I’m dating myself here, but I remember the days before I had a credit card. Before bank machines and debt cards. The days when I had to pay for things with either cash or check. I had to determine how much money I would need for the week, line up at the bank, fill in a withdrawal slip, hand it to the teller and get my cash. It took a lot of planning because I didn’t want to have to waste time going into the bank every time I needed more money. I was conscious of every dollar I was spending – primarily because getting back to the bank was such a pain in the neck. I managed to save a lot of money back then.
I am in no way advocating returning to those days. What I am saying is how much more conscious you are of what you are spending when you only have a finite amount of cash on hand to spend. And how much easier it is to curb your impulse spending and stick to a budget.
So, we’re here to ask, would you be willing to go on a cash only diet for a month? You’ll most likely spend less, save more and you might even lose a little weight. Not debt weight, but weight weight. Read on!
Notice every dollar you spend
Let’s say you’re standing in a coffee shop, preparing to buy the coffee you’ve budgeted for and you see a brand new pastry on display you’ve never seen before. You’ve only got $100 to spend for the week. If you’re on a cash only payment schedule you realize that pastry you have today means you will have to forfeit something else down the line. You will think twice about spending the money. (The amount of money involved isn’t really the issue, it’s the mindset.) If on the other hand you’re using your credit card it’s much easier to give in to every whim that dances past your eyes because you don’t feel the money leave actually leave your person.
In the article, “How Using Cash Can Curtail Spending,” from Sisters for FI they talk about the pain of paying.
“In Behavioral Economics, there is a concept called the Pain of Paying. It is the idea that we experience some version of pain when we pay for something. When we pay cash, we have to give up something, in this case, money that we will never see again so there’s a moment of hesitation when we do it. It’s just a moment and many of us will probably not recognize it. When we use cash, we notice, touch, grab, sort, count the money and in the process we feel a loss.”
Bonus you might lose some weight in the process
Why would paying cash help you lose weight you might ask? Well, according to the article, Paying With Cash Can Help You Lose Weight and Save Money from CNBC, “People who stick with paper buy fewer sodas and desserts at work. And workplaces, like restaurants and stores, are “booby-trap hotspots” – meaning places where you’re more likely to eat unhealthy foods.
You’re already feeling the pain of handing over actual money. When it’s going toward something that’s not in your budget and is bad for you that tips the scales to keeping your money in your pocket and the dessert out of your mouth.
One month cash only. Are you in?