It's January and hats off to anyone who isn't running on fumes finance-wise RN. After endless gifts, nights out, trips home, and of course all that booze — things are a wee bit tight for most people. And there is no flipping shame in that, we have literally all been there babes. Being broke is not only a right of passage, but also pretty flipping common in this day and age. And come on hun, you know it is easy as hell to spend money, yet super difficult to keep it. But, does using cash instead of card help you spend less?
I mean let's think about it. Do you have contactless on your card? The contactless feature means you can accidentally get a little "tap-happy", and end up accidentally buying things without even thinking. And that is besides chip and pin which isn't much better. And OMG don't even with internet shopping. Where my favourite shops have my card details completely ready to go and all I need to do is put a password in, click a button and maybe put in a few digits in.
But then again, if you've got cash, you will just go on ahead and spend it— right?
I spoke to author and money expert Sue Hayward, who has some very good advice on the matter. Well guys, it looks like a big fat yes on this one. Leaving the plastic at home and instead taking out a pre budgeted amount is a very shrewd and sensible decision. She explains,
"If you’re on a budget absolutely go for cash because when you have cash in your hand you think about it, making it easier to monitor. And let’s be honest when people get a receipt—do they actually keep track of it?"
Hayward also had some info on contactless card payments that might surprise you. "If you use contactless it can take about four days to show up on your bank statement, so it is easy to lose track of what you have spent. Also, contactless can encourage impulse buys, on spends of £5 or less—on coffees/magazines etc, that really add up," she tells me. "If you have the cold hard cash you are more likely to think about how much you are actually spending."
How much more sage can you get than that? Using card might be more convenient but the fact is that in a way, convenience is inconvenient, financially.
But what if you are a little paranoid about carrying cash around in terms of security and/or you lose stuff a lot. Well luckily for you excellent and safe travel wallets have already been covered in Bustle, so have a peek on here.
If budgeting is a struggle for you, you might need to take a cold hard look at yourself in that mirror you bought even though you already have two. Are you emotional spending? Seeking instant gratification from new things is real and you aren't alone if this is you.
To be honest though, forcing yourself to have a cash budget every day just makes sense and you know it. It's hard to admit but not splashing out your hard earned dough is really difficult, especially when the thought of saving up for the future seems a million miles away. Thing is though, it's not. The future is now, and I'll bet there are things you're not doing RN that you could be if you had put a bit aside and not spunked a wedge on a night out when you really hadn't meant to.
Why not try a week plastic free, and who knows — maybe you'll ditch cards forever.
Check out Sue Hayward's website for the latest on money and consumer issues.