Why Cash?

This is not me, but this is how I felt.

One of my problems with the cash system is the cash.  I was told that this system would give me a greater sense of loss and help me keep up with my money.  But I have a fear and likelihood of actually losing it–as in, money falling out of my wallet, pocket, purse, or a variety of possible locations.  We allotted $180 for last week and $200 for this week, so last night I was adding up receipts and trying to get a feel for where we stand for the rest of beach week.  Of course, I keep a running mental tally, but I just wanted to make sure that all was well.  (Actually, I had a feeling that I’d just had a particularly awesome CVS run and I wanted to brag to J by showing him how much money was left.)  The problem was that all of a sudden, I couldn’t account for about $60.  So my brag became instantly deflated and I was struck with a horrible fear that in all the couponing and multiple transactions at CVS, maybe three $20 dollar bills just fell out on the counter. ACCKK!

Well, don’t worry.  I found it.  At the bottom of my purse.  But would just keeping it in the account and strictly adhering to the budget be just as good?  Doesn’t the card provide some safetly?  With the cash system is that I have a constant fear of losing money. I also don’t like carrying around a ton of cash.  (Because $200 cash is a TON in my world.) Since I am a slight klutz and often discombobulated at checkout, wouldn’t debit be better?

And in point of fact, having a huge wad of cash makes me feel like I have a ton of money that I can just burn through.  When J and I got married, we took all the cash out of our cards before the honeymoon and then we vowed to spend the whole cashbox without a care during the course of our honeymoon.  It was AWESOME! And the only time we’ve ever had money to just SPEND like that.   But maybe I mentally equate scads of cash with that same honeymoon abandon of concern.

Then of  course, there’s the simple problem of not having the card.  If I’m making a purchase and is a few dollars more than my cash, I’m screwed.  Or the other day, I didn’t have the card and I had to deposit a check, but realized that I couldn’t use the ATM. Grrr.  Shouldn’t my extremely stingy nature counteract any tendency to spend the money willy nilly. If you are a cash budget person, I need you to weigh in on this.  Why cash?

5 thoughts on “Why Cash?

  1. I have been on a cash budget for the past 9 years…for us, it was a commitment to ONLY spend money that we HAD. In the beginning, I too was afraid of losing my cash, but as I worked my way into a pretty structured way of organizing my money I became much more relaxed. I am pretty sure that the only way I could lose my money now is if my purse actually got stolen. So, I figure the odds are with me.
    The other reason a cash budget works for me is that I am very UNDISCIPLINED and can swipe a card without a thought AND not keep the receipt. With my cash, I have to think about how much money is going out each time I open my little money holder. If I want something for $20 out of misc and I only have a $40 left for 2 weeks, it makes me think twice!!!

  2. I go back and forth on this. I (like you) think that $200 cash is a TON to carry around. I try to put some aside and leave at home for Gas/Cleaners things that I’m not doing that day. I have had that same GASP of where is my cash???!! a few times as well. The cash works well for us most weeks but I do seem to “burn” through it quicker b/c it’s in my pocket and make smaller purchases that I wouldn’t have b/c if I had to use the debit I wouldn’t want to for $2-$5 purchase..

  3. Yeah, that would be scary to lose cash… I am a debit person + stick to a strict budget so I do the “envelope method” with software. Helps me not feel so claustrophobic. Check out a great on-line system http://www.mvelopes.com/ (links up w/ most major banks, too!)

    1. Noel, thanks for the suggestions about mvelopes.com. I’ll check that out.

  4. As another one of the many habits I wish I had – using cash is good for me because if I got to the check-out and the total came to more than the cash I had, well, guess what. I would have to put something back. Might teach me a quick lesson in calculation for next time. No such discipline would be created if I had the option to just swipe and smile sheepishly at the overage. I will add this cash system to my list of one million things to accomplish the first week after I am back as a SAHM.

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