success! | the great plastic lockdown

We did it! Today we went one month sticking to our cash only system. No credit cards. No debit cards. We budgeted at the first of the month and stuck to it…as best we could. Ultimately though, we didn’t put anything on our credit/debit cards and that was the goal.

This certainly was not an easy month though. First thing, we received a bill from an eye appointment I went to a few months ago. Lame! And then three weeks ago, our sweet little miniature australian shepherd injured his knee jumping off the couch. The vet believes maybe a torn acl. Our options were either a $400 xray to get a definite answer which most likely will lead to a $2000+ surgery OR strict kennel bed rest for 3 weeks to see if it improves. Obviously, we went for option two. But between the vet bill and anti-inflammatory drugs for the little guy, all of our extra cash we had been saving disappeared.

Thankfully, some people owed us money and paid us cash that we were able to use towards those extra expenses. We also needed cat food part way through the month. Luckily, I found some wet cat food that was in a box from when we moved so we were able to use that until we can budget cat food in for next month (we buy bulk from Costco so it isn’t a small purchase).

I’ve learned to budget for the unexpected.

One of the biggest things I learned this last month is I need to not be so frugal. Life isn’t always the perfect world. Things come up. Things happen. We need to plan more for the unexpected. I still live as if it’s our first year of marriage and we live in a tiny, 400 square foot, studio apartment and we budget about $20 a week for groceries. Life is different now. We don’t have to be so frugal when it comes to groceries. We both have full-time, stable, big kid jobs. We I need to learn to enjoy life a little more and budget less frugally so we cannot be so stressed about money on a daily basis.

I’ve learned to prioritize and deal with what we have.

With 5 days to go we had $17 left. We had to prioritize. And although it was the weekend, which usually means time to grocery shop for the week, we decided this week was going to be a “clean-out-the-cupboard-meals” week. Clearly, we have to go to work so need gas money. And you’d be surprised what types of meals you can come up with from what is in your cupboards. I did, however, beg and plead and bat my eyelashes and got to buy some bananas for the week so at least there was some fresh fruit.

By the end of today, October 31, we have $2 in cash. And boy am I proud of that!! Does your family follow a cash only system? What challenges do you face?

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