The Psychology of Paying With Cash
Continuing with our saga about my first shopping trip out with cash instead of my trusty (or not so trusty credit card), now we hit the grocery aisle.
I made some real eye opening discoveries.
I hadn't realized exactly how clueless I had become as far as addition and multiplication goes.
I used to shock and amaze people because I could tell them the price of almost anything in the grocery store. That was way back when they used to stick the price ON the item.
I had no trouble tallying as I shopped, the fear of going over and having to put something back at the check out kept me accountable to spend only what I had in my purse.
BACK IN THE DAY
As a matter of fact, one of my sharpest memories of life with my husband was our first grocery shopping trip. It was the beginning of a BAD habit.
I was busy tallying and checking prices and he said "Don't worry about that. GROCERIES are not something to be skimping on." He likes to eat.
I remember my own shock and awe. WOW.
Shopping around the store without watching every penny.
Without TRACKING every penny.
16 years later, he's changed his tune!
He's all for this new fangled cash system budget, groceries and all. As long as there is still food on the table of course.
Funny thing is, I'm finding myself much more motivated to do some home cooking. It's not only healthier, but can be a lot cheaper too. Upping my chances of having enough in the envelope come check out time.
I can only wonder how much money over the years we would have saved if I had stuck to my original style of shopping.
Oh well. Hindsight is $20/$20.
While I was shopping, I found myself truly connecting with the price of things.
For example, we regularly buy whipped cream cheese. I knew it was pricey, but the kids like it, and what the heck, sometimes you just need something guaranteed to keep that mouth busy for a few minutes (or less :0).
But I'm rethinking my position. Whipping out the handy receipt, which I now keep so that I can review to see what I WON'T be buying my next shopping trip, I see that 3.57 (despite the psychology of pricing at .57, I now know that it is pretty darn close to $4) – is not a price I am willing to pay every shopping day for a bunch of fat on a few pieces of toast. Call me cream cheese cheap.
There are better alternatives anyway. Especially since I've started on the new year Fit Yummy Mummy Challenge. That's a whole other story of awesome changes out the gate for 2009.
BRINGING A CALCULATOR
I was also not so impressed with the obvious proof that my concentration skills really have gone out the window. I had no desire what so ever to keep a running tally in my head. Granted, I buy more groceries than I used to way back, but I gave up after about the first
10 5 items.
Next time I go, I am bringing a calculator. I might try to add it up in my head for sport. But I'm bringing a calculator.
POWER OF ESTIMATION – SAY WHAT???
When we got to the check out, I was pumped about the new experience of being an UNBUYER, a person who does not put unnecessary items in my cart anymore.
And I was sure that I had done quite well to stay under my budget of $150.
That will be $169.36.
Good thing that I had extra cash in my purse!
Which is another tip. Never bring extra cash.
Had I not, I would have surely been more careful. And polished up my math skills.
So now I had to adjust for next week.
It was a good lesson out of the gate. I'll be prepared next week.
What really shocked me was that I had a completely different number in mind.
It's almost embarassing. But I thought that I had about $120 worth of groceries in my cart.
I was so sure that I took that amount out of my purse.
Makes me wonder what else I think I know!
A WHOLE NEW WAY OF SHOPPING
Who would guess that merely changing the method of payment would make such far reaching changes in the thought process of shopping.
I could set the same budget and still pay with either the credit or debit card.
But it just isn't the same.
Actually feeling the physical money in my hand. Counting it in and counting it out.
Handing it over. Seeing the empty space.
All made a big difference in the way that I did the shopping.
I found myself asking…
- Is there a better, or cheaper alternative?
- Is this a habit that we should kick?
- What can we skim to stay within budget?
I didn't shop for groceries like that before. I asked myself what we wanted and put it in the cart.
Turns out that what we WANT and what we NEED truly are 2 different things, even in the grocery store. Just like Suze says.
ALL IN ALL
I found myself shopping with a fully engaged mind.
Taking the big picture into account.
I haven't felt so good grocery shopping in years.
There is another good lesson here.
It's about being alive.
I have personally found myself to be asleep at the wheel for a few years now.
I am walking and talking, working and even playing sometimes, but I haven't felt fully present.
Too much going on.
Being scattered and jumping from one thing to the next too quickly.
Without really feeling any of it.
When we really connect with what we do, when we wake up, things don't so easily pass us by.
Things like overspending.
WHY NOT TRY IT
How about giving it a try, just for a week.
Instead of taking your credit card to the mall, take cash.
Budget before hand and divide it.
If you'd rather wait until next week, I will have more details about my cash system and how I use it.
Meantime, be mindful about what you are buying and ask yourself the questions that I asked myself.
And let us know how much you saved?
What was your biggest surprise?
Have a Shiney Day :0)
- Will That Be Cash or Charge?
- Is Your Budget Leaking?
- Setting Boundaries Saves Money
- How To Save Money
- Grocery Planning Made Easy
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