Money, we never seem to have enough, or that should be we have a habit of living to our means, Raising children is an expensive business. Mini killed yet another pair of school schools this week. This is his third pair since September and they do not come cheap. I try to make sure I budget and save for unexpected expenses, but some months it fee’s as though we are robbing peter to pay paul, even more so when my clients do not always pay on time (the joys of freelancing)!
Before we had children and we lived down south I never carried cash. I paid for everything with my cards. I even loaded a cashless card to pay for things at work and that worked fine, however, went we boomeranged back to the North East and money was tight I needed to find an alternative way of budgeting that worked for us.
Partly down to needing to account for every penny as every penny was needed and also down to the fact that we moved to a village and believe it or not lots of places didn’t and still don’t accept debit or credit cards.
So when I was challenged to try spending three days using only cash and three days only card on the #caseforcash challenge, I was sure it would be easy. How wrong was I!
It turns out my kids do not accept pocket money by cash, as the local newsagent doesn’t take card for payments under £5 and they wanted their weekly treats!
It was a really interesting six days and it turns out that I am pretty stuck in my ways and certainly feel that there is a case for using both cash and cards.
We needed passport photo’s (yes we all look like thugs) and the machine only took coins!
One of the things that has stuck with me from when we were really struggling for cash was our envelope system. At the beginning of the month, I take enough cash out of the bank to pay for food for the month and for fun, so the boys pocket money, my incidental spending money. I still do this every month and it is a great way of ensuring that I stick to our budget and also try and make savings and we transfer anything left in the food envelope to the fun envelope for the next month, which means that we might be able to have a takeaway!
However, I could survive on cash alone. I remember before we had the local self-service petrol station it was a 13 mile round trip for fuel, so no running on red. Now we have a fuel station less than a mile away, but it only takes cards for prepayment.
One of the other reasons I love cold hard cash is for teaching my kids to budget. The feel of cash and tangibility of money is something that can not be replicated for learning. I have always given the boys a nominal amount of pocket money each week so that they can choose to spend it or save it as they choose.
Watching their copper mount up in their savings jars is a delight, as is taken their savings to pay for a game they have saved hard for and counting it out to make sure that they have enough to pay for it.
I also love giving the boys cash to pay for things when we go shopping and then getting them to work out how much change we are due and then checking the change. It is a great maths lesson and a good life skill to have.
As my boys have got older, they have got money smart and realised that £1 spend on ice lollies goes much further at the supermarket than it does at the ice cream van and it is this tangible learning that cash allows.
The boys love putting the coins into a parking meter and again, I get them to work out how much it will be if we stay for a certain time and then get them to coin out the correct amount before they feed it into the machine. Real life learning experiences are a great way of reinforcing classroom learning.
And it isn’t exclusive to when we pay for things by cash, oh no. We recently went and purchased a new chair and tables and as it was such a large purchase we popped it on our credit card as we do with all large purchases we have saved for. However, Mini was with us and we were bartering for the table and the manager told him that we could have a 5% discount if he could say how much that would be within 4 minutes. Little did he know that percentages are something that both my boys love and he came back with the answer within 1 minute.
So in my purse, I have one credit card, one debit card and a small amount of cash. What is in yours? Do you carry cash or do you only pay by card? Are you constantly;y scrambling to get together enough cash to pay for parking or do you keep a stash or change in the car or perhaps were you park accepts card payments?
I would love to know if you feel there is still a #caseforcash today?
Take a look at how my fellow #caseforcash bloggers got on with their challenge: