Cash Diet: Day One

January 6, 2012

Today is the first day of my new cash diet and, so far, I love it.

I got paid overnight and woke up searching for the list I made of where all my money needed to go. I saved half of next month’s rent, covered my two loan payments, kept enough for my Emergency Fund and RRSP withdrawals, and put $195 on my credit card. After all that, I still had $300 in my account, $80 of which will cover my cell phone bill (which should be coming any day).

Later this morning, I’m going to the bank to pull $220 cash out of my chequing account. The cash has to cover my food/gas/fun expenses until Thursday, January 19. I also have some leftover money from Christmas, in the form of gift cards: $50 for gas and $21-and-change to the grocery store. Because of this, I have absolutely no concerns about what the next two weeks of my life will look like.

Right now, I’m happy about what I was able to put on my credit card debt and excited at the thought of what this cash diet could do for my finances. I could pay off my credit card debt by the same time I finish school (July)! Then I could quickly save for conferences and, after that, finish saving for NYC! And next year, since I’ll have no credit card debt, I could save for a brand new bed!

But wait… isn’t this how all diets begin? You’re inspired by something or someone, you tell yourself you’re going to do the same thing for yourself, then you set goals that have always felt impossible, all of which you eventually give up on? Is that what’s going to happen to me? I guess it will depend on how this first month goes. The test will be whether or not $110 is enough to live happily and healthily off of each week.

When I get home from work, I’m putting my debit card in my sock drawer, and it’s not coming out until Friday, January 20. Do you think I can do it?

  • Cassie January 6, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I think you can do it :) It may take some adjusting to get used to, but $110 a week is quite doable. It’s similar to what I budget for myself.

    • Cait January 7, 2012 at 6:37 am

      Is it? Awesome, thanks for letting me know!

  • singletothepenny January 6, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I really hope that you can make it!!!
    I have been trying to do the same with $200 per week and so far I haven’t been able to keep to that.
    Hopefully in 2012 I will be able to!
    Good luck!

    • Cait January 7, 2012 at 6:39 am

      I think you can do that! Although I know how expensive things are in TO. Like groceries? I miss TO, but I don’t miss paying TO grocery prices…

  • hithatsmybike January 6, 2012 at 11:43 am

    I think you can do it!! $110 isn’t easy but totally manageable with planning — which you’re definitely doing.

    Man, I need some of your discipline.

    • Cait January 7, 2012 at 6:43 am

      Thanks Bridget!

  • Serendipity January 6, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    I agree. While it may not be easy, it can be doable for one person. I’m excited to see how you do!

    • Cait January 7, 2012 at 6:44 am

      Thanks, girl! I’m totally nervous about it because I never usually carry cash… should be interesting.

  • lifeisfullofsunnydays January 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I also think you can do it. It will be a ‘fun’ challenge! :)

    • Cait January 7, 2012 at 6:45 am

      As long as it’s not an “I’m bored” challenge, that’s ok w/ me! :)

  • Kiwi girl January 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    It takes 21 days to form a habit, so by the time you next get to withdraw cash you will be well on the way to your cash only life. You will be surprised how far the cash will stretch with a bit of planning plus the petrol voucher. Well done on the credit card payment too.

    • Cait January 7, 2012 at 6:40 am

      I’ve hardly driven so far this month. I have a feeling the gas card is going to be all I need for transportation costs! Thanks for your comment :)

  • JA January 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    My one trick to not spending is to not go shopping. If I stay at home (or at work) I can get by without spending for days. And when I do need to go shopping, leave right after lunch (so that I am not hungry) and go with a list, get just the stuff I want and come right back. :)

    • Cait January 7, 2012 at 6:41 am

      I also try to go food shopping when I’m full! Best trick ever.

  • westcoastsoul January 6, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    You can totally do it, I do 80$ a week and it’s fine :D

    • Cait January 7, 2012 at 6:42 am

      Ooo, that almost sounds like a challenge ;) haha. Thanks for letting me know!

  • Clare - Never Niche January 6, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I don’t think you can do it.

    I KNOW you can do it.

    • Cait January 7, 2012 at 6:42 am


  • Lauren January 16, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    If you can’t tell, I’m catching up on some missed blog reading haha.

    I can’t wait to follow your cash-only journey this month (and see the update coming soon about these two weeks!). My budget fell off the bandwagon in December, and this month so far I’ve been doing crappy too. My boyfriend and I just made a grown-up decision to move out together in the Spring, and I need to pay off my credit cards (or at least, VERY DOWN) before then… so I’m thinking of going on a cash-only spending lockdown like this until then, starting in February – so I can’t wait to see how yours is going!