Reduction, it is the first part of my new years resolution to reduce, reuse, and recycle more this year. After a recent shopping trip this past weekend, I feel like I am accomplishing my goal. And using cash was key. Last week I took $120 cash out of the bank and earmarked it for groceries. On Friday I used $82 to pay for groceries, leaving $38 in my wallet for food we'd need over the week. Sunday I realized that we were running low on whole milk and that I was out of olive oil. I started putting together a list and planned to run over to Woodmans, our local warehouse grocery store.
With my son along for the trip I entered the store with list in hand. After a glance I thought "I'll never get out of here spending only $38 -- this place always runs me close to $100 -- I guess I'll have to use the debit card. Wait, wait, this is not how I want to shop. I have $38 and that is what I'm going to spend". Even with a 3 1/2 year old shopping partner, I was able to focus on my list, cross of things that I would not really need before my next weekly shopping and find a few bargains. For example, instead of picking up a loaf of bread that I normally pay $3.99 for, I decided to make a loaf at home (ingredients all on hand) if I really wanted bread.
We set a shopping record that day, leaving with two bags of items and spending $29. I purchased 1 pound of organic hamburger (on sale for $3.99), pasta sauce, organic whole milk, olive oil, toilet paper made from recycled materials (8 rolls for $2), and V8 juice. I still have $9 left, which will easily pay for the dozen eggs and yogurt I'll pick up mid-week at the store near my office.
Cash -- it made me pay attention, prioritize, and take control of my spending. I was not on auto pilot. I bought far less than normal. Yes, I need more of this in my spending habits.
How about you -- do you spend with cash, debit, or credit?