For the past few months, I have been exceeding my food budget of $300 a month. AUGHHH!
Given my limited income, this is a problem. So, I recently made a decision to take drastic measures.
Are you ready for it?????
I decided to purchase all of my food in CASH.
Okay, not so drastic…BUT only allowing myself to spend cash on food has had a pretty big impact on HOW I buy food. It means no credit or debit cards. Meaning that if I don't have cash on me to purchase food, then I can't purchase food. No exceptions! And sticking to my budget meant that I can't buy too many snacks or meals on the go. If I did that, I would go over budget. The $300 has to last the full month and there is no wiggle room.
I started this process in February and I have already noticed that I am buying food differently. I am much more conscious of my food decisions. I think twice about every cup of tea that I purchase at the local coffee shop and every snack I buy at the store, because I can actually see how much it costs in real money. When we use credit or even debit cards, money just seems less real and easily disposable. But when I paid $3.95 in cash for a cup of tea, I would compare it to the pennies I would pay for it at home and I would be forced to decide whether it was worth it. Sometimes it was worth it because I wanted to spend time with my friends at the local coffee shop, but other times I would invite my friends to my house for tea. Plus, I was more planful and would make sure I prepared enough snacks for the day, so I wouldn’t have to overpay for snacks at the store. Overall, paying in cash has forced me to make decisions because now I can clearly see the consequences. Yes, consequences is a strong word, but I had to force myself to be accountable.
Keep in mind that paying in cash also meant that I could no longer track where I purchased food, which is a valid reason for paying with a credit or debit card. However, when I really thought about it, I realized that it didn’t matter where I purchased my food as long as I didn’t go over my budget. So, I took out $300 from my checking account at the beginning of the month, and I have been rationing myself $75 a week on food.
Now you try it and see what happens! In fact, it’s not too late to make March a CASH MONTH! I started my CASH process in the middle of February and I still reaped a lot of benefits. AND, I spent $290 on food in February, which was $10 below my budget. Pretty exciting! And while your food budget may be more or less than my budget (e.g., my food budget is $200 in the summer), this CASH EXPERIMENT is worth a try!
If you want to make March a CASH MONTH, then join the conversation! Start the CASH EXPERIMENT and comment below!