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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.




Potluck

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:
Non-cash
calcium supplement (took from medical) $10.15

Cash
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.