the store for some buns. I gave him $2 from the grocery envelope but it didn't quite cover it...he had to pay 47 cents from his own money.

So total spending for today was $22.42.

Another quiet day

September 9th, 2005 at 12:35 pm

Staying home again today...kinda getting bored but still don't feel up to doing much either. I am better today though and wish I could get myself to do more housework as this house is beginning to really show the neglect!
I called the doctor again today and he has not gotten any paperwork from the ER yet so will be calling me after he gets that.

I have not spent any money today, and my dh deposited $23 from his gas/oil envelope to cover the gas he charged yesterday.

We saved some money today...my dh's eye doctor changed his prescription right after he had just bought a bunch of the old stuff. When he told the doc this he had him take it in to the clinic and exchange it for the new med which he had onhand. Saved us from having to buy more!

I think I forgot to mention that we also earned some money with our ING Direct Savings acct I opened for my dh! He now has a $25 bonus in his account and I have a $10 bonus for referring him...very cool!

Lazy KInd of Day

September 9th, 2005 at 12:13 am

Didn't do much today...slept in, was on the puter for a while, did very little around the house and took a nap this afternoon. Feel about the same...still not ready to take on the world much. My dh apparently feels I am safe to leave alone as he went fishing today, but I was ok with that as I just wanted to be lazy and rest.

It was a no spend day for me but my dh did have to buy gas, so he spent $22.52. He was able to get a better deal by going to a station that only accepts cards so he used his credit card and tomorrow will have to put the cash in the bank to cover it. This is inconvenient but we agreed to do this in situations like this. We are not going to buy more gas just because we are using a card.

Not bad for first week

September 7th, 2005 at 05:45 pm

I'm feeling a little better today. Didn't have to take any medication so think that's a good sign. My doc still hasn't called me back, but then I am in no hurry to talk to him either. :-)

Didn't really feel like going grocery shopping but decided to make myself as I felt I needed to move more and get out of the house for a while. My dh went with me as he was worried about me and we went to Wild Oats and then Trader Joes.

A few months ago I took advantage of a promotion that Washington Mutual had ...open an account and get $75 AMEX Gift Checks. I deposited $100 at that time and I finally got my $75 last month, so today I went to the bank and withdrew my $100 and closed the account.

I really needed the money as I goofed up...I opened an ING Direct Savings account for my dh and didn't complete the form correctly...so they made TWO transfers from our checking account instead of one this month! YIKES! I called them and explained the mistake but they said they cannot transfer it back, so I have to wait until the 20th to access it. It's not a big deal, I can transfer it back then but I probably will run short by the end of the week so was glad to have the $100 to put in.

I also bought a skin care product today...had trouble finding the kind I need (2 stores!) but the one I found was cheap..$3.22

Cash spent today:
Wild Oats after my 10% discount: $8.94
Trader Joes $15.75
From my allowance: $ 3.22
Total spending today is $27.91

So we have been using cash now for 7 days. We have spent only $83.85 not counting my dh's personal cash or the money my dd gave us. It does include my personal cash. I want to count it as in the past I have been the one to go over and I want to keep myself accountable. Except for $5 for a car part and included above, my dh did not spend any from his cash envelopes (clothing, gas/oil, car repairs/tires). Oh and I forgot to mention yesterday that I got a manicure which was $14.00 from my personal allowance and is included in this weekly total. I think we have done pretty well.

At this point it is my opinion that we would not have spent any more if we had been using our credit card, but I do feel that I am more anxious about spending when I use cash. I am very careful esp in the grocery store and when spending my personal money as I don't want to be short at the cashier. This may keep me from spending as much some time, but I don't feel it has yet. I plan our menus and grocery shopping list very careful and we eat simple meals and few convenience foods. We do try to buy most things natural or organic, but unless we have company we buy only small amounts for the two of us.

It will be interesting to see how the next week goes. I feel like I have very little grocery money left.

Another Rough Day

September 6th, 2005 at 08:40 pm

Not severe pain like what took me to the ER but I'm still not feeling well at all. Online off and on but mostly in bed. My dh is so good to me. He went to the store for medication, soup, crackers and black licorice. :-) I haven't had black licorice for years and years, but he knows I used to love it.

