Husband and I made it to the end of the month with only a little bit of cash left in the cash envelopes, but I’d call the month a rousing success. For one thing, the cash represented less than we usually spend on shopping and restaurants and groceries per month, so we really noticed and avoided eating at expensive restaurants or buying groceries we didn’t need. We delayed a variety of shopping purchases that, by the time February arrived, we didn’t really need any more.
In celebration, we also put some of the savings into an extra payment on the house; while we are happy with the 15 year mortgage we got on the house we own, we are always trying to pay it down a little faster. That extra payment felt great a couple of days ago, and I honestly think it is part of why I’d like to maintain a lower level of spending rather than creeping back up to where we were at the end of 2017.
During the summer, I see beautiful weather and new businesses opening and I just generally feel like spending money is “worth it” in a lot of cases because of the positive memories created. Lately has felt like a lean time – right now, our income is stable but outside is dark and cold and even spending money on nice things seems like it won’t contribute to as good of memories. It seems like a natural time to eat simply, to invest in keeping our home warm enough to be (close to) comfortable, and to dream of spring.
The cash envelopes taught me that I can make very small adjustments and save quite a bit on groceries, shopping, and restaurants, the areas with the most substantial discretionary spending for us. I hope that even without cash I will carry these lessons through and remember that I don’t have to spend a lot of money on an experience just because it might be fun – there are many ways to have a nice time.