Every Day

My Cash Budget

The way we use our cash budget has changed over the years. A number of months ago, we changed the amount of money that I get in cash each month at the bank. It will stay this way until, if and when, prices go up and we feel we need to make a change. We are buying more and more organic meat and other organic products. As our supply of meat and pantry items dwindle, we may need to up the budget because of these items but so far I have not had to.

For anyone who is new or doesn’t know, we feed just Hubby and I annually. My son and grandson come almost every Sunday for breakfast and sometimes lunch. Sometimes, they come along with my daughter in law for dinner.  My grandchildren visit and stay here sometimes. Then occasionally, our other son, my daughter in law, and granddaughter come and stay for a few days especially for holidays. Our extended family come and stay sometimes. We also have friends over for dinner occasionally.

My budget encompasses all of our food eaten at home, food eaten at restaurants or take out, cleaning and paper products, personal care items, and gasoline. 

Personal care encompasses OTC cold medicines, cough drops, sinus medicine, pain medicines, makeup, shampoos, deodorants, body washes, bar soap, hand soap liquid, lotions, shave cream and razor refills, toothpaste, toothbrush heads for our electric toothbrushes, and floss, etc.  It does not include prescription medications. 

I use a lot of all purpose cleaning products, dryer balls instead of dryer sheets, my laundry egg instead of detergent, vinegar for both cleaning and as a rinse aid in my dishwasher. But I also need dishwasher detergent, dish liquid, and garbage bags. One way I save on some of these things is to buy in bulk which brings the price down for those products.

I also pay for my hair salon monthly appointments which cost anywhere from $ 42. to $ 140. including tips depending on what I am getting done. That covers haircuts and shampoos, hair coloring, highlights, and waxing my eyebrows. 

Also included is a tank of gasoline every month which is usually the amount we use.  Gasoline for trips do not come out of my budget. I keep my gasoline purchases low by earning points at a local supermarket that give me money off of gasoline. If gas is cheaper elsewhere even taking into account the points, I will buy it there. That only happens infrequently at Speedway and our cash station. But every time I need gasoline, I always check whose price is better. 

The monthly amount that I get each month is $ 500. to cover all of these budget items. I use coupons when I can. I also use Saving Star, Fetch, Ibotta, and Checkout 51. Any rebates get added back into my cash budget whether I receive them in cash or gift cards to Walmart. Any bottle or can deposits that I return for Hubby’s soda or my sparkling water that I get once or twice a year from Amazon gets added back into this cash budget. My monthly budgeted amount that is left over at the end of the month just gets rolled to the next month and added to the next month’s cash of $ 500. That way I build a balance over time to make large purchases when I see rock bottom prices.
With the exception of Hubby’s haircuts and incidental items he picks up at Home Depot, etc. with his cash(no one wants to charge a nut and bolt here and there), all other expenditures are paid for with our checking account or charge cards which we pay in full every month when they are received.

Do any of you use cash for certain items each month? Please share with everyone in the comments.

6 replies on “My Cash Budget”

I've been meaning to ask, how deeply does the laundry soap egg clean? Could I use it on the majority of laundry, or would I need to use detergent for soccer uniforms (usually have dirt marks/grass stains)? Trying to decide if I should order one, but the reviews are pretty mixed.

We actually don't use cash. I rarely have it on hand, but do keep a little to use when I have to send cash for one of the kids – to pay for a movie ticket, buy a piece of pizza when out with friends, etc.

We do budget, but just prefer using our credit card for points & for tracking purposes.

Hi HP,

The laundry eggs clean the majority of our clothes but we don't get very dirty. The only way to know would be to try one. Sorry! Hubby used to garden but that was before the eggs.

A lot people use credit cards for everything. We use them for everything not listed in my post. I just find cash easier for these things plus it keeps me from knowing that I can just buy a little more with a credit card. In other words, it keeps me from going over budget. Thanks for sharing.

Hi AD, it is Olga. We use our credit cards (which get paid off twice a month to make sure there is no interest charged) and we track expenses on a spreadsheet. I will admit that I do go over on some monthly budgeted amounts, but I make sure to track every penny and lower the spending in other categories to account for the overage. I purchased the same soap egg you have (based on your recommendation!) and we love it. I use it for about 95% of our washing. I also have 2 teenage boys and I will admit that when their clothes are really dirty (mud, grass, etc) then I just do a load with the extra Tide I have. It seems to work best for me to just run a "dirty load" about once every 2 weeks.

Hi AD, this is Chris. Thanks for this article, it made me think of how I do some of these things. Your cash budget goes far for $500. I usually get $100/week from the cash machine, and it covers groceries, an occasional $20 for hubby for walking around $$, haircut for me, little incidentals like buying cards at Dollar Tree, and some of the personal care and household, unless we have a large purchase like going to Costco, or food/litter/treats for kitty. I used to have kitty things in my regular grocery budget, but with costs going up, it is a separate item now. I always get her stuff on a good GC deal at Target. I also get gas once a month and put it on my cc. I try to only use my card for gas and online purchases. I am not one of those people who have to have the rewards points. I would rather pay cash/check and be done with it most of the time. Hubby's gas is paid for by his employer, since he does field work sometimes.

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