I have recently tried to start using cash instead of the debit card. At first it seemed like a huge inconvenience having to go to the ATM to take out cash when I could use the debit card pretty much anywhere now. If I bought a coffee, I just passed my card, if I bought gas I just passed my card.
Money management has been a huge issue for me in the past. Thankfully it has been years since I had a bounced check, but it was a very stressful situation every time I did not know how much money I had in the bank. The internet helped that a lot because I can check my balance even via phone. I have also learned to do things a lot differently than I used to.
Taking cash out has helped tons. It really hurts to see a 10 dollar bill disappear by just a single visit to the coffee house. Then I start to remember that the banks have a huge marketing machine that has made it uncool to pay with cash.
I remember a conversation I had with someone I know makes a lot of money and owns their own company with revenue in the millions. He told me a story about someone that had wanted to pay their employees just once using cash. He would give them the before take home amount, and then make them go through a series of booths where they would have to pay all of the deductions from their paycheck. I think may people, myself included, rarely check out their pay stub specially if it does not change amounts. We learn to live on take home and don’t realize what percentage of our check actually goes to all the deductions.
The first time I saw a commercial about using the check card as a credit card I thought, very cool, no more checks or cash. Now that I had time to think about it, I think it just really disconnects you from your hard earned dollars for the sake of convenience. It makes it almost painful to have to create a budget because you think having the information online is enough.
A little known fact about check cards is that they are not protected like credit cards are. If they are stolen and your bank account is wiped clean, it can take months to get that money back if you are lucky. I am not advocating the use of credit cards because I think debt is the devil, but I am advocating you try to use cash. Don’t buy into the marketing that banks have so cleverly disguised as a well choreographed dance that you will interrupt once you pull out cash.