My St Johns River

My experiment with cash-only continues, in generally a favorable way

myadmin, · Categories: budget, finance

Took pains to learn from the first round of errands such that this latest round of errands went more smoothly. Working with $20s was definitely easier. One critical flaw I’ve discovered in my envelopes organization is that I divided up the envelopes according to purchase type, ie people food vs livestock feed versus hardware vs healthcare needs, etc. Those categories match our Quicken categories and seemed a logical way to organize. Yet at two of my stops, I regularly purchase items from more than one of those envelopes. That worked out OK the first time because I just segregated everything in advance. But this past Friday, I forgot to do that each time and that really messed up the accounting in my envelopes. Furthermore, somewhere in that tangle I made a $13 mistake that I haven’t found yet. That really annoyed me yesterday when I tried to track that down. So for the moment I’ve taken it out of my blow money envelope. That was a nice feeling to know that even a mistake was covered. But today I’ve got all the receipts on my desk and I hope to go back through my math and find some computational error. I’m pretty sure I didn’t just lose or drop $13 along the way, or overspend somewhere, so it’s hopefully just me writing something down wrong and/or adding/subtracting it wrong.

That actually brings up something interesting, with both good/bad aspects. When using the debit card, it was relatively mindless. Just whip out the card, who cares about addition, subtraction or categories? But when handling cash from different envelopes, every last penny counts. And there are several places where user error can creep in and trip up the balances – handing over too much/too little cash, writing down the amounts wrong, doing the addition/subtraction wrong, etc. So now I’m spending more time actually calculating how much each purchase will be and then balancing out each transaction afterwards. More time than I expected but it automatically gives me a better idea of how much I’ve really spent and how much I have left also read about payday loans and bad credit “five ways to overcome bad credit in your report”.

One interesting little oddity. I have discovered that one of my stops, a mom-n-pop feed store, is very casual with their change practices. Bought $194.03 worth of feed? Heck, let’s just fudge those numbers and say it was an even $194 and skip giving all that change back. They’ve done that to me now three times in the space of 10 days. One wonders how they balance their tills at night. So I’m thinking to carry a little change purse with me, separate from the envelopes, so that I can always make change. The good news is, my change jar is growing. We haven’t decided what to spend it on yet, but I’ve turned into quite the change counter.

And yes, I’ve now experienced that phenomenon that DR describes of “shoot, I only have X amount left in my envelope, don’t want to blow it on something stupid….”

The big bummer news of the week is that my beloved old truck has sprouted a slow but steady leak from the gas tank. Nothing like filling up at the pump KNOWING that some fraction of that purchase will be lost! One night I dreamt I was leaking dollar bills out of my gas tank. So that goes in today to get fixed. I had wanted to hang onto that money towards more significant truck repairs that I know are coming soon, but I can’t ignore leaking gas. The good news there is that my brand-spanking-new sinking funds system was inoculated with my most recent paycheck, which should be enough to cover the repairs. So that’s a nice feeling even though Murphy has been having some fun at my expense this past week.

I guess there’s one more interesting update. My DH has been watching this all unfold with growing curiosity and respect for the benefits of the system, even though he has no interest in converting over himself. Somehow as a result, we’ve suddenly come to an understanding that he and I need to set up and use money in different ways, because we’re different people. What works for him wouldn’t always work for me and vice versa. So our recent disagreement about sinking funds has just sort of evaporated into nothing. I’ll have my sinking funds and take great comfort from that, and he’ll have one big savings account and take comfort from that, and we won’t try to convert the other. That was a nice bonus along the way.