You Don’t Have to Use Cash to Stay On Budget

money (2)

I’m a spender.  There.  I said it.  I’m not one of those people who can walk through Walmart or Target and only buy what’s on my list.  There are just so many cool things in those stores that I want for myself or my kids or my grandkids.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not spending big bucks.  My impulsive purchases usually add up to $5 or $10 or even $20.  But unfortunately, those amounts are enough to blow the budget.  It’s amazing how fast they add up!

So in an effort to stay on budget, I decided I would only use cash.  For about four weeks I diligently went to the bank once a week and pulled out cash for all my weekly spending except gasoline.  Gasoline takes a lot more work if you use cash so I stuck with the debit card for that.  But you know what?  I HATE using cash.  I HATE it.

Yes, cash works.  Yes, I stayed on budget (mostly).  Yes, you can’t spend more than you have.  Yes. Yes. Yes.  But I still hate it.  I don’t want to use cash.  So I drifted back to using my debit card and making those impulsive purchases that blow the budget.

Plan A didn’t work.  Well, maybe I should say that I didn’t like Plan A and I stopped doing it.  So I’m going to try Plan B instead.  If it doesn’t work, I’ll go back to Plan A and make it work.  I can – I just don’t want to.

So Plan B.  We currently have two checking accounts.  The first is a business account (husband is a self-employed remodeling contractor).  The second is for our bills and spending.  Plan B creates a third checking account for spending only.  How will that help, you ask? Currently, when I use my debit card and spend from the bills account, even though I have a set amount to spend, I’m not as careful as I should be because I know there’s extra in there.  If I overspend a little, it’s not a big deal.  There’s money to cover it and I’ll figure it out later.

check register

The new spending account will have a limited amount of money.  Every week I’ll transfer my spending allowance to the new account and spend from there using the debit card.  There won’t be extra to cover those impulsive purchases.  It’s like cash – a limited amount. When it’s gone, it’s gone.  And if I overspend, I’ll overdraw and that’s not good.

I opened the new account on Saturday.  Once the debit card and checks arrive, I’ll give it a go.  And in about a month, I’ll let you know if it’s working.  I sure hope it does, because if it doesn’t, it’s back to cash for me and you know by now how I feel about cash.

Do you use cash or a debit card?  What are your tricks for staying on budget?

Please follow and like us:
←More from Money

6 Responses to “You Don’t Have to Use Cash to Stay On Budget”

  1. Joyce Stewart says:

    I won’t let myself spend money on a minimum of 15 days a month. Last month I went 17 days without spending any money. And it REALLY helps if you don’t have any to spend! :-) Lord only knows what I would do if I had more….but I’d like to think I would value and appreciate and be faithful with every dime!

  2. Cheryl says:

    I have no tricks for staying on budget because I never do. My mom used to use the envelope system with cash ‘back in the day’ and I think she still sort of works out of cash envelopes but not very rigidly…she doesn’t need to. (House paid off, minimal bills, lots of extra free flowing cash-lol). I know she doesn’t have a debit card so she uses mostly cash and credit. As for me; well, all the Suzy Foreman and Dave Ramsey books haven’t helped me. It got to the point where the hubby had to take over the bills but still when I go to Target I buy ‘stuff’ I don’t need. (I’m sure there’s a deeper issue there that a shrink would have a field day with if only I could afford one…lolololol). In all seriousness though, we are considering opening up a separate checking w/debit card as well. In fact, we just discussed this this past weekend. For 2 purposes: one is so that I have an amount of money I can spend with no questions asked that also has a limit (this will not be a huge amount and will not cover basics like clothing, hair salon, etc.). It will mainly be for those ‘little’ splurges like the Target, Walmart, Filofax, stationary and beads for my bracelets, etc. Stuff that isn’t ‘necessary’ but stuff that if I don’t have a controlled amount to spend, I will just spend, spend, spend–the cable bill be damned! Also, my debit card was compromised last week so I had to get a new one and while talking with the fraud dept. at our bank, the rep suggested that for online shopping I use a separate checking account and only keep the amount I am going to spend (or only a little bit more) and only use that account for online shopping. I can transfer over the amount I need for the online purchase then transfer back what I didn’t use or keep a little ‘overage’ in the account, but not too much. That way, if my account gets hacked due to online shopping they won’t get the bulk of our money in our account where our paychecks are deposited and is for bills. However, she wasn’t sure the ‘hack’ was from online shopping. This was something else. But still, what she said made sense!

    • Patty says:

      Cheryl, I think the separate account for “fun” money is a great idea. It’s always good to have guilt-free money to spend. I’m pretty sure even the experts recommend that.

      I feel your pain. As I said in the post, I’m a spender, too. There’s so much cool stuff at Walmart and Target.

      I’ve also heard that it’s good to make on-line purchases with a credit card instead of a debit card. Hackers don’t have access to your checking account and the liability is less with a credit card. So I usually use my credit card for those types of purchases.

      Thanks for sharing. I can so relate!

  3. Hope says:

    I like using cash, but I hate having to go to the back and withdrawing…so the debit card it is. I like the idea of that third account…except I currently have an extra account and its so easy to go online and transfer funds. hike…A work in progress. great post

    • Patty says:

      I don’t like having to go to the bank either. What’s funny is that it’s right next door to the grocery store so it’s really not a big deal. But usually I’m pressed for time so I don’t want to have to make any unnecessary stops. Getting cash is just one more thing to do!

      Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply

↑ Back to Top