Monday, October 25, 2010

Cash. It's weird.

A couple weeks ago, my debit card started acting weird. Even though the checking account had plenty of moola, two different stores denied my card. GRRR

I stopped by the bank to see if they could figure out the issue. My account looked just fine, so the banker decided the magnetic strip on my card was wearing out. She issued me a temporary ATM card and said my new debit card would reach me in a week or so.

Since my temporary card is an ATM only card, I've used only cash. It's been forever since I've actually used cash for groceries, Target and the like.

And I like it! I feel so much more in control of my money. Hand over the cash and the transaction is finito. No seeing it "pending" in my checking account. No worrying about if my card will be strangely denied. The process is done.

My new debit card hasn't shown up yet, but I think that even when it does, I'll continue using cash. It's so freeing! Not to mention easier for the kids to understand that when I say, "Sorry, I don't have the money for that (insert book, toy, game, nail polish)" they can visually see my cash limits.

And along that line of helping the kids understand how much I've budgeted in a certain category... I've recently started using "Spend", an iPhone app. I set up categories like groceries, entertainment, clothes, eating out and enter in the budgeted amount for the month. Every time I purchase something, I enter it into the program so I can see exactly what I have left to spend for the month in that category.

That means when the kids give me the guilt trip ("But, Mom! I really need this book! I don't have any good ones to read right now and my teacher says we need to be reading a book we haven't read before yadda yadda yadda"), I whip out my phone, open the app and say, "Look! We've got this much left in our entertainment budget and you want to go to the zoo on Saturday. What's your priority?"

Mwwwaaahahhahaa! Mommy rub her hands evilly together as she reflects the angry (but comprehending) stare of the thwarted offspring. They're learning! Mommy wins again!!

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