Our first cash grocery trip was a success! We put together a list, and then based on previous shopping trips and current sales I estimated the cost to be sure we were in the right range. I kept track of my individual price estimates for each item on the grocery list, and as we filled our cart I replaced my estimate with the correct price. I was only off for a couple of items, so my estimate was pretty close.
We ended up spending $9 under our $60 budget for a total cost of $51.63. That money will be put aside in our envelope to cover us in future weeks if we have to go over budget or hopefully it will make it to the end of the summer so we can use it for something fun!
I was definitely more mindful of our spending during this shopping trip than I usually am, but I don’t know if that’s because I was using cash or because I’m making an effort to spend less. I had an extra $30 in my pocket for entertainment and household expenses, so I can’t attribute our mindful spending to fear of spending more than we had. But I think knowing that we can’t just swipe our debit cards is making it easier for us to avoid overspending, since we know that this $90 is it for the week.
Kacie brought up a good point when I asked for advice on cash budgeting last week. She said cash budgeting made tracking expenses more difficult for her. Since I use Mint.com to automatically track my spending and budget, this is also an issue for me. My solution is simple: Mint.com allows you to split transactions and categorize them separately. Each week, I’ll save my receipts until our ATM transaction shows up on Mint, then I’ll split that cash withdrawal and categorize it according to our receipts. Whatever doesn’t get spent will remain “Uncategorized,” which means it won’t go into our normal budget. The only problem will be accounting for that extra cash when I spend it later. I’ll let you know if I come up with a solution to add that into our budget. It will only be a problem if I don’t spend it in the same month I withdraw it.
Here’s my $50 lower-carb menu plan for the week:
Saturday: BLT Salad
Sunday: Pork chops and green beans
Monday: Greek chicken salad
Tuesday: Chicken fajita tortilla soup (minus the chicken and tortillas to limit carbs and conserve chicken)
Wednesday: Mexican chicken skillet (Like a Mexican stirfry with peppers, corn, tomatoes, and chicken)
Thursday: Scrambled eggs and bacon (I’m not a big fan of breakfast for dinner, but it sure does save money!)
Friday: Barbecued chicken with corn on the cob
For more menu plans, visit OrgJunkie.