When I was a kid in the 90s, I remember meticulously counting the pennies in my savings jar. Every purchase would be planned & I’d examine the trade-offs carefully.
Today, 80% of my monthly expenditure is via electronic bank transfer (rent, healthcare, etc) and the remaining 20% (my personal allowance) is nearly all via debit card.
I also spend more today than at nearly any point in my life. Yes, I earn more so can afford to, but I’m becoming increasingly aware that I drift through each day swiping & tapping my card to pay for things without questioning their true worth.
As part of my mission to become financially independent (FI), this has to change. By going back to cash could I rewire my brain the think differently? Would I actually want to spend less?
They say it takes 21 days to learn a new habit, so I’ve put away the plastic & embarked on 3-week Cash Diet. I’m 1-week into to the challenge, so how has it gone so far…
Monday is always a slow start in the GY2FI household as it’s generally pretty hectic in work & we always have a fridge packed with food after topping-up at the weekend. Zero spend day, $200 remaining.
I forgot to bring my packed lunch to work. $10 penalty for a deli-bought sandwich… $190 remaining.
Bought ingredients from the grocery store for International Food Day at the office – spend $11.60. I cooked-up a traditional Toad in the Hole & Yorkshire pudding to give the Aussies a taste of northern England. Complete with gravy, of course.
I fought-off the temptation to buy a stash of cookies whilst shopping. Using cash actually made me reconsider whether it was worth it! Balance remaining $178.40.
Another zero spend day. Even after walking through the main street down at Neutral Bay to meet Miss GY2FI after work I didn’t succumb to sushi for dinner. Normally that’d cost around $45!
Worked from home on Friday so very little opportunity to spend cash. I did find myself browsing Amazon over lunch, but I should be able to hold-off on getting that Kindle until Christmas!
After a packed week we decided not to go out for the evening & have a nice couple of steaks at home. Zero spend, $178.40 remaining.
Day 6 spend
The first half of a very outdoorsy weekend kicked-off with the weekly soccer game, where we won the league championship! After a quick swim we headed-off to watch one of the other teams from our Club play & enjoyed a BBQ on the house.
I slipped-in a few cheeky drinks with the guys in the evening to celebrate the day’s earlier victory – $31.40 spend. Lost my discipline a little bit here… $147 remaining.
Day 7 spend
A very Sunday-ish Sunday, packed with bike rides & car washing. The weekly grocery shop at Woolworths was $160, so after deducting my 50% contribution this leaves $67 in the pot.
Total spend to date: $133
Total savings to date: $67
I’ve been on my Cash Diet for an entire week & I’m adapting pretty well. It’s definitely reduced my desire for impulse purchases whilst in the supermarket & has even made me reconsider grabbing a takeaway or eating-out on more than one occasion.
I won’t be rolling my $67 saving into next week; instead I want to see if I can continue this rate & get to a $200 saving by the end of the Challenge (33% saving). I’ll update on my progress in around a week’s time, but feel free to have a poke-around in the Net Worth series of posts whilst you wait!