At the beginning of September, I posted about a cash challenge for groceries. I wanted to do all of my grocery spending in cash and see how it would affect my spending when using actual cash (as opposed to cards) to pay for my shopping.


I set my budget at £45 a week for all food, including food for work. The only things that were not including were the two meals planned for birthday celebrations. Everything else was included!


My results are:

Week 1: £37.14

Week 2: £40.46

Week 3: £42.96

Week 4: £40.12

Total: £160.68/£180


I think we did pretty well! I found that when I was using a cash budget, and had no reserves, especially for the first week, I was much more careful about what I was buying. Anything that wasn’t on my shopping list didn’t go into the cart. I also found myself comparing the labels slightly more and getting different brands if they offered better value.


The other thing that came into play was the fact that I was considering what we were actually eating more, as opposed to just eating the same things week in, week out. I’m guilty of us only eating a handful of meals and rotating them on our meal plan, but this made me step out of my comfort zone a bit more. I looked at what was on offer online first before writing my lists and looking for recipes. One week, chicken was on offer but I wanted to do something different to normal. This lead me to searching recipes online with chicken in, plus some store cupboard ingredients and trying something new. Extra bonus to the challenge! I don’t normally look at the offers before I go to the supermarket, but this worked well for September. I am definitely going to try and continue this moving forward.


I think the overall feeling I got from using cash only instead of credit cards is that I was much more careful about what I was buying. I took my time over my grocery shop rather than just rushing round. I took time to research offers and look at different recipes rather than just cooking the same thing.


The only downside to the challenge, as far as I can see, was actually physically getting the money out of the cash machine every week so I could go shopping. Normally I rarely carry cash on me, as I use my cards for pretty much every purchase, so this was a bit more of an effort. Also, in hindsight, I should have set my budget at either £40 or £50 as the cash machines around us don’t dispense £5 notes! So finding £5 in change every week proved somewhat challenging.


But overall, the September Cash Challenge was a success!


Did you try it? How did you find using cash only? Or do you always use cash? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!


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