30 Day Money Challenge… tracking cash day 7

caution: tracking cash can lead to depression, anxiety and over all stress

Seven glorious days have gone by since I started my month of tracking all cash I spend and only spending what I physically have. That’s a total of 168 hours… 10,080 minutes consumed with being fully conscious of money which means constantly thinking of money and I’ve learned two things;

  1. it sucks
  2. it cause me ridiculous stress

Why does it suck? Because it means I have to be greedy  if I really want to make this limited budget thing work. Greedy with things like food. By nature I am not a greedy person I am a sharing person. I love to have people over for dinner. I love sharing. With this limited budget to the point expenses are more than intake I will (or rather should) be stopping this.

This was very apparent over the weekend when I had three kids at my house from Thursday 5p.m until Saturday 5p.m. Two liters of milk and three liters of juice by lunch time Saturday, my half-empty fridge was fully empty as I figured out what to make for lunch and I it hit me – if I am going to live on a very limited budget then I can’t have friends over like we do. I love having Davis’ friends over, for a sleep over or to watch movies, and it’s nothing for me to have five kids running in the house asking for juice (they only get cookies when I’ve baked.) If I am going to try to stick to spending the money I have, then there will be times in the month where I won’t be able to say yes to these get-togethers because I won’t have enough food to get us through to the next pay. Do I seriously have to think about that? ugh. How can you live life like that?

Realistically, that’s not going to happen since Davis’ happiness is more important than anything else and this makes her happy. And it makes me happy. And it totally sucks that I have to think of this. I hate that voice that says, “You can’t afford to give them that juice. You’ll have no more. Hoard it.” Damn you voice! Go away!

Over the past week I’ve been reminded of the intense stress money brings to me. With this constant thinking of money, wondering if there’s enough food, enough gas, enough of everything plaguing my mind I can’t sleep properly. At times I find it hard to breath because I’m so tense and my anxiety levels are through the roof. To be honest I’ve had a couple of anxiety attacks over the past week trying to asses how I was going to make this work. Thank God for yoga.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been this strapped for cash. Putting myself through university was pretty tough so I know what it’s like to be in the grocery store adding items up in your head for the fourth time as you nervously stand in line hoping that when the cashier runs you through you do indeed have enough to pay. I’ve been there and am very familiar with that knot of anxious nausea that sits in your tummy. And it seems it might not be a place I want to be again. The nervousness in the line-up is now even more panicked, that knot is screaming voices of worry in my head and twice I’ve had to force myself to breath to conquer an anxiety attack raising it’s weapons.

Not only does this suck, it’s exhausting. Money worries are horrible. To be constantly remind yourself you can’t spend anything because you don’t really have enough to get through to next pay is like sending your brain speeding down the highway of financial worry. As it is I now have nothing to spend before next pay. Not one penny of physical cash available so hopefully nothing comes up that needs to be purchased right away. I’m returning bottles to get money for milk as we will need more before pay-day. Toddlers need milk.

That said, I did try a new technique to save on gas. Instead of filling up, I only put what I could actually afford. Last week it was $35 so I could buy milk with the other money I had. For this week, it was $30 because that’s all I had left. Hopefully it’s enough to get me through to next pay period. I’m terrified to drive anywhere extra because I can’t waste the precious gas. On the bright side, I’m cutting my carbon footprint too.

Tomorrow insurance comes out and then I’ll know for sure if I have enough for the babysitter on Friday. I should have enough but I’m nervous. I’m back to being that girl in the grocery store line in University, never fully sure I’ve got enough cash until I’m through the check-out.

Seriously, is this any way to live?

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2 thoughts on “30 Day Money Challenge… tracking cash day 7

  1. This does sound really difficult. Like you, I like to be generous and share. I love sharing a good bottle of wine with friends, etc. And, I love feeding kids good fruit, so I can imagine how hard it is if you have to say no. One thing that might help a teeny bit, is watering the juice down. I do this for my kids when I give them orange juice in particular. It’s healthier that way and a carton of juice goes much farther.

  2. Definition of greed: 

    adjective, greed·i·er, greed·i·est.

    1.excessively or inordinately desirous of wealth, profit, etc.; avaricious: the greedy owners of the company.
    2.having a strong or great desire for food or drink.
    3.keenly desirous; eager (often followed by of  or for ): greedy for praise, etc.
    4.having more than one needs without sharing with those who have less than they need.

    Sorry Nikki, you don’t fit the definition of “Greed”, unfortunately you could be a poster girl for the definition of “working poor in Canada”. It is as follows:

    “In Canada, recent economic growth and social assistance reform have furthered labour market participation and have brought about a significant reduction of welfare caseloads. However this did not translate into an increase in the economic well-being of all Canadians, as a large number of individuals and families are still poor even though they are working. Results using a new definition indicate that in 2001 there were about 460,000 working poor in Canada or close to one million individuals when this group is extended to include their dependants. Furthermore, although the majority of working poor was working on average full time/full year in 2001, the depth of low income of working poor families was almost as high as that of non-working poor families.”

    As you can see this definition is over ten years old and the numbers have surely increased since then. I wish I had some words of encouragement for you.  I only began following your blog recently by fluke, but I have since read some…actually all of your previous blogs and I don’t think you have ever sounded as down as you do here, and no wonder. We all want our children to be happy and oblivious to adult problems. 

    May I suggest you inform the parents of visiting kids of your situation and ask them to pack a little snack-pak for them when they come to visit and if your child goes elsewhere to visit, you do the same in return. There is absolutely no reason for you to be embarrassed to request this, it is a reasonably thing to do given your circumstances. ( if another parent asked you to do that, I’m sure you would happily comply)

    Furthermore, you can still invite friends over for the evening,  just do it under the same pretense. Potluck, byob and you’ll provide the oven, fridge, movies, etc. I would encourage you to try to do this if only for your own mental health, mommy needs and deserves some adult time. Everyone will be better off if she gets it. Keep a stiff upper lip girl.

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to be so long winded, I tend to do that sometimes.

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