I’m going on a debit card diet. I truly prefer using my debit card for just about everything. I like the convenience and it’s nice that all of my purchases are tracked online. Plus, my debit card has a rewards program where I earn points that I can use to get gift cards for various retailers. It’s nice.
But. I think I probably spend too much money. I probably spend more at the grocery, since why not? There’s money in the account. I stop for a quick snack while I’m out running errands. I’m sure I do this a lot more than I realize, even though the evidence is right there in my online bank statement.
I’ll miss out on about 800 points (maybe more, if I would have earned some bonus points). That’s the equivalent of oh, $1.50 on a $10 gift card. No biggie.
In an attempt to rein in my spending for October, I decided to go cash-only for all of my purchases except for gasoline. Why not gas? I dunno. I like paying at the pump way too much, I guess.
I calculated how much I’ll likely need to spend on groceries, laundry, clothes for myself, trips to the drugstores, and other odds and ends. Shane’s parents are visiting in mid-October, and my parents and sister will come over toward the end of the month. I’m adding extra to my grocery budget so I can make sure we’ll have plenty of food on hand.
In all, I’m allotting myself $400 to cover all of these things. It sounds a bit high, but I don’t want to run out of money at the end of the month. I need to stock up on groceries and toiletries, and I think this amount will allow me to do that. If I come under budget, I’ll put that money toward our car loan.
Our next step: Paying off our car
Speaking of which, our “baby savings” fund is now complete! We have money in a savings account that we’ll use to buy a crib, mattress, car seat, and whatever else we want to buy before our baby is born. I imagine we’ll put money in that fund each month after he’s born so we can stay on top of diapers and other expenses.
Now that we have our six-month emergency fund and our baby savings pulled together, all of our extra money will go in a savings account. Each month, I’ll take that money and send a check to our bank. That’s the only way I can make sure the money is being applied to the principle of the loan. It stinks that I can’t just do it online, but whaddya do?
I’ll keep track of our loan progress in my sidebar. It’ll include our regular monthly payment of $277 plus our snowflaked amount. We took out $11,500 back in November 2007, and it’s now at $9,299.
I hope we’ll own the car outright in one year’s time. It’s an ambitious goal, but when I remember how quickly we were able to get out of credit card debt and set up our emergency fund, I think we can reach it. Let’s see how this’ll go!
Photo: I took this of my $400 minus $39.xx I spent at the grocery today.