Monday, July 29, 2019

Why I'm Going on an All Cash Diet for August

Last year, I got really into learning how to be better with money because I realized that I wasn’t exactly, uhhh, good with it. I only ever made sure I had enough cash to pay my rent and utilities, and then spent the remaining money on whatever I wanted and basically assumed I had enough money to cover all of my expenses. I think we can all agree, I was not really setting myself up for success in terms of saving for the short term or long term. Once I started to learn more about personal finance, I wanted to talk to my friends about it all the time. We talk to our friends about everything, even things we consider to be embarrassing or secretive or anxiety inducing, but we avoid talking about money, though it is usually where lots of us could use the most help. So, internet friends, we are gonna talk about money. 

Next month, I am going to go on an all cash diet as a means of aggressively saving money. So, I will be paying for nearly everything I buy with cash. I say nearly because I will be using my travel rewards credit card to pay for a hotel stay and flight in August, and paying for rent and other bills electronically. When the cash runs out, so does my spending -- yikes! 

In June, I decided to move out of my beloved one-bedroom apartment into a two-bedroom apartment and have a roommate to cut my monthly fixed cost of living by about 45%. And since I did make what was for me such a drastic lifestyle change, I want to take this seriously and do what I set out to do - save money! 

In terms of saving, I want to build an emergency fund with minimum 3 months of living costs, with a stretch goal of saving 6 months of living costs. Life happens and I want to have easily accessible cash should life happen and I am unable to work for some time, or some other wild, unavoidable expense comes up. Second, I want to start saving for when I do live alone again, which will likely be within the next 9 months. This goal is a bit more nebulous, but basically after hitting my emergency fund goals, I will be saving for my #homegoals. 

The softer side of this saving exercise is that I am trying to find more alignment between my values and my actions, and more alignment between who I am and who I want to be. I was reading a book on personal finance (will do a separate post on resources), in which the author said she had to stop making a delineation between her present self and her future self because there was only one her. She had to stop saying when I make x amount of money or get z job, I’ll start saving; she had to just start doing it. You will only become the person you want to be when you start behaving like the person you want to be. So for me, this is an exercise in becoming the person I want to be -- someone who makes smart decisions about how I spend my money and generally consumes less stuff. 

Also, my birthday is next month and I have been eyeing and obsessively thinking about a bag I don’t need to buy at the moment, so this is also an exercise in self control. Just keeping it real. 

In terms of content on the blog, on Mondays, I will post “money diaries” a la Refinery29 of what I spent money on the previous week. There will also be some ad hoc posts about how I budget, personal finance resources I find helpful, and other nifty ways I bolster my income. Let me know if there is anything specific you'd like to read in the comments below.

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