Two months on the cash budget and I’m ready to sound dramatic and extreme… this whole budgeting thing has changed our life. In 2 months. And we’ve become WEIRD.
If you’re new around here, 2 months ago J and I implemented the cash budget system and customized it to work for us, which you can read about here. By far the hardest part is still the food category, but nothing much numbers related has changed since my last update — what has changed is our attitude and lifestyle.
3 months ago we were paying off our credit cards every month and living on LESS than what we made. We weren’t in debt. We weren’t going into debt. In fact, we were (and still are) very much anti-debt. We were in an ok situation. In fact, some people would just love to be in those shoes. There wasn’t really anything “bad” about most of our financial decisions. We were meeting all of our financial responsibilities and having a little fun along the way. Then something happened. I’m not sure WHAT or WHEN – but something happened. My mindset shifted.
I thought we were on the right track. Which we may have been, but we weren’t on the most efficient track — and if you know me, you know I adore efficiency.
It only took me 2.5 years of marriage and about 3.5 years of listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio and incessantly plugging numbers into an online retirement calculator for a solid year to figure out how WE can retire when we’re 50 if we choose to. After that and some other experiences, I am crazy committed to this cash budget ‘every dollar has a name’ system. Just ask Jeff. There are 2 things I won’t shut up about — one is the budget, the other is Nebraska football (GBR!).
So WHAT exactly has changed?
In the past two months I’ve experienced a lot when it comes to money. 3 months ago I would have told you b/c we were using debit, it wasn’t any different than paying cash. I was wrong. And all I can tell you is that if you try it — you will FEEL a difference. I can’t explain it to you in words. You need to experience it yourself.
My bank account shows me that we actually DO save more money when using cash. I don’t want to get into numbers, but I’ll be happy to share percentages. In the past 2 months we have put 15% into retirement, 10% into Savings (for home projects, vacations, etc), and consistently had an additional 2-5% of our take home cash budget left over. It is an incredible feeling that we are putting away somewhere in the neighborhood of 25-30% of our income. Talk about a motivation.
You actually DO feel less stressed and more empowered. No more wondering how much we are spending on food or how much is left in the bank. We don’t worry about it because we KNOW. Such freedom.
Lastly, we know and clearly see (in a very tangible way) we are being provided for and being blessed. Not to say that wasn’t already happening, but now that I am watching every dollar, every penny it has become abundantly clear. And that has brought us to a more thankful and humbled attitude.
It’s funny, but somehow I’ve been kept accountable for this crazy decision through family and friends. Just in the past few days we’ve been given free concert tix (Brooks and Dunn… OH YEA!), free football tix (Falcons Pre-Season), food by friends/family, and been presented with the opportunity to make a little extra side cash which will help pay for more home renovations. Crazy to think about how our ‘fun’ has been provided for – even when we’re being MORE responsible and making some rather un-fun decisions.
PS If you want to track another couple’s adventure with the cash budget, check out my BFF Jessica and her husband Jon here.