CNBC: Till Debt to Us Part and Me

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Hey Yo,

So I don't have much of a social life, on a Sat night, my wife usually goes downstairs and plays with her crafts, and I sit upstairs and drink liqour and watch either "Lock Up" or Suze Orman on TV. Well 3 weeks ago after Suze, I saw this show called "Till Debt do us Part" with this like British nanny lady meeting up with young couples in financial peril and setting them straight.

It was a decent show, but I liked how she really gave them tight budgets. I liked that idea, and decided to try it out. Normally each month we have about a 1500 dollar CC bill to pay off, and we decided to do a cash budget 3 wks ago. At the end of the week any money left over would go into the piggy bank for a christmas gift / bday gift fund for our family members.

So week 1 my wife and I each took 140 cash to use for ALL purchases except pay at the pump gas. We had like 80 bucks left over to put into the piggy bank.
Week 2: 120 each, still like 70 bucks left over.

Week 3: $100 each, 17 dollar left over.

Week 4: just started, at $100 ea, so far so good.

What I've learned. dumb purchases like $1.50 bottles of pop are no longer made. We are smarter about buying groceries and planning.

We eat out cheaper, Outback curbside take away instead of eating at the restaurant, that way no tip and no beverage costs. etc..

Being on a cash budget, my wife and I are spending less, but also having no less fun and our quality of life is no worse. You definitely feel it more when you pay cash instead of swiping plastic.

Sure I don't get the 1% CashBack rewards like I do on my CC, but the money we save is worth it.

Now, we weren't hurting for money or anything, we actually do pretty well, but now we waste a lot less and can really save!

I just thought I'd share and see if anyone else has a similar experience or comments.

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Welcome to FWF. I can see you and your wife are still far from being one of us. Oh, and pics of your wife should definitely get you green here, even without a deal/insight.

Cash = no 2% schwab

if you need cash to remind you to spend less then that's a problem.

You can check your CC balance and do the same thing and "limit" yourself

aaronpk said: You definitely feel it more when you pay cash instead of swiping plastic.

No, I don't, but it sounds like you do. Whatever makes you happy.

In fact, I'm *unbelievably* lazy about budgeting and watching what I spend. And yet I save quite a bit and am a cheapskate by almost any measure. I don't keep any sort of budget. And while I instinctively compare prices on groceries between brands and package sizes, I often leave the store having no idea how much I've just spent. I trust my habits and judgment enough that I don't feel like I need any additional effort tracking what I've done.

Cash might be a good way to change your spending habits. Once you've changed them, go back to rewards plastic, but don't go back to your old spending habits.

kloakndaggers said: if you need cash to remind you to spend less then that's a problem.Well, yes. If you have that problem, the right solution is usually to use cash.

Techniques discussed here are great for unusually disciplined people to squeeze out an extra 2% from their money. If you have any problem at all with keeping your spending under control, you really should devote all of your effort to whatever works best for that; even a tiny change there is much more important than 2%.

Other than sticking to cash, by the way, the advice on "Till Debt" is mostly exactly what you would hear here, including interest-rate-smart decisions about which debts to pay off. It may not be perfect, but it's a lot better than what you usually get from Suze and Dave.

I personally like using credit cards, not only for the 2%+ Cash Back, but also getting a monthly statement outlining exactly where I spent my money and how much I spent. When all the information is consolidated I can easily see where to make cuts (if they are needed). But to each is own, if having your wallet getting thinner after each purchase helps keep you to your budget, then more power to you.

EdMcK515 said: I personally like using credit cards, not only for the 2%+ Cash Back, but also getting a monthly statement outlining exactly where I spent my money and how much I spent. When all the information is consolidated I can easily see where to make cuts (if they are needed). But to each is own, if having your wallet getting thinner after each purchase helps keep you to your budget, then more power to you.

I second that completely. CashBack is decent enough but there are more reasons to use credit cards for us. First, float. Come car insurance renewal time (or other big annual expenses), it allows us to time the payment to differ payment by more than a month. Seconly, I can keep track of expenses much more carefully in terms of budget categories. It's also a lot less of a hassle to import transaction expenses into accounting software. With cash I wouldn't know where the money comes from. Thirdly, good luck getting a refund for some things if defective or getting a contractor to finish the work exactly as invoiced. With credit card, you're not gonna risk being out all your money in some deals. Finally, there are things I cannot buy with cash, especially online. Some of the things we buy, if purchased locally would end up costing more than over the internet, even prior to CashBack and/or tax. Cash only, I wouldn't get 4% interest on our emergency fund. The list goes on. But my point is, there is an opportunity cost to using cash-only, without even considering the convenience aspect of not carrying tons of cash on me all the time.

Overall I agree that cash-only can be useful for people with tight budgets and those who cannot control their spending. But deep down, the bottom line price is the same. Paying balances in full monthly for the last 15 yrs, I view each transaction as directly coming out of my pocket, even if I use plastic. So why give up the perks?

Shandril said: Overall I agree that cash-only can be useful for people with tight budgets and those who cannot control their spending.

I used to recommend credit cards to all my friends and family but I never realized how many people actually carry a balance. My mother, sisters, and some friends all carried a balance. Most of them had their credit cards cut off eventually and they are paying back the balances slowly. They cannot handle using credit cards on a budget and I think most people can't. I've never carried a balance but I have stopped recommending credit cards because many people I've encountered cannot use them safely.

aaronpk said: Hey Yo,

So I don't have much of a social life, on a Sat night, my wife usually goes downstairs and plays with her crafts, and I sit upstairs and drink liqour and watch either "Lock Up" or Suze Orman on TV. Well 3 weeks ago after Suze, I saw this show called "Till Debt do us Part" with this like British nanny lady meeting up with young couples in financial peril and setting them straight.