I called my regular doc and reported going to the ER. He should have the paperwork by now too. He didn't call me back...just as well I want to think and pray about this..don't want to make any rush decision into surgery.

Our gs left a favorite sweatshirt here he took it to the postoffice too. We took all this out of out of the grocery money since there is no drug money left. I think he had to add 20 cents out of his own money too.

Spending today:
medication and postage $5.15
groceries: $5.05
Total spending today: $10.20

My dh bought a slice of pizza too but he took it out of his own money.

No spending today

September 5th, 2005 at 04:35 pm

Today was a no-spending day. Yea! I'm still not feeling really well but I am much better today.

We ate out on the patio today...we had Walnut-Sesame Chicken Strips (chicken on sale week before last), corn on the cob (sale), salad (tomatoes from our garden, peppers from neighbors) and watermelon. So everything came from our freezer, fridge, pantry or garden.

Our little grandson really likes to eat on the patio. We usually try and have a picnic/BBQ on Labor Day or the weekend before at least but this year none of the kids were coming home and we had the luau at our church yesterday so didn't do it until today. Our gs is leaving in a little bit ...we will be taking him to the airport to pass off to his mom and he will fly back home with her...so thought we'd do it for him one last time. We never know when we will see him again so try and pack in as much as we can each visit.

We have really enjoyed having him and the house will be very quiet when he's gone, however I am very tired too so will enjoy the rest. :-)

You never know what the day will bring

September 4th, 2005 at 07:48 pm

I woke up about 4:30 with a gall bladder attack...finally decided I couldn't take any more pain about noon so went to ER for pain medication. Felt SO good to finally be out of pain...well, most of it anyway! Was very nauseated on the way home and crashed when I got home. I was wiped out. Finally got up and my sweet dh made me some soup for supper....first food I'd had all day and it tasted really good! It was from our pantry.

We had to take our grandson to the ER with us, so my dh took him to the cafeteria for lunch and later for ice cream...not sure how much he spent but it was from his allowance and money well spent to keep the little guy occupied. :-)

Other than that, all we spent was $7.30 for 2 medications (covered by insurance). We put this on the credit card and the money is in the bank (and mvelopes) waiting for the bill. My insurance covers the ER bill.

Luau today

September 3rd, 2005 at 11:05 am

Today we are going to an Hawaiian Luau and my dh is taking a dish. Spent most of the morning preparing it and then needed a large pan to put it in. He looked briefly but didn't ask me, decided we didn't have a big enough one so hurried out and bought one. When he got home with it I asked him why he bought it and pointed out several large containers...both glass and metal that would have worked fine! He decided to take the pan (aluminum foil kind) back and use one we had. He still struggles at times at being frugal just as I do, but he is learning.

So far that is all we have spent today and will be getting a refund so haven't really spent anything.

5:02 pm Had a great time at the Luau! There was A HUGE amount of food and we ate SO much! I am not cooking tonight. If we are hungry there are leftovers from what my dh cooked this morning....he made so much and made sure to leave some at home for us later on. Good thing too as everyone loved his dish and it was gone very fast!

Since my dh did take back the pan he bought, this was a no spend day!

Our Wedding Anniversary!

September 2nd, 2005 at 10:41 am

Today is our wedding anniversary...43 years! Usually my dh is the one who remembers but this year he didn't...he has a bad cold and isn't feeling well so perhaps that is why. I, who usually don't remember special days, did remember it for a change. Don't think we will be doing anything special - perhaps after our grandson leaves.

So far we have not spent any money but then the day is young...LOL I know we are going to Costco soon so we will be buying some groceries there. We are going to an Hawaiian Luau tomorrow and we are taking a dish so are going to buy things for that. I am also thinking about getting a manicure today if I have time.

