Ok, so I know what you are thinking, This lady is crazy! You can not possibly make it through the day without your little plastic friend. It would bring an end to your world if you didn't have that little rectangle available at all times. If you could not simply swipe the card through the reader then what would you possibly do? It is ok I have a plan and a reason.
So true a debit card is convenient. Yes it is way more simple than carry around cash. The thing is that problems can also arise out of a debit card that can really wreck your road to recovery. Debit cards are so easy to use that a person can get carried away just swiping all the time. One little mistake and you could be cleaning up the mess for an extra month or more. Who wants to deal with all of that when you are already trying to get your budget together.
1. You go on a day of errands and have to hit 5 stores that day. You do good on the first couple of stops making sure you put your receipt away but by the 4th store you are tired and just want to be done and forget to get it. While this seems easy enough, what if it is for gas and it only shows up as 0.00 because it is still pending and you wait 2 days to fill in your check book. You forget how much you spent and guess you are $3.00 off on your guess now your book is wrong and you go about your spending. Then BAM!!!! Over draft charge. You may even forget to write it in all together in the first place and there it is a fee just because you forgot one transaction. Now you are negative and either have to keep using the card and make it worse, use your credit card which will now incur interest or dip into your savings. All of which defeat the whole purpose of what you are working for.
2. You buy a trial of something because you can put it on your card and it seems cheap. Then you forget to cancel it and now you are paying $80 for a trial item because they have your card number and can automatically bill you. Once again you are hit with fees and looking to pay for everything you just did again defeating the purpose.
3. As we have found time and time again they are not super secure either and when you are trying to save money because you don't have any, you can't afford an act of fraud. Depending on the situation it could take 30 days before you get your money back. My guess is if you are reading this then you can not afford to wait 30 days to get your money back
Now lets get to what you should do. CASH! That is right plane old paper bills and coins. This is the perfect way to stay on track. I am not saying no electronic use. You can pay your bills online to save driving every where and wasting gas which of course costs money. You keep track of how much you have after bills by doing that in a check log. What is left after you get paid and deduct your bills is the cash you have to spend until your next payday. THAT IS IT.
You only get what your check log says you have. You then take out the cash and that is what you use. This is also helpful because it is more visual too. You are physically giving away your hard earned money which can be harder the less you have. When you actually have to hand over a $5 for that one cup of coffee it starts to sink in that you are giving away a lot of money for one little thing. You go out to eat and you have to use a $20 and only get a $5 back it really does hit a nerve and you will start watching what you are doing more. When you only have $20 left and payday is still 4 days away you will be much more careful.
How do I know this? I have been doing it now for 5 months. I don't even have an ATM card now. There are times where things have come up and unfortunately I have had to use a card or my savings and that is also life. The important thing is that because I have been working to change my situation I actually had money on my card or cash in the savings. I made sure to keep myself accountable.
It isn't always easy and I know every situation is unique. I am not going to tell you to save $50 every check because I couldn't do it and still have money. I am giving you tips to help you get the start you need and you can customize it to fit you. I work at a bank so I can get the money out when needed but you may still need an ATM card just in case, that is what will work for you. Until next time. Keep up the good work. I would love to hear if any one has been using my steps and how it is working for them.