Living Without Credit Tips

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A couple of months ago I switched to a cash only lifestyle.  It hasn’t been easy, and I haven’t been perfect.  This is how I’ve been making it work.

for those that are serious about the cash only lifestyle

for those that are serious about the cash only lifestyle

Tip 1: Plan for expenses well in advance.  There are times when I just couldn’t escape charging something to a credit card.  Today I had to pre-order a specialty pie for a dinner I’m going to tomorrow.  Because it’s a special order over the phone, the bakery needed me to pre-pay.  As I gave them my credit card number over the phone I was whinging.  It could have been avoided if I just planned in advance and had gone in person to pay in cash.  I’ve had a couple of other slip ups along the way and pretty much all of them were do to bad planning.

Tip 2: Link Paypal to your bank account.  I took advantage of some online Boxing Day sales.  Online shopping = credit card spending… wrong!  A lot of websites give the option to pay by credit cards or by paypal.  Paypal gives you the option to use a credit card or to withdraw funds directly from your bank account.  It’s not exactly using cash, but it’s a better option than relying on a credit card.

Tip 3: Use pro-pay.  I have a home-based business and my commission is paid to a Master Card/debit card on a weekly basis.  I use this card to pay for websites that do not let me pay through Paypal.  There aren’t any additional costs to me, and although it says Master Card, I can’t charge anything to it.  It’s a bit like a pre-paid card, except there aren’t any service charges.

Tip 4: Wait 24 hours.  I have found that a lot of expenses don’t seem that necessary after a while.  Or sometimes I have found a new way to work it into the budget

Tip 5: set up recurring bill payments.  All of my bill payments have been set up to happen automatically.  Once a week I take out $100 for my grocery money.  I have a $30 slush fund that is used for gas/entertainment or unexpected things.  This is probably the only thing that I still use my debit card for, but it’s only once a month or so.  Because every thing is done automatically, I know that as long as I have stuck to my cash budget, I don’t need to check my bank account balance or worry about when bills are going to be withdrawn.  It’s stress-free and simple.

CSA box week 12

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week 12

 

Another killer box from my farmer.  Beets and onions went into the stock pile.  Tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno peppers and onion became fresh salsa which I put on beans, rice and topped with avocado.  The blueberries I was so excited for!  The last time blueberries were in the box I gave that box away because I was on vacation.  They were delish!  I’m always so sad when blueberry season ends, it’s a long wait until they are available again.  Luckily for me I bought 30 pounds of frozen blueberries to get me through the winter.  I had already stocked up on raspberries and bananas and wasn’t sure I could fit it all into my freezer at once.  It wasn’t easy, but eventually it all fit.

packaging up for smoothies.  2 cups per bag

packaging up for smoothies.

My freezer from last month:  40 lbs bananas, 30 lbs blueberries and 10 lbs raspberries

My freezer from last month: 40 lbs bananas, 30 lbs blueberries and 10 lbs raspberries

Back to the CSA box, butter lettuce was such a nice change from the endless red leaf lettuce.  I made lettuce, tomato, sweet onion, avocado sandwiches with gluten free Portuguese buns from the farmers market.  It’s been about 7 years since I’ve sandwich in a bun, gluten-free baked goods have come a long way.  Next week I think I’ll buy some more.  More carrots, some of these I juiced, the rest went into stir fries.  Finally there was kale.  I actually didn’t know what it was!  I thought it might have been some sort of collard, but it’s flat leaf kale.  It seems all I ever see in the stores is curly leaf kale, I figured that just how all kale was.  I chucked it all into my morning smoothie.

Yoga

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Crow Pose

I love yoga.  I love the challenge of a difficult pose and the incremental changes I can observe.  I love the meditative space and the feeling of a yoga studio.  I like being pushed further into a pose than I thought I could go.  I love waking up in the morning and feeling the ache of my muscles the next day.  I love lighting candles throughout my garden and doing yoga in my yard after dusk.  Crow pose is the pose I am working towards.  I can do it, but I can’t hold the pose and I my toes aren’t as high off the ground.  A few months ago I couldn’t do it at all, not even close.  Baby steps… I’ll get there.