It was a decent show, but I liked how she really gave them tight budgets. I liked that idea, and decided to try it out. Normally each month we have about a 1500 dollar CC bill to pay off, and we decided to do a cash budget 3 wks ago. At the end of the week any money left over would go into the piggy bank for a christmas gift / bday gift fund for our family members.

So week 1 my wife and I each took 140 cash to use for ALL purchases except pay at the pump gas. We had like 80 bucks left over to put into the piggy bank.
Week 2: 120 each, still like 70 bucks left over.

Week 3: $100 each, 17 dollar left over.

Week 4: just started, at $100 ea, so far so good.

What I've learned. dumb purchases like $1.50 bottles of pop are no longer made. We are smarter about buying groceries and planning.

We eat out cheaper, Outback curbside take away instead of eating at the restaurant, that way no tip and no beverage costs. etc..

Being on a cash budget, my wife and I are spending less, but also having no less fun and our quality of life is no worse. You definitely feel it more when you pay cash instead of swiping plastic.

Sure I don't get the 1% CashBack rewards like I do on my CC, but the money we save is worth it.

Now, we weren't hurting for money or anything, we actually do pretty well, but now we waste a lot less and can really save!

I just thought I'd share and see if anyone else has a similar experience or comments.


Nice job! Don't pay attention to the Cash Back crew. All the experts on TV (Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey, Clark Howard, Gail from the show) agree to avoid plastic like the plague! Study after study have proven that MOST people will spend a lot less on an all cash budget!

aaronpk said: We eat out cheaper, Outback curbside take away instead of eating at the restaurant, that way no tip and no beverage costs. etc..You've got a long way to go. Food at Outback in general is going to be expensive, curbside or not.. On that note, if you're going to be eating Outback you might as well dine in. If you're going to do takeout, just get McDonalds or something else similar. If fast food isn't "good" enough for you, then cook for yourself at home.

Budgets are only for people that don't have self control. Even then, people will tend to spend close to their budgets, or justify their purchases to exceed it. (e.g., I found a really good deal on those -insert product/service here- so it's ok to go over!)

I think people are being far too hard on the OP. Presuming they have sufficient retirement savings etc. I don't see much of a point to saving every penny. He's decided to cut out the stupid expenses that are nickle and dimeing him out of money while keeping the larger yet more substantial purchases in check. Unless someone really needs the money I don't see much point in doing a large amount of the things people at FWF do.

That said I do many of them even though I am no longer a poor college student I really consider it more of a hobby and have no illusions about it saving me significant money especially when you count the amount of time I spend here.

The changes the OP has made will save him a considerable amount of money with very little time/effort. Especially now that apporamas are dead here there really isn't much left here that will make a significant amount of money with minimal effort.

i still use cc for things like cable bill, insurance, things i absolutely have to use cc for.

LordB pretty much had it right, it cuts out the stupid purchases.

t60 re: outback, their outback special sirloin, salad, potato, and pumpernickle for 9.99 is a pretty good deal for something more upscale mcds, only like 3 bucks more than their expensive value meals. it works great picking it up on the way home from work on nights we dont want to cook

Well yeah, I wouldn't say CCs are for everyone, but they sure damn work for me. It all depends how financially responsible you are. Suze, et all. gives blanket financial advice. Most people don't have a clue how to use CCs to their benefit, so that's why they tell everyone to avoid CCs like the plague. They tell everyone to dollar cost average and buy over time since most people can't time the market and don't know how to read a chart. For many, dollar cost averaging is the quickest way to the poorhouse especially when you consider stocks like Citi. We know better than to believe the blanket advice talking heads give like Suze.

The same thing happens in the Food Network. I saw Sandra Lee saying how 80% lean ground beef is $2.19 a pound and 90% lean is $3.99 a pound. You save $1.80 a pound by going with the 80% and its more flavorful. Yeah right, there is a big big difference between 80% and 90%. I want to maintain my weight with still indulging into things like ice cream from time to time, so its at least 90% for me; 96% if available.

I find slightly overspending at the supermarket is better than underspending as long as its not that bad that what you buy gets spoiled (so I'm very careful on perishables). If you overspend a little, you'll won't have to run to the convenience store, or go to a restaurant for a meal you'd otherwise eat at home. Also, the current 5% CashBack on drugstores from Chase Freedom gives me all the more reason to go to CVS and stock up on some free or cheap after extrabucks items, like the $1.99 Listerine this week.

Green for you - as in getting toasted at home on your couch rather than a bar. I can totally relate with you and your Saturday nights.

aaronpk said: What I've learned. dumb purchases like $1.50 bottles of pop are no longer made. We are smarter about buying groceries and planning.I'm the opposite. I'm not going to use a credit card for a $1.50 soda so I would only buy something small like that if I had cash.

If you need to go cash to control your spending but like credit card perks, try this:
Take your weekly $100, stick it in your wallet. Use five ones, three fives, and four twenties so you can make change.

When you buy something, charge it to your card, and take that much cash from the front of your wallet, fold it over, and tuck it behind the credit card receipt in the back of your wallet. Only spend what you've got left in front of the receipts. At the end of the month, take the money from the back of the wallet and pay the CC bill.

SlimTim said: aaronpk said: You definitely feel it more when you pay cash instead of swiping plastic.

No, I don't, but it sounds like you do. Whatever makes you happy.

In fact, I'm *unbelievably* lazy about budgeting and watching what I spend. And yet I save quite a bit and am a cheapskate by almost any measure. I don't keep any sort of budget. And while I instinctively compare prices on groceries between brands and package sizes, I often leave the store having no idea how much I've just spent. I trust my habits and judgment enough that I don't feel like I need any additional effort tracking what I've done.


I'd green this more if I could. You just described me exactly.



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