For those readers who might be new to this blog miniseries, my household has moved to (largely) cash-only spending for the three-month period of June, July, and August 2009. Previous to this little experiment, we paid for most everything with no-fee, cash-back credit cards. (As per my "How We Manage Our Money" post, we don't carry balances ... EVER.)
The idea here? I want to see how much less we spend when we spend only cash. Actually, in the two months we've been on this cash-only kick, we've actually used debit cards a handful of times as well. But greenbacks have been the payment mode of preference, since I want to make the spending feel as "immediate" as possible.
For simplicity's sake, I've picked seven every-month spending categories to watch closely during this experiment.
Why Not Total Spending?
I don't pay much attention to our overall total monthly spending when looking for cash-only results. The reason? The "grand total spent" doesn't tell the true story of cash-only versus plastic, because any one month can have irregular but necessary expenses — like backyard fence replacements — which have nothing to do with whether we spend cash or not.
Results: Cash-Only in July
So here's how our spending in July (cash only) compared to the average monthly spending in March, April, and May (when we paid with plastic):
Results: Two Months of Cash-Only (June & July Averaged)
And here's one that's even more interesting to me. In this chart, I've averaged our cash-only spending months (June/July) and compared it to March/April/May:
Wowsers. More than a twenty-two percent decrease in spending across these common categories.
The old maxim, "When you spend cash, you spend less!" sure appears to be holding up. One month to go!