|You have a rich uncle. I have a rich uncle. Uncle Ben. He’s on the $100 bill. He’s already dead though, so we won’t get his inheritance. When you have Uncle Ben in your pocket, he becomes a part of you. He gets in your blood. You don’t want to part with him. “If you love him, set him free” doesn’t apply here. Now, imagine you have that same $100 available in credit. When you swipe your credit card for $100, you don’t hear that scream of pain as Uncle Ben leaves your pocket. It’s just a piece of plastic. No relation. It’s like a neighbor that you don’t really like, but you talk to sometimes anyway.|
|Barry and I have used a cash system since the day we were married. In fact, we went on our honeymoon with cash. We knew how much we could spend because we saw the actual money. A $50 dinner sounds a lot more expensive when you use cash and see your stack get smaller. Whew. That’s enough to send me straight to the McDonald’s $1 Menu. No, we’re not cheap to the point that we deprive ourselves severely. We just know that when we want something lavish it’s going to keep us from getting something else. It’s a matter of priority. Would we prefer a nice hotel or a nice dinner? You don’t get both….unless you really do have a rich uncle who left you millions.|
|I get this question all the time – “isn’t it hard to just use cash and carry it around?” Well, at first it’s going to be a strange adjustment. You’ll get the money out at the beginning of the month (or at the beginning and middle) and keep it in some envelopes. Then you’ll see exactly what you have. You won’t be guessing. You will know that you only have $20 left in the grocery budget on the 25th of the month. I think you will find that using cash isn’t hard……you’ll find that it’s freeing. Yes! FREE!!!!!! (I love that word.) It will be a relief to you when you know exactly how much you have, instead of wondering if you have enough to make it. The end of the month always comes, just like Christmas, so don’t let it sneak up on you.|
|You can find yourself a budget system to carry around or you can just use actual envelopes. Barry and I use a system from Dave Ramsey and I love it! It fits great in my purse. It has individual sections for different categories. It’s also got a spot for our checkbook and checkbook register. You could get a little plastic file folder from the dollar store to use if you don’t want to use envelopes. Just keep your cash separated. If you wanted, you could just use a paperclip and a sticky-note to keep them separate. The point is to have cash and to know how much you have in each category. If you get cash out and then stuff it all in your wallet, you’ve defeated the purpose. You’ve also become a target for someone who sees your stuffed wallet……would you like to buy some Girl Scout Cookies? You won’t be able to say no because they saw your wallet. Busted.|
|I’ve also been asked if I feel scared to carry around cash. Nope. Not really. I don’t feel any different carrying around cash than I would carrying around a credit card. In fact, I feel a little safer. Even if I DID get robbed, they’d have my cash and not my credit card to spend $5,000 and leave me to get all the identity theft crap worked out.|
|The whole purpose of using a cash system is to only spend what you have. ONLY SPEND WHAT YOU HAVE. Gosh. Some people are such big babies that they can’t even imagine only spending what they have. They want what they want. Don’t be a baby. “But I deserve it!” “It’s MY money and I want it NOW!” Quit your whining. Do you really have the money…or do you just have credit? Credit is not money. Repeat, credit is not money. It’s a chain. You’ll be chained to MasterCard. Was that boat really worth it? Do you really want to walk through life with a boat chained to you? It’s a good weight loss plan, I guess.|
|Some of you are thinking, why can’t I just use my debit card? It’s linked to my cash, right? Yep, you’re right. But most checking accounts also have Overdraft Protection. That means you can spend more than you have and get CHARGED for it. If you are disciplined enough to write your budget down and keep your checkbook updated every time you use your debit card then you could use your debit card. I just find that most people have more success with using cash.|
|No, Barry and I do not use cash for everything. We budget out for gas based on how much we spent the prior month and how much travel we’re going to be doing. We leave that money in the checking account and use our debit card. That’s only because we never know down to the penny how much gas is going to be. We find this method works for us. We budget MORE than we’ll use for gas so that we don’t overdraw. If you are afraid you can’t do this, get the cash out. If you run out, then you just won’t be driving to Great Aunt Myrtle’s for Sunday dinner. It could be a great excuse if you need it. Play it up.|
|Try using cash. I won’t tell you to try it for one month. Try it several months. It will take you a while to get the kinks worked out. Once you’ve been doing it for a while, you’ll find that credit cards look stupid to you. Plus, cash gets you through the check-out line WAY faster.
Credit cards are stupid anyway, unless you want to use them to scrape soap scum off the tub. No one got rich by using credit cards. Shocking!