Oh, readers. I have not been a good role model. Not at all.
Putting on myself on a cash diet was going great in October and November. Then there was a little holiday called Black Friday. And one called Christmas. And another called five family birthdays in one week. I fell off the cash-only wagon in a spectacular way.
My credit card statement in December and January reflected that slip and boy, writing those checks hurt. There was no one to blame but myself.
I have since gotten my act together a bit and reset my spending. I am pleased to say that at the end of February I was about to put a nice funds transfer in to my savings!
Here are the small adjustments I found to have made a big difference in being able to stick to only spending the cash in my wallet:
1) I do not get the paper, I do not look at on-line ads and I do not go in to stores willy-nilly. If I need something, I go and get it and I get out. I do not browse the end caps. I do not look for clearance items. Sometimes I do not even take a cart. I put on my blinders, get toothpaste and checkout.
I fully realize that I am missing out on some great deals. However, I would rather have the money I didn’t spend instead of the thing I got at a good price. There is very little I NEED at the moment. WANT, now, that is a totally different story.
2) I make a plan for meals based on what I have in the cupboard and then make a list of what additional things I need to make those meals. That is all I buy at the grocery store. It is usually fresh produce and I have been spending about $15 a week. I am only feeding myself and I do not eat dairy so that number should not be a reflection of what your bill should be!
This does not mean I am eating weird stuff and missing out on things I like. Most of the ingredients I have already make meals I enjoy . I also kind of like the challenge of seeing how many cans or bags or boxes I can use in one recipe.
3) I log in to my bank account and look at the numbers quite often. I am not obsessed. I make sure I do not scold myself. I look and say things like “Well, if you were able to add this much this paycheck and that much then next, you would be getting closer to what you want to have saved!” It’s like a little pep talk among my brain, my savings account and my calculator.
How about you? Now that we are well in to 2013, how are your financial goals coming? What small changes can you make to get there?