There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, I want to see if our spending on variable expenses (groceries, dining, household items, etc.) really does decrease. And if this spending does decrease — I can't imagine that it won't, by the way — then I want to see how much of a difference it makes.
Here's a sampling of the items I'll be comparing against. The following are monthly averages from the latest three-month period (March, April, and May 2009):
Second, with the upcoming "Credit Card Bill of Rights" changes being made in the financial industry, it will not surprise me to see Citibank, Chase, et. al. initiate a raft of annual and miscellaneous fees on those of us who use our cards for convenience and cash rewards only, and who never carry a revolving balance.
If these fees do appear, then Lisa and I will give serious thought to living on a cash and/or debit-card basis. I figure June will be a nice "practice run" for this scenario.
Cash Spending: The Exceptions
After some consideration, I've determined that there will be a few exceptions to our cash-only rule:
No, I'm not going to send paper checks to Amazon for my book purchases. I tend to buy a book or three each month. In June, any book purchases will be made with either debit or credit card. (I really hate the idea of using debit cards online, but I'll make an exception for Amazon.)
Though gas-station owners might be ecstatic to see us paying with cash (or so I've heard), they'll not be the beneficiaries of our cash-centric spending in June. It'll be debit/credit cards here as well. Why? Because whether we spend cash or credit for gas, the amount spent will not change: We always pay at the pump; we always fill up; we never make convenience purchases at the counter.
Thus "cash vs. plastic" makes no real difference to us.
We have several monthly items which are auto-billed to one or more of our credit cards. Six-month auto-insurance premiums (happen to be due in June) are one; online-game and learning programs for our daughter are another. I'm not changing the payment plans for these services.
Still using credit cards here. (Pretty much because these are all auto-billed expenses — hosting, domains, and such.)
One Reason to Hate Cash
I've already rediscovered one reason I'd much rather use cards than cash:
Loose freakin' change.
I hate it. I mean, I'd forgotten how much I dislike walking around with change in my pockets. Don't ask me why this is; it's just something that (1) as a kid, I was cool with, but (2) an adult, bugs the crap out of me. (And you know those dimes and quarters are gonna end up clanging around in the washer and dryer, right?)
In any case, here goes "cash only" at the IYM homestead!