Cut back by going on a cash-only diet.
For last weekend’s #MONEY30 challenge, we encouraged you to save money by planning a night in with friends. This time, we’re using a different tactic to encourage you to curb your spending: Fund your purchases entirely with cash.
The most compelling reason to do away with plastic is that credit card use can lead to overspending. Mindlessly swiping your credit card encourages you to fork over funds you might think twice about laying down if you were using cash. What’s more, the fact that you likely have a grace period (at least until the end of the month) to pay for your purchases could make that spending seem less daunting. A 2008 survey from Dun & Bradstreet found that people spent between 12% and 18% more when they paid for purchases with their credit cards.
Still, relying on cash only, even just for the weekend, requires a bit of planning on your part. For starters, refer back to Day 6 & 7 of the #MONEY30, when we asked you to track your weekend spending. That should give you a rough estimate of how much cash you typically spend in a weekend—and which expenses you can and should cut out (see Day 8, when we challenged you to slash one unnecessary weekend expenditure).
Here are a few more tips for determining how much you’ll need to take out in cash this weekend:
- Personal finance apps like Mint or GoodBudget can help you get a handle on your typical spending breakdown on the weekends.
- Make sure you have enough to cover fixed expenses like bills that happen to be due on Saturday and Sunday.
- Be sure to take a close look at your discretionary spending, like eating out or hitting the bar. You’ll likely see some areas where you can cut back, where you realize that your long-term savings targets are more important than those cute new shoes at the boutique or that second brunch-time mimosa. This weekend, take the opportunity to quite literally force yourself to put those goals first.
Whatever your budget, don’t forget to hit the ATM Friday to take out just enough cash to last you through the next two days—and get ready to fund your weekend with only greenbacks.
— Kerry Close
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