WHY I PAY WITH CASH | CASH IS KING



I Tried Only Paying with Cash for a Month—Here's What Happened

By Kate Rockwood
Apr 18, 2019
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Cynthia Lynn

Margarita Valbuena, a 34-year-old mom and wife from Chicago, went cash-only because she and her husband, Andrew, often didn't know where they were in their budget, so they'd overdraw their bank account. "Or I'd tell him we only had in our checking, so we'd switch to the credit card but continue spending," she says. "It was a major source of frustration."

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How she did it:"I took 0 out of the ATM and told Andrew, 'This is going to last us for the next 15 days.' He thought I was nuts," says Margarita. All of the family's recurring bills were on auto-pay, but the cash had to cover day-to-day expenses. After two weeks, she took out a second 0.

What worked: Before, they'd plan dinner on their way to the store. "We'd grocery-shop on the fly, buy too much, and produce would rot in the fridge." But now that there was no margin for error, they were forced to communicate rather than wing it. The couple created a plan, including meals, and agreed to discuss purchases before spending any money that wasn't in their plan. Having a list helped them shave more than 0 off their grocery bill alone."

What didn't work: Some things are hard to pay for in cash. When Margarita got a 0 parking ticket, her options were to either pay the fine immediately with her debit card or drive half an hour to pay in person. She opted for the card. "I wanted to take care of it as easily and quickly as possible," she says. She had forgotten about tickets in the past—and wound up owing twice as much. "It's the only time I bent the rules."

Biggest eye-opener: "I don't have many luxuries, but paying with cash showed me how much those cost," says Margarita. Haircuts and clothes were harder to justify when she could see exactly how much cash the family had left to make it through the month. "We got down to , so I skipped a haircut. But instead of feeling awful, it felt glorious. Like, we can actually do this!"

Top tip: It pays to anticipate the little things. The family would often swing by a coffee shop when the kids got hungry. "They would split a muffin and I'd get a coffee. The couple of bucks felt like no big deal." Instead, Andrew stocked the car with nonperishable snacks so the family wouldn't have to pack them every time they left the house.






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Date: 02.12.2018, 05:27 / Views: 54162