I use my debit card for everything!  Using a debit or credit card is an easy way to spend money without being accountable for the things I am purchasing.  I am going to go retro and only use cash for purchases.  I want to challenge myself over the next few weeks to be more accountable for the money I am spending on a daily basis.  I will still use my debt/bank card for large purchases and to pay monthly bills, but for day-to-day items I will be able to track my spending and see what changes can be made in my habits.

I am also going to use this same process for my daughter who has just received her driver’s license and needs to learn how to save money for gas.  Cash leaves you with no chance to live beyond your means, when the money is gone it is gone.  This process will show her how to save for items she would like but can’t purchase right away.  Having to wait will also take care of impulse purchases and ensure she is really committed to the purchase.

MAKING A CHANGE:  I am going to start each monday morning and have a weekly cash budget for food, groceries, household supplies, entertainment, etc.  I will use paperclips to bundle the money in my wallet so I will be able to quickly see when the cash is getting low.  On the paperclip I am going to have a small piece of paper to track what I am spending.  This will also be a go place to track the money I am saving.  When I decide to take a drink from home instead of stopping at Starbucks that would be at least a $3.00 savings.

GROCERY SHOPPING:  At the grocery store I go through the aisles to find food I might want instead of buying only the food I need.  Having an unlimited” amount to spend, because I just swipe my card allows me to make unnecessary purchases.  If I have of chance of running out of money towards the end of the week I might think twice about purchasing some items.

DON’T BE WASTEFUL:  Many times when I go grocery shopping I might purchase a new bag of chips even though I have a half eaten bag at home.  I am always finding half used bottles of water causing me to have to purchase new ones more often.  Instead of buying new items, I want to make sure our family finishes what we have.  Clipping the chips closed will keep them fresh so my family will complete the bag and allow me to wait longer before I have to purchase a new bag  Leaving a marker next to the bottled water will let the kids decorate their bottles so we will know who they belong to so they can find and finish their drink. (note: the water bottles are from our weekends camping, when we are at home we do have a water jug and don’t use water bottles)

KEEP THE CHANGE:  Using cash will allow me to save money two ways.  I will only use bills to pay for the items I purchase.  At the end of each day I will put all of the coins I collected throughout the day into a savings jar.  Any money left over at the end of the week will also be put into a jar and saved for Christmas shopping.

SAVE ON PURCHASES:  In some cases, having cash can save you money.  Some retailers will give you a discount if you pay with cash.  Shopping around and finding a store that will negotiate with prices can save a great deal of money.  Don’t be afraid to ask everyone if they give a discount for cash and shop around to find the places that do.

LOOSE TRACK AND LOOSE MONEY:  When you use your debit card it is sometimes difficult to keep track of your spending.  Some transactions are removed from your bank account immediately while other items might not show up for days.  With the inconsistency of some purchases, if you are not careful you may over draw your account.  Don’t get stuck pay extortionate overdraft fees.