So we have decided to move to a cash only system again. We did this once before we started the adoption process, and then stopped although I don't really remember why we quit. It may have to do with the fact that our bank is 15 minutes away and it seemed annoying to drive to get cash and the fact that it is just so easy to swipe our credit card, even though we always pay off the balance each month.
But we're back on the cash only wagon. I take out cash every two weeks that we need for our living expenses. If we want something but don't have the money, then we don't buy it. I would love to say that we are saving all sorts of extra money, and in a way we are, but we have to pay off medical bills from Truitt's birth, and so while it is good that way, it kind of stinks because our saving account is not getting larger, and I will tell you that I feel much better about everything when we actually have stuff in the savings account!
We originally took a Dave Ramsey class where you move to cash only, get $1000 in the savings account and then pay off all of your debts from that point on. This was around 2009 after all the mass chaos of 2008 happened. But instead of paying off our debts, we fully funded our emergency account in case something happened with the economy. Then we felt called to adopt and when we changed programs, things happened differently then we expected them to and we ended up using almost all of our savings. :(
Now we are in the process of boosting that back up. It will definitely help to get the tax refund this year, but knowing that almost everyone is getting audited and that many did not get their money until the last couple of months, it won't do us any good to know that we are getting thousands back from the IRS when we can't access it.
I tend to be a glass is half empty person, and so when I stop and think about our tiny savings account, it gives me anxiety. Moving to cash only has helped a lot with this, because for some reason that I can't figure out, I hate parting with money from my wallet as opposed to swiping a card. Like today, the kids and I went to the store. Ava needs new snowpants and they happened to be on sale. So we had her try a pair on. Even though I know that winter is coming and that we have snow for like 6 months out of the year, it just about killed me to spend $25 on pants when we don't have snow. But I know what will happen if I wait, they will all be sold out and she will be out of luck. Due to situations like this, moving to cash helps me avoid purchasing things that I don't really need. The other thing that helps me with this is to just stay out of Target. Those two things alone are helping me immensely!
The hardest part about moving to cash only is that first initial using cash. You know that you have to have enough money to pay off last months credit card bill and enough money for your current needs. If you don't already have enough in your savings account, you could be strapped a little tight, as in eating Ramen several nights a week. But once you get past the initial pain, it works really well.
We cheat a little bit, Chris uses the debit card to buy gas, because he likes that he doesn't have to go into the station to pay since he is already so busy going to and from work and this saves him time. And I like to order vitamins and items off Amazon, so I use my Amazon credit card for that. Other than that, we don't use credit cards for anything.
Who knows, maybe all of this will lead to a really large savings account and we can go on that trip to Italy that I have been dreaming of and that it seems like everyone I know has been going to Italy except me! I am a world traveler in my dreams, and to be honest, I have gone to several interesting places, Uganda, Belize (twice), Honduras, Mexico, and Canada (I know you may be thinking that Canada doesn't count but we had such an amazing time there!). But there are so many more places I would love to visit: Italy, Australia, France, Istanbul, Greece. I better stop there because I think I could go on and on. I am hoping that heaven will be an amalgam of the most beautiful nature of all the countries in the world. Of course, it will be more amazing than that, but my mind doesn't work like that, and I can only try to imagine earthly things in that context!