The Money Circus of using Cash
One of the things Dave Ramsey teaches is using an envelope system. I’ve tried this so many times but without an accountability partner (now my dh!) I found myself constantly cheating. For what it’s worth, I do this with diets too, but that’s a subject for another day. Now with my dh fully on board, there is no more cheating. We have an agreed amount of cash to spend and when it is gone, it is gone.
So how are we handling things that come up as we know they will? That is where the money juggling circus act comes in. Every two weeks I pull out $300 in cash and that money is divided into 7 categories. These categories are grocery, pet, gas, clothing, prescriptions, blow/fun money and miscellaneous. The miscellaneous covers needed things like oil changes, hair cuts, stamps, etc. It does not cover wants as that is what my blow/fun money is for. Trust me, at $10 a week my wants are fairly minimal! Since my dh is gone from home (A LOT!), he receives a predetermined amount of cash to take with him. Admittedly he does carry a credit card with him just incase, but I honestly can’t remember the last time he has used it. Our goal is to eventually build up enough buffer in our bank account for him to carry a debit card but we aren’t there yet. Baby steps!
Getting back to the circus act. Dh and I have agreed that we can pull from one category to cover a shortage in another with the exception being the blow/fun category. The juggling act also comes into play when I order something online as I often do. Should I order something online from one of those categories the cash is then removed from the envelope which means I then pull out less cash the following two weeks. Online shopping is also why there is no gift category as that is a line item in our budget. With our kids and grandkids living on the other side of the country, Amazon Prime is my go-to. Saves us a fortune in shipping!
I know for some people this would make their head spin, but for us it is a way to stay on track. Staying on course with any lifestyle change takes discipline and this how we are handling the change in our money habits. One thing I have found with now having my dh as my accountability partner is that I think more about what I do actually spend. To be 5 days from payday and still have cash in my wallet is rather exciting and for that, I will gladly learn a few tricks!