During the Easter weekend, I used cash for the majority of my spending and I realized how much more conscious of my spending I was as a result. I've gotten out of the habit of using cash regularly, and use my debit card for most of my purchases. I'd like to continue to curb my debit card usage for the rest of the month. I noticed a few things while operating on cash (mostly) instead of my debit card exclusively:
- Took away my shopping mojo. The weather was so beautiful over the weekend that I did go into several stores including my usual 'budget kryptonite,' H&M and managed to walk out of the store without purchasing anything. In the past, I might have made a small purchase with the idea that I can return or exchange the item if I change my mind about it later, but nothing I saw passed the 'Love' test. The 'Love' test just means, I knew I wouldn't feel a sense of regret for leaving anything in the store, so I did just that.
- Spent less. I find it so much easier to just hand over my debit card and not think too closely about the money being spent until after the fact when I reconcile how much I've spent, but physically handling cash makes me watch my spending more closely because once it's gone, it takes an extra step to withdraw more money at a bank or store that gives cash back.
- Decided on cheaper options when I did spend. When going out to lunch on Saturday, I opted for a kids meal at Qdoba, that was quite filling instead of an adult-sized meal because I didn't want to use all of my cash.
I don't plan on spending much money this week, so I withdrew money today that should last for the rest of the week. I'll continue to do this on a weekly basis. I will pack my lunch daily and will think twice before making any non-essential purchases. The only exception to this rule will be loading money on my Smart Trip card for my daily Metro rides and a trip out of town that will take place at the end of the month (more on that later).