I wanted to catch up with you all and let you know how my week using only cash went, and tell you about a few other things. I’ve made some decisions that will hopefully allow me to have more money to save.
I’m serious about finding a new place that costs less overall than where I’m at. I rent a room, and am looking for a more affordable one. The savings might come in different ways, from less rent and not needing to pay to do laundry to being a bit closer to work so public transportation costs will be less. A combination of all these things would be great.
One-half of the money saved would go toward paying off debt, and the other half would be split between my land/home goals and a retirement savings. Once all debts are paid off, I’ll split that money between the latter two and having an emergency fund. It would be great to, eventually, have enough in an emergency fund to live off for 3 to 6 months if the need be.
I’m taking a lesson from David Bach and setting up a retirement plan now. All I can afford is $1.00 a day, and that may be stretching it some months, but it is a start. Later I’ll be able to do more.
I’ll also do a few other little things to help me to save, though I’m not positive which as of yet. Still doing my research.
While I’m working more hours this winter, I can’t really use the gained money entirely for these efforts. For my health, I need to use most of it to buy healthy foods. The processed foods do a number on me weight and health-wise, and I need to get back on track. In my opinion, this is one of the best ways to save on future medical bills, so it is a form of savings.
I don’t know about you, but I had to do some preparing to do the cash task. Every bill I have is paid using my card or online, except the rent. I paid some stuff early because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do so with the cash.
Next I made a list of all that I would need during the week. I didn’t change how much I would spend, but I did take out extra money just in case. I’m glad I did, because I ended up having to spend a few days at work because of the blizzard. Luckily, I work at an inn. I had a room all to myself, provided free by my employer.
For two days before the blizzard I had to take a cab in to work. Normally I pay $1.50 per bus ride on those days, but the temperatures were so low I’d have had asthma issues had I tried to walk to the bus. I took two extra cab rides costing me $31.00 more than I would normally pay in transportation costs. Ouch. Good thing I had the extra cash.
I did prepare by making what I thought would be enough food for how long we thought the storm would last, but then found it I was going to be at work another night. Thankfully, I had the cash to order food to cover the meals for that day. I’d been eating salads like crazy, so decided on Chinese food.
And then I thought I was going back to the inn for another two nights, so I did not buy groceries before going home. I figured I’d get them the next day when I went back into the city, but my boss called to tell me someone else would work the extra shift so I could have a couple of days off. Again, I needed extra money for food and had the cash.
I still had plenty of money to get the groceries when I did get back to the city.
I spent way more money than I normally do during my cash week, but I know I wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been for the blizzard and other weather conditions. This was not a good assessment of what I spend in the run of a week, but it did teach me something:
It is very easy to spend money, even when you can’t afford to.
At least with cash, you are more aware of it when it happens.
I did get 10 1/2 hours of overtime, so that will cover everything I spent, I think.
Ordinarily, I don’t put that much thought in to how much I’m spending when I go over my limit, but actually seeing less and less bills every time I needed to open my purse made me more aware of what I was spending in the moment.
As for the challenge, I learned I’m going to have to get creative if I want to pay off my debts and build a financial future, and still enjoy some meals out and my time writing at the cafe. I also learned I can start building in small ways, until I have the debts paid off and can put more money toward my retirement and other goals? I’ve decided to give up on some meals out (barring blizzards!) and Aroma Joe’s visits (sad face), at least for the time being while debts are being paid off. Not all of them, but some. And I’m continuing my research on how best to invest for each specific purpose: Retirement, home/land, and emergency fund. I will eventually have a fun fund as well. That fund will mean I can travel every so often, even if only within my state.
How about you?
What did you learn during the cash week?
What did you learn during the challenge in general?
Are you ready to start paying down debts and building a retirement account? How will you do this?