1:31 pm Just got home. We went to Wild Oats, Albertsons and Costco for groceries. We picked up another free pkg of cookies with my last coupon. Enjoyed the free samples at Costco, esp our grandson! He kept asking for more so I told him grandma is not in charge of samples! :-) We stopped for a hot dog...dh treated from his allowance and I wasn't very hungry after all the samples so our grandson and I split a hot dog. I have now put the grocery cash away (out of my purse!) as I'm hoping we are set for groceries until next Wed.

Spending for today:
Groceries: $14.56
Lunch: $3.00 (from dh's allowance)

September Challenge

September 1st, 2005 at 07:27 pm

I am starting this journal to track my experiment with paying for daily expenses with cash rather than credit card. I want to see if I will spend less when using cash. Perhaps I will continue this journal after this month to help keep me accountable with my budgeting and paying off debt, or perhaps I won't. I will decide that later.

I also do not know whether I will continue to live on a cash basis...in fact my hope is that I will show we do not spend more using a credit card because I prefer to use a credit card. :-) It is more convenient and I like the cash rewards I get from my credit card. At the end of this month, I will have to also consider the cash reward we would have gotten had we used our credit card. If it turns out we do spend less using cash, we will continue that way. My goal is to spend less and pay off debt as rapidly as possible while still enjoying our lives.

I feel that I got off to a bad start on my experiment because I did my weekly grocery shopping yesterday and since I only had $10 left in my grocery fund, I used my credit card. I could have waited to shop but I wanted to get my 10% senior discount which I can only get on Wed. Today I subtracted the amount charged from my cash I withdraw leaving it in the bank to cover my charge.

This morning we went to the credit union and I withdrew cash for at least until the 15th . We have decided if there is still money available on the 15th we will take the rest of the month's cash then, but if not, we will have to wait until my SS check arrives on the 21st to get the rest. This should make us very careful about our spending. We already feel slightly stressed about using cash...we are just not used to it!

We went to the airport to meet our daughter and grandson. It was basically just for her to hand off our grandson (5) to us as we are taking care of him until Monday while she goes to Burning Man. She thought she'd have almost an hour with him before her flight but due to her forgetting to check her baggage all the way through...she had to get her luggage and recheck it and so we had to go very fast to the luggage pickup and then to recheck her luggage, so she only had a very few minutes to say her good-bye to her son. He is used to staying with us though so he was ok with it, probably better than her! :-) She insisted on paying for our parking, giving us $10...we may have to pay for parking when we take him to the airport to meet her so it can also go for part of that.

On the way home, my dh picked up a part for the car. The car is leaking oil and he is hoping he can fix it easily and cheaply. But just in case we have an appt at the garage tomorrow. We really hope it won't cost much as we do not have enough cash to pay for expensive car repairs. But one step at a time...one day at a time..I am not going to worry about it yet.

We also went to Walgreens on the way home. My dh was getting hungry so he used his allowance to buy a couple snacks which he shared with grandson and me. I bought a couple personal care items from my allowance...one I don't need right now but it will be free with rebate, so I got it. The other was a .... BOGO. These 2 things came out of my allowance. I had $20 left from last pay period so this month in an effort to keep more money in the bank, I subtracted that amount from my allowance for this pay period. Hope I don't regret that but think I can get along. I also bought a couple grocery items.

Came home for lunch and ate leftovers plus some veggie “chicken” nuggets from freezer.

I received 3 coupons for free cookies in the mail. I won these online! We had forgotten to buy milk for our grandson (we drink 1% & nonfat and want him to have wholemilk), so we also used 2 of the coupons.

Dinner was tuna noodle casserole and buttered peas, again all from our freezer and pantry. Evening snack will be our *free* cookies and milk. :-)

Spending today:
Airport parking: $6 (cash provided by our dd)

Car part: $5

groceries & personal care items - $14.08

cookies – 2 pkg. - FREE with coupons I won online! We almost never buy cookies and our grandson really likes these. :-)

milk - $2.29

Total spent today: $27.37 (not counting what my dh spent from his own allowance) – $6 of this was from our dd's money.

So far we are a little anxious but yet excited about this cash experiment. I realize many people live on cash everyday but we have used credit cards for years. My dh has always taken his allowance in cash but I have rarely carried cash.