Well, here it is August 26th, the 26th day of our cash system. It has been a big learning experience. We used our debit card for all purchases before. Wow! What an impact it has to count that grocery money over the counter to the checker!
The first thing we learned was that we didn't budget enough money!!! I forgot completely about back to school supplies. I used our grocery money instead. Initially I was determined to make it work with the original amount and use up all of the extras in our cabinets. One problem: We are big milk drinkers. We go through 3-4 gallons a week. Also, I always keep fresh produce on hand for snacking. Apples, bananas and grapes are staples, with other fruits varying according to season and price. Well, it is very hard to not go to the store to replenish these things when you are used to fresh fruit for snacking! I crumbled and replenished our grocery money with the equal amount I used on back to school. I thought that would be fine.
I still didn't have enough money. I learned yesterday that you are actually supposed to keep track of every single expense for a month THEN you go to the cash system based on what you learned from your examination of your expenses! Woops! We totally skipped that step! Plus, like I said, I had forgotten to plan for back to school. The first several days of school are a never ending list of $5-$10 expenses that have to be paid. To top all of that off, I forgot about lunch money. Shoot and double shoot.
Another thing: We used our "fun money" for Schlitterbahn. Our admission was paid, but we opted to not pack lunches, so that meant we had to buy our food. Don't forget souvenirs for the girls! That meant we had no fun money left after the first week of the month! I sure do miss Sonic Happy Hour.
Consequently, we have exactly $12 to get us through the last of the month. I still have piano and babysitting money, but that is obviously earmarked for something else, and that expense is not going away. I think we can get through the month on $12.
Confession: That $12 is stolen from our dining fund. It seems I way underestimated our grocery bill. We only used half of our dining money, and the rest went to groceries. I figured if I had to steal from an envelope, it was better to steal from a non-necessity!
For September I made categories for all of the things I forgot, and I budgeted money for "kids" to meet all of those unexpected expenses that will always be there. I hope to actually have money left over from this fund, because we agreed that any money we didn't use would go into a Christmas envelope. I know you're only supposed to budget what you need, but again, I'm still new at this, and I figure any money we stash for Christmas is a good thing!
There you have it. I'm sure you were dying of curiosity about how our cash system was working. Now you can sleep easier after this update!