I Went on a Cash Diet- and it Worked!

Posted by Mrs Money on January 18th, 2010

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I went on a cash diet a few weeks ago. Last month I talked about how I was spending too much on the small things. If I had cash it was gone.  I was trying to focus on saving money through the big things and ignoring the fact my money was trickling out of my bank account $10 or $20 at a time.  I’m glad I came to that realization because that’s when I decided I was going to quit cash cold turkey for awhile.

Since giving up cash I’ve noticed that I’ve been doing so much better in paying attention to how much money I’m spending.  I think before I swipe my card.  I’m not buying things on impulse any more.

I am still old school and keep a check book register.  I hate having to write down a million transactions and then wait for them to clear, so when I don’t spend as much, I don’t have to record as much!  Less work for me.  Another bonus is that when I only use my card, I can track where the money went so much easier.  When cash is gone, it’s gone, and there’s no record of it.  I don’t know if it’s just Generation Y or not, but it seems like a lot of people think that if they don’t see the transaction on online banking, mobile banking, or their bank statement it’s like it never existed.  I’m totally guilty of that.

Going without cash has really helped curb my spending.  I’m really excited about the positive changes, and hope I can keep it up!

Do you save more money when you go cash only or debit card only?

image from zwitwicky

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18 Responses to “I Went on a Cash Diet- and it Worked!”


  1. H Lee D says:

    My husband and I are about 6 weeks into the opposite — cash only (except for bills). We agreed on a weekly spending amount, we take it out of the bank on Sunday and it lasts us until the following Sunday. In December, the first month we did this, we saved over $800! This month included a car insurance payment, a not-local wedding, a professional conference for both of us, and some car maintenance, so we’re looking to break even, but it’s been working really well for us.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    WOW!! That is crazy! $800? Great job! I am proud of you!

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  2. H Lee D says:

    Sorry – forgot to include that we never use our debit card ever. Too risky. When we weren’t on cash, we used credit and paid in full.

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  3. Little House says:

    I find it easier to swipe my card. I rarely have cash on hand, so that means I pay for everything with my debit card. I’ve gotten good about recording my transactions into my Quickbooks program, but sometimes I miss my husbands if I don’t check the bank accounts online. I think I need to try a cash-only diet and see if I save money this way. Those small charges add up!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    I think everyone has a system that works better for them. I was getting into trouble with the small things too! And I know what you mean about hubbies not giving receipts… it drives me crazy when mine doesn’t give me his! lol

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  4. Robert says:

    Is that a 1000 bill?

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Robert- I think so. It is foreign currency to us Americans. That’s not me, though. ;)

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  5. Robert says:

    How about you burn your debit card and don’t carry ANYTHING. If you ever need to buy anything, you’ll have to go to a branch and get it out. Talk about the ultimate money diet…

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    LOL I love this idea! The only bad part? I work at the bank so I could hit up my account every day! ;)

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  6. Evan says:

    I am with ou Mrs. Money. When I have cash on me IT IS GONE! No records…nothing. I often get made of fun of me by my friends when I use my card for coffee, pizza, etc.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Evan- I know, my hubby’s put some crazy amounts like less than a dollar on his card. It’s whatever works, right? :)

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  7. Keli says:

    “but it seems like a lot of people think that if they don’t see the transaction on online banking, mobile banking, or their bank statement it’s like it never existed”
    I am so guilty of this also. But I don’t seem to care that I am swiping my card all the time either. :/ I need to find a medium!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Keli- Do you keep a check register? It totally helps me. If I have to write it down, I know I’m responsible for it!

    [Reply]

  8. Roger says:

    It’s great that you’ve been able to understand where you have money leaks, and changed your behavior accordingly. Being able to learn from your past mistakes is an excellent sign of personal growth. Good job!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Roger- Thanks so much for your kind comments! Frugality is always a journey, isn’t it? :)

    [Reply]

  9. This is sooo true. I am guilty of this myself. It can really depend on where you live. Here in SF a lot of places are cash only. So you have to have cash on you or hit up an atm. You’ll see that atm transaction but it doesnt have a purchase associated with it.

    This is a tough situation for certain people.

    [Reply]


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