Every Day

The Other Cash Budget

As you all know, I am using $75.00 cash per week for our grocery, HBA, and cleaning budget. Every week I put another $75.00 into that envelope.

But I am also using another cash budget and that is the budget that covers lunches out, our haircuts or my color, our home decor(little things like pillows, etc.), stamps, clothing, car washes, gasoline, etc. You know the things that you are always reaching into your wallet to pay for weekly. We have determined that we need $100. per week to fund that. So I have an envelope for that in my Dave Ramsay wallet also. The same day that I put the money in my grocery envelope I also fund this other envelope.

I have a hair appointment next week and I always overspend on my hair, so I am trying to cut back on this expense. I definitely need a haircut and perhaps roots done. But I am considering no more highlights since they are so expensive. I might even color my hair at home again. We’ll see how it all works out.

Hubby and I rarely eat lunch out especially now that we are on the Keto Diet. Home decor is not something that I buy on a regular basis but sometimes a pillow will wear out. We won’t be buying much clothing except as we go down sizes and those sizes will be cheap clothing just to hold us to our next downsize. I have no problem buying at second hand stores. 

Car washes only happen in the winter. Gasoline is about once a month unless we go on a trip.We use very few stamps a month unless it is Christmas card time.

So Hubby and I are thinking this money will be enough. If not we will up this budget. 

We will lose a few points by not putting all of these expenses on our credit card. However it is worth it to me to not have to check all of these little expenses on our bill. Only our fixed expenses will be put through the charge account.

These expenses will be tracked each month on the envelope. The extra envelopes in my wallet house my ECB’s and coupons for CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreen coupons so that I am always ready to stop at these stores when I happen to be in the area.

This wallet is always with me so I go out the door knowing that I am prepared. 

I am hoping to bring our spending down on some of these expenses. It is too easy to just pull out the card instead of paying cash. It makes it way too easy to spend more than you want. Even though we have always and still do pay our credit cards in full every month, I want to try it with cash and when the cash is gone each week it is gone until the envelopes get funded the next week.

I know that I have many people reading here who have credit card debt. If you do you should be paying cash for everything and not running your credit card bills any higher. That is how people get into major trouble. Pay down that debt by working out a monthly budget and sticking to it. Use cash for your groceries and everyday expenses and see how it works for you.

10 replies on “The Other Cash Budget”

Husband and I went back to cash envelopes in December, with a new fired up ambition to spend carefully, like we did when we had the financial goal of his retiring early.
It’s really amazing how well it is going.
And like you, we have discovered we need more than a bare bares Miscellaneous expense envelope.

We use our credit card for the purchases you describe, but don't carry any cc debt. We also have a budget for each item, and track it throughout the month. Here's how we handle that category:

Lunches out – both my husband & I get free lunches at work. We pack lunches for the kids. On weekends, we rarely go out for lunch, but it does sometimes happen if there is a soccer tournament. I typically pack lunches for the adults (we prefer this anyway) & let the kids get something out. It fits within our overall eating out budget.

Hair cuts/color: I'm in a bit of a "I don't know what to do with this" place as well. I stopped coloring my hair a year or so back, and it actually looks okay. I have a few gray streaks, but it makes my hair look ashy rather than gray (I'm a sandy blonde). I haven't had a hair cut in over a year, and am desperate for a cut. But, want to cut it myself, and am too scared. So . . . I do nothing. 🙂

Car washes: we live in a moderate climate, so my husband does this himself.

Home decor: almost never buy anything from this category, but if we do, it comes out of our larger "house" budget.

Clothing: same as above. I rarely buy anything, but sometimes the kids grow & need new things. We get hand me downs from my sister, but they do occasionally need a specialty item. We look for bargains, coupons, & then it comes out of our yearly clothing budget.

Hi Hawaii Planner,

I love the way you handle these categories. I always packed our lunches when we worked except twice a month we would go out for lunch on payday but never spend much.

I hear you on the hair. I am right there with you. I can't cut my own hair. My hair is pure white and I look so old with it not colored so it is staying colored.

Hi Liz, this is Chris. We got back from our trip just fine, and had a good time with our family. I am catching up on things now. I thought this was a great post. We try to use cash for most of our everyday expenses also. I found it was the best way for me to keep to my budget. When it is gone, it is gone. I also take out money weekly instead of monthly or bi-weekly. It helps keep me on track better. The Dave Ramsey wallet looks like it might be hard to keep up with? Have you found that to be the case? I just use my regular wallet and change purse. I guess I don't keep things as detailed as you do. I haven't started an eating out budget yet, since we don't go out too often, but am thinking when it is getting closer to retirement, this might be a good thing to do. I will be interested to follow along how you do with this.

Hi Chris,

I am so glad you are home and had such a great time. Family is everything. Thank you for your kind words.

I find the Dave Ramsey wallet easy. I just put my trips in as I do them.

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