Competitor: This article comes from Elle at CoupleMoney.com. See the original post Using Cash for Lunch is Paying Off.
Entry Category: Best Ways to Earn and Save Money
Besides trying to cut gasoline expenses this month, I’ve also decided to switch over to cash only with eating out for lunch and so forth. I usually just pull out my check card when I grab a bite. However I was curious to see if I would spend less if I used cash.
At the end of each week any cash left over is placed in a safe spot for the end of the month tally. Whatever is left over will be used to pay down the student loan.
ATM Runs for Cash
So I decided to take out my food money once a week from a local branch ATM. The first thing I noticed when I went was that I was conservative when choosing how much to take out. Looking over fast food expenses for the last 4 months, I noticed I spent and average of $130/month or about $30/week. Since Wells Fargo, like many other ATMS, offer cash withdrawals in $20 increments and I didn’t want to take more than my average, I took out $20.
Mentality of Eating On $20
It sounds kind of ridiculous, but having the cash in my wallet be my only source of money for eating out changed my perspective. I went into college student mode and became more aware of the deals in my area.
An unintentional effect of using cash is that I also have found ways to get a bit more of it by carpooling and being the driver. I’ve taken a few people on errands (both going to the same places so why not?) and I’ve received a bit of gas money (~$15). It’s not a ton of money, but it’s still just a bit extra.
Bought Clothes with the Leftover Money
What’s fun about using cash only is that the $20 is going further than I thought. Saturday comes and we have my brother and sister in law in town for a brief visit. We took a tour around the neighborhood and in the shopping area was the local consignment shop for babies and kids. Looking at my wallet, I decided to go inside and see what I could get. I managed to pick up a summer dress, a play outfit, a bottom to go with our baby girl’s Wonder Woman onesie, and a fall jacket. I still had a bit of cash left over. So I managed to spend less on eating out, but I also picked up some clothes for our daughter.
Thoughts on Using Cash
Have you noticed something similar with cash only spending? Do you spend more or less when you only use what’s in your wallet?