I was under my grocery budget by $13, under my clothing budget by $15, and under my household budget by $38 for a total savings of $86! I decided to add some of this overage to next month (especially since March is a long month for me as a tax widow!) and I took out $20 to put toward our San Diego vacation. This $20 will show up in my savings for next month.
I was able to "cash out" three giftcards this month. When I used a gift card, I took the cash out of my envelope for that category and put it in my savings jar. This allowed me to add $50 to our San Diego trip.
Every time I got change back from a purchase, I put the coins in my savings jar. This past Saturday I took one of my daughters with me to cash in the coins at a Coinstar machine. If you choose to receive a giftcard instead of cash, there is no counting fee. I chose an Amazon gift card and ended up getting $12.35 from my spare change! I took $13 out of my grocery budget to put in our savings jar and used the gift card to buy wipes on Amazon. With the gift card, my out of pocket expense was only $0.02!
We got our "big fat check" from Ebates this month: $40.05. That money went into the savings jar. We also got our rebate check from our American Express card (that we have through Costco). I was shocked to see our rebate was $263.00! That money also went right into the savings jar.
The only downside was that I did use my credit card for some things (like Costco) and just took the cash out of my envelope and set it aside. We decided not to redeposit this extra cash at the end of the month only to have to turn around and withdraw cash at the beginning of the month, so all the cash I saved will be redistributed into our envelopes for March and we will see the savings from February at the end of March. (We use Microsoft Money to keep track of our budgeting.) Not a big deal in the long run, but it did make us a little cash poor this first month.
So in summary, here is what I was able to save in my first month at this cash-only experiment:
- $50 from "cashing out" gift cards
- $13 from saving spare change
- $263 from credit card rebate
- $40.05 from Ebates
...for a grand total of: $366.05!
The total cost for our hotel stay in San Diego is $610. So with the savings from this month's experiment, I have already covered more than 1/2 the cost! I am so excited to start saving in March!