I’ve been following my friend Kerry’s blog FirstTimeFancy for years and in the past year, Kerry and her family have been focussed on living a more minimalist lifestyle (her new blog about moving from British Columbia to Eastern Canada ~ Walkins Wanders ~ will be a great one to follow!). My other friend Josee has been living on a structured budget for a few years now and it’s helped her maintain control of her spending.
Their lifestyle decisions have slowly influenced my own line of thinking – I’ve been wanting to put away more money in my emergency fund and start investing outside of my employer’s 401K. I work in an industry that is feast or famine, layoffs can be quite common, so it’s important that I have security. I’m almost close to having enough cash for 6-8 months of unemployment (hopefully I’ll never have to touch it!).
For March, I’m going credit card free. I’m happy to report I’ve always been able to pay off my credit cards every month, I’ve carried a balance maybe twice in my life. My mom made me a supplementary user on one her credit cards when I was at university, and it really helped me learn early on how to manage credit. I was responsible for the payments so I’ve always been mindful about what I’ve bought – but using credit makes it THAT much easier to spend, spend, spend. Swipe & go!
What am I hoping to accomplish?
1. Reduce online shopping. I have a budget for makeup/skincare/clothes, but I’m hoping that using cash only will deter me from logging onto Sephora.com and convincing myself I need new eyeshadow (God, I really want new eyeshadow).
2. Increase my experiences. I’m hoping having a finite amount of cash in my wallet will make me think more actively about where I want to be spending my money. Do I really need a latte every Friday, or should I use that money for an experience… like visiting a museum, or seeing a comedy show?
3. Support local businesses. Paying with cash helps local businesses. Every time you swipe your card, the business has to pay a fee to their vendor. It’s just money down the drain.
4. Watch my bank account grow. Limiting myself to a fixed amount of cash every month will help my savings grow. I am not one of those insane people who is okay with working until they’re dead. I want to retire at a reasonable age and that won’t happen if I spend frivolously.
5. Re-discover things I already have. Older eyeshadows (did I mention I want new eyeshadow?), clothes I never wear (I will *still* be fashionable, don’t get it twisted), movies I already own… You get the idea.
I’ll check back in at the beginning of April to share how my experience was.