Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Financial Fitness

I hate to talk about money on my blog. I mean, what a boring topic, right?

But I saw an interesting article linked off of Yahoo! and I just wanted to share because it was something Superdad and I started doing, on our own, well over a year ago and it's made a huge difference how we save and spend money.

Here's the basic premise of the article (which is pulled from the article):

Step 1: Figure out how much cash you need to cover a week's worth of gas, groceries, entertainment, dinner on the town, breakfast at McDonald's, books, music CDs, cosmetics, gifts -- the whole gamut of casual expenses (Supermom aside: we do it a month at a time, but whatever) .

Step 2: Be honest. Don't deliberately overestimate so that you're sure to have enough cash to get through the week.

Step 3: Set the anticipated amount aside and don't use debit or credit cards.

Superdad and I started realizing at some point last year that it was absurd that we weren't saving more than we were. But why weren't we? We decided to switch to cash for all our expenses (groceries, diapers, gas, etc.) instead of our ATM cards and instantly, almost as if by magic, we were and are are able to save a lot more. Honestly, I don't even really know why.

Well, actually I think I might. Superdad and I are both absurdly miserly and it's a lot harder for us to spend cash when we know there's only a finite amount than it is to whip out a debit card which seems to have endless reserves when you're not staring at the balance every time you make a purchase. It's easier to be cheap at the grocery store when you realize you only have a set amount to spend that month. Or to put back oh-so-cute sundress for Elisabeth at Target when you realize your clothing allocation is running low. And you'll find it even easier to tell your spouse that they can't afford to go out for steak with the boys once again... oh, wait, that wasn't hard before. But at least now you'll have a fresh, new excuse instead of the tired (but true), "Honey, the kids are driving me crazy.".

Sorry, I know the article is not terribly interesting, but neither is balancing a checkbook or paying bills, but those activities are essential elements of remaining financially fit, so go read the article.


MOST with an attitude said...

Good Info Super!! M and I actually went to an all cash spending plan (except for mail-out bills) when "the crew" was born. It was much easier this way to gauge our spending, plus, it alleviated the problem of him forgetting to give me debit receipts to enter into the checkbook. I never thought I could give up my debit card, but after a month, it wasn't too hard at all!!

terri said...

Great idea. I do find that I spend less when I'm using cash, but I don't do it regularly.

Mainly b/c I'm afraid (and almost positive) that I would lose it.