CASH diet

I am not a fan of diets, or the diet industry. Raised in a culture where  OUTSIDE messages that if you only tried harder, worked longer, suffered purer, you can attain an idealized version of “it”….these outside messages become INSIDE perspectives.  I still remind myself and others, “if you had bigger boobs or small hips,” would you have more sex? Have more esteem? Have more confidence? I’ve been a size  10. I’ve been a brunette. I’ve been a glasses wearing geek. None of those made me unhappy. And I’ve been all their opposites: a lasiks sporting athlete, a
long haired blonde, a size 0. And None of those made me unhappy.
What I know for sure: Going on any diet SUCKS. And yet estimates are up to 83% of women have tried a dietary one.

So, why, why, why, was it on my list to LIVE ON CASH for a SOLID MONTH? (Task #67 check out my list!) ) Yep, that’s right. At the beginning of April, I followed a financial plan (#99), taking dispersing slotted cash it into envelopes for GAS, GROCERIES, BARCELONA, BX/GLOBUS (our equivalent of Target), ENTERTAINMENT, BARCELONA TRIP, Mid-Month “booster” (for anything!), FUN! Discretionary!, and Household Stuff. My bills were taken directly from my account.
I was resolved NOT TO USE my bank card. I wanted to know exactly where my money was going to and not just HOW I spent, but WHY.

Sure enough, my birthday weekend in Barcelona, I spent 82.48 on my credit card, even though I brought EURO with me. I started feeling worried that if I spent that cash, then I’d be cashless, and I didn’t want to be cashless. I was afraid, so I would weathered the guilt and came home with 40Euro (almost $70).  I “cheated” other times as well. I ordered photos for Jack on shutterfly after hearing he was really sick in the hospital (relational guilt for not being there physically “broke” my diet), and I forgot cash one day at the post office mailing my BF and mom’s mother’s day packages. And! OH, GOD! I AM A FAILURE!, one night at my weakest, I bought a Black House White Market skirt for $11 on EBAY. The guilt and shame was crushing. (still haven’t recieved the skirt yet, either!)

Damaged Goods: Bought in Barcelona

Somewhere After day 20 I started accumulating bright pink, flaming purple, screaming orange post its, pilfered with restricted items, forlornly labeled as “discretionary”. Think of these like the pinnacle of the pyramind your pils sugars fats

Protein powder
Hair dye
Jameson whiskey
Sunscreen, Hand Lotion

And then this led to a binge, childlike dreaming of a hypothetical letter to Santa
Henkle New kitchen knife
Outdoor fire Ring
Bed pillows
Buy $100 shoes (task #62)
Mac Book pro (ummm…seriously. Now REALLY WANT ONE!)

I started really feeling that if I could just OBTAIN these things life would
be SO much better. A book I was read helped a woman heal from a lifetime of
fear of eating and dieting by promising to eat cookies for dinner, her
ultimate wish, for an entire week. By day 4, the fun had worn off, and by day
7 she realized that she was the EXACT same weight.

Any forced restriction any culture of depravity cultivates urges of seeking not just nourishment but excess I am less capable of locating satiety…with one indulgence, I crave them all…………..Hmmmm. Dietary diets often have long term outcomes of MORE pounds, MORE guilt,  MORE Shame, More feeling “not good enough!” , you are more likely to end up feeling DEPLETED and TIRED. AND YET… Americans — according to the numerous studies I keep pulling up on the Internet — annually spend somewhere between $33 billion and $55 billion on weight-loss products and services

But, outside of the diet, I look back on this past month and realized how ATTACHED I am to the plastic. How, just like food, we are so far removed from our money. My philosophy is that our WALLETS SHOW OUR ETHICS.  Each time I spent cash, I could see the impact on the “piles” in each envelope. The budget Highlights your values: MINE: adventures, learning (TRAVEL), Functional, yet personal everyday objects (Cute small coffee cups!) Nourishment (I spent $20 in produce every 9 days, organic eggs) Packages back home. I also realized how I can TRUST MYSELF with the whole money spending process. On cash, this month, I bought a new bed ($350 from “craigslist!) and a new furniture set for the patio ($325) in addition to my essential spending.

So, like most of us, I really DIDN’T NEED to diet in the first place. These were TWO things on my list that many people may need to try, but just didn’t
apply to me. 

But I bought it…hook line and sinker.

At least I didn’t spend money on it!

….um, and you’ll be the first to know when I get that MACBOOK.


6 thoughts on “CASH diet

  1. i think i’m probably the opposite of you, i think i need to go on a “credit diet” because i only spend cash..which is nice because i can “feel” the money leaving my hands but it makes buying larger stuff hard and i feel guilty using plastic because i’m so worried that i won’t be able to pay off the bill when it comes in!

  2. Great post. Love the idea of that as a diet. Totally humorous! I don’t do cash, but I use my bank card, so I never have cash, but it is my cash being spent. Only recently did I switch to using my credit card and paying off every month. I want my darn airline miles. I want free travel within Europe. But I monitor my accounts religiously. I always worry, like you did, that if I spend the cash, I may run out and sometimes you need to a leave a few bucks on you.

  3. Great post. I only got a credit card a few years ago as I needed to start using in to build a decent credit rating and to tick all the boxes for my future mortgage. It makes me nervous as I sometimes feel disconnected from how much I am actually spending – I just hand in my card. I have cut down a lot recently and try to use cash when possible to be more aware of my cash flow.

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