A couple of months ago I switched to a cash only lifestyle. It hasn’t been easy, and I haven’t been perfect. This is how I’ve been making it work.
Tip 1: Plan for expenses well in advance. There are times when I just couldn’t escape charging something to a credit card. Today I had to pre-order a specialty pie for a dinner I’m going to tomorrow. Because it’s a special order over the phone, the bakery needed me to pre-pay. As I gave them my credit card number over the phone I was whinging. It could have been avoided if I just planned in advance and had gone in person to pay in cash. I’ve had a couple of other slip ups along the way and pretty much all of them were do to bad planning.
Tip 2: Link Paypal to your bank account. I took advantage of some online Boxing Day sales. Online shopping = credit card spending… wrong! A lot of websites give the option to pay by credit cards or by paypal. Paypal gives you the option to use a credit card or to withdraw funds directly from your bank account. It’s not exactly using cash, but it’s a better option than relying on a credit card.
Tip 3: Use pro-pay. I have a home-based business and my commission is paid to a Master Card/debit card on a weekly basis. I use this card to pay for websites that do not let me pay through Paypal. There aren’t any additional costs to me, and although it says Master Card, I can’t charge anything to it. It’s a bit like a pre-paid card, except there aren’t any service charges.
Tip 4: Wait 24 hours. I have found that a lot of expenses don’t seem that necessary after a while. Or sometimes I have found a new way to work it into the budget
Tip 5: set up recurring bill payments. All of my bill payments have been set up to happen automatically. Once a week I take out $100 for my grocery money. I have a $30 slush fund that is used for gas/entertainment or unexpected things. This is probably the only thing that I still use my debit card for, but it’s only once a month or so. Because every thing is done automatically, I know that as long as I have stuck to my cash budget, I don’t need to check my bank account balance or worry about when bills are going to be withdrawn. It’s stress-free and simple.