In shopping in my local market this week I reflected on the fact that I have to use cash for my purchases here, and I normally take only enough cash to pay for what I expect to buy. I will allow £2-£3 in that budget to buy something that I hadn't planned for but there is little room for impulse purchases and, since they don't take debit or credit cards, I am limited to spending only what I have.
Sometimes that is disappointing because, of course, I often see something that I would like, but cannot have. If I could pay by card I may very well have justified it to myself and bought it.
However, once I am home with my purchases I generally forget all about that item, after all, I got all that I went for.
There is research that shows that spending real money often results in spending less. People are reluctant to break into £20 notes so think harder before they do so. I, personally, hate spending £2 coins and keep them in my purse as long as possible.
Supermarkets of course know most of us use cards to buy, and therefore tempt us with extra purchases.
A student I know, recently realised financial gloom lay ahead as he was overspending every week. The solution? He gave himself a budget and switched to a cash only lifestyle. If he doesn't have the money in his pocket, he can't spend it. And the result is he is now on target to have some money left in his bank account at the end of the year.
The message - if you want to cut your spending use cash. Work out how much you can spend on food and other items each week and take out that amount from the bank.
We would love to hear from anyone who has successfully changed to a 'cash only' lifestyle.
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