So, we’ve been out of debt for a little over two months and have come to the shocking realization that we can’t be trusted with credit cards. It’s not that we’re out of control, it’s just that the safety of using cash is really awesome and going back to debit and credit cards is a very easy excuse to lose control of your spending.
Now, if you told me this two years ago, I’d think you were insane. I couldn’t imagine not using my debit cards or my credit cards. And for the first few months of our debt year, I thought the cash budgeting was a pain in my ass. There were a number of times that we made it to the store without enough money for our groceries, or we forgot the cash all together and had to return home before going back out to the store. But, slowly, as the year progressed, we started to love the cash budget. It’s beautiful in it’s simplicity. If you have the cash, you can spend it, but with no cash, there was no spending.
In the past two months, we’ve made a number of purchases that we’d delayed, everything from socks and underwear to more pricey stuff, but we both noticed that we were falling back into our old habits of spending money without care or concern. I think this was made even more clear during the holidays.
So, starting this month, we’re back on a cash budget. We’ll still use our debit cards or credit card in a pinch, but the goal is to add a little more to our budget to give ourselves a bit more freedom. Since we’re not working as hard to pay off debt, we’ll have a bit more money in the cash budget. And we won’t have a meltdown if we don’t have cash in hand and need to buy something, but we both agree that the cash system creates and reinforces accountability.