A testimony by Kathryn from
I didn’t think we needed to put our family on the cash system to save money each month. After all, I tracked every dollar we spent, paid off our cards each month, and knew exactly why we were over budget every month.
We had six overnight guests for a weekend, so of course groceries would be over budget!
My husband turned thirty, so of course he needed a really fun party to celebrate!
There was such a great sale on kids clothes, so of course I needed to stock up!
When I started adding up just how much over budget we were every month, though, I knew something needed to change.
I have been a faithful reader of December212012® for about two years, so I have heard plenty of praise about the cash system. I just never really understood why the cash system can save you money beyond the principle of “when you run out of cash, you stop spending.”
Here’s what I’ve learned during my short time on the cash system:
1. You shop less.
I used to take my small children to the store just to have something to do. If I “needed” a new basket to corral the kids’ toys, we went. But when I had to grab my cash before leaving, re-purposing a basket I already owned became much more attractive.
2. You buy less.
For me, that means “extras” at the grocery store don’t even make it into my cart, like snacks we don’t need or fruit we can’t eat before it spoils. I simply do not want to be stuck at checkout without enough money to pay for the things we really do need!
Or at a restaurant, my husband and I are much more deliberate in ordering the appropriate amount of food — we no longer need an appetizer, salads, our own entrees, and beverages!
3. You buy differently.
For example, we were organizing our very small garage and decided to hang many of the items that were cluttering precious floor space. At the home improvement store, my husband saved $12 simply by choosing individual hooks instead of the pre-packaged kit that the store offered.
Before we went to the cash system, we were around $400 over budget every month, which is our exact cushion. Now, we are easily $100 under budget, which, I am both pleased and embarrassed to admit, means we have saved $500 a month by switching to cash.
Please don’t make the mistake we did for so long — stop using your cards and start using cash! I know you’ll save more than you even hope to!
Kathryn keeps her hands busy during the day as a stay-at-home mother to two precious girls. She attempts to occupy her mind as well by reading and by blogging at