I choose the month of February to put this out here for a couple of reasons: 1 – It gives you a two to three day reprieve from the most difficult thing you could do and; 2- there’s a major holiday in the month that makes it just a bit more challenging.
We live in tough economic times. That’s a given, but, none-the-less, there’s thousands, millions even, of people who live in tough economic times regardless of national prosperity.
The 28 day challenge is that you cannot use anything but cash for the entire month.
1. You have to log what you bought and how much it cost each day. (Hint: Save your receipts).
2. If you have a debit card you can use it, but, you cannot use the credit half of it. You have to purchase using debit or get cash. You may use your check blanks if you still use them.
3. Absolutely no use of credit cards what-so-ever – including purchases for Valentine’s Day.
4. All medical co-pays must be cash. (For the purpose of the challenge: If you have a major illness, accident etc.. Use your common sense and do whatever is necessary to meet your medical need.) Keep in mind though, there are those in the country who do not have the option of credit or insurance.
5. All bills must be paid via cash. On-line bill pay options are fine, but, you cannot use credit to pay credit. That’s cheating.
6. All groceries must be paid in cash. No putting groceries on credit.
7. You may use any net income that you have as your cash limit for the month. You may not get cash advances from your credit card to meet your needs. (That would be silly anyway considering the interest rate.)
8. You may borrow money from friends and family if you dare ask them and they are willing to give you what you need. Keep in mind, in March you would need to pay them back.
9. You may not use pay day loans or any other such option to meet your needs. I do not recommend pawning or selling items of value for the purpose of the challenge.
10. You may not liquidate assets such as stocks, bonds, CDs etc. to meet your needs. You may use any saving account monies that you have if any. You may not use lines of credit available from the bank direct deposit advances, regular lines of credit etc. Only savings and checking.
11. Daycare must be paid by cash or check. No advancing from credit cards. You may use daycare flex accounts from your employer.
Once you have completed the challenge in real life or on paper you will realize how cash poor you really are or are not. Remember you do not have the option for using food pantries, food stamps or any other state / federal funded programs; unless you are already using them.
You do not have to create a detailed report of your expenses to anyone. This challenge is a personal challenge. On March 1st, it would be nice to see any reports of experiences trying to live in the cash only world.
Could you do it? Do you have it in you to meet the challenge of poverty? Being in the working poor class? What are your thoughts about living cash only?