The Cash Only Approach

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As times are getting tougher, many of us find that it’s harder to get by, and it’s extraordinarily stressful.

People are loosing their jobs, ending up with reduced hours, less pay, and we’re all being forced to cut back. Tax season is upon us, and plenty of people who thought they were going to get a decent sized refund (including us) will see little, if anything, and many more will have to pay in extra. We’re all looking for extra cash- that overtime that use to be so easy to get, tax refunds, and all the magical cash that use to seem so abundant and available. But it’s just not there. So, because there is no extra cash, and actually less than we’re use to, what other option do we have than changing our spending habits? Easier said than done.

We all know how hard it can be to break a bad habit. Biting you nails, twirling you hair, sleeping late, whatever, we’ve all had a bad habit that we’ve tried to break. Sometimes we’re successful, other times, we’re not. And bad spending habits, we’ll, they are going to be just as hard to break. But I have adopted a policy called “cash only” that has begun to help break my bad habit. How does it work? Like this: you only spend the cash you have. Yup. That’s it. It sounds overly simple, I know, but once you try it, you’re going to realize how hard it can be.

That debit card that is soooo much easier than cash, bury it in your wallet. And that credit card that is waaaaaaay too easy to swipe and charge, hide that too. You’re going to be ignoring them both for a bit. But hold up, I’m not telling you to not use them- both a great when you’re in a bind, especially a credit card for emergency purposes. But let’s face it, you and I both started saying it was only going to be for emergencies, and over time that nice new outfit ended up on it, and that amazon order, and on and on. No more! Break free!!! So right off, we’re going to try to not spend frivolously anymore. Again, sounds easy, but once you try it, you’re going to surprise yourself and how hard you may find it.  

Now, I pay all of my bills with my checking account. Those don’t count in this approach. No, what counts is only the stuff that you buy on a weekly basis- I’m talking groceries, house necessities, meals out, laundry costs, etc. THAT is the stuff you are going to be using your cash only policy on.  So find out how much you need for all that in the week, spend an hour thinking things out, and write that amount down. Then, when you go to the bank, take that amount out of your paycheck and deposit the rest. And then, during the week, buy what you normally do, trying really hard to just go for those necessities, and once your cash runs out, you’re done. Hint: buy all your necessary items first (groceries, soap, etc.) then go for the less important stuff. Just like that. Oh, and if you find you actually end up with money left over, put it aside for the next week and take out a little less, forcing yourself to deposit more.

And that is the cash only policy. I dare you to try it. It’ll be difficult at first, but after a little while, it will become second nature. And be ready to be surprised at all the extra money you’ll end up saving. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “The Cash Only Approach

  1. To tell you the truth, I have the hardest time with cash. I can never keep it on hand. It’s almost impossible for me not to waste it. I’m the type that as soon as I swipe my card, it gets written down. This makes me have to look at my checkbook first before I even go on to the next purchase. For those that have the same issue as I do with cash, but can’t remember to check their register before buying a purchase, paperclip your debit card onto the most recent page of your register, than you’re forced to look at it as you pull out your card.

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