Resist credit card temptation with cash budgeting

Posted on: 19/08/2011

Budgeting - particularly in the current economic climate - has become a vital part of our day-to-day lives. Whether you simply cannot afford to over-spend or you just want to keep better track of your finances, it's likely that you have tried, at least once in the last few months, to follow a stricter monetary plan.

I have recently been following the escapades of tweeter @PennyGolightly who has been documenting, via the Twittersphere, her attempt to live on a weekly budget of just £10. While many of you may recoil in horror at such a seemingly small expenditure, Miss Golightly insists that the task is a lot easier than it seems, telling me that she has even spent some weeks with as little as £5. Impressive - even more so when you realise that she doesn't spend her cash-strapped weeks as a hermit, doing nothing but watching the television, but rather takes the opportunity to seek out all the free activities her local towns have to offer.

One of the hardest challenges to this budgeting bliss is the overwhelming temptation of credit cards and dreaded online shopping. Keeping track of good old reliable cash is - let's face it - pretty simple. With the exception of a few coins lost in your sofa cushions, living on a cash budget makes life that much easier. Allow yourself a tenner a week and it's easy to know what your spending and when. Bring credit and debit cards into the mix and life becomes a lot more complicated.

For many, spending on cards doesn't feel like spending at all, particularly on the internet. You enter your details which, for some spenders, may come as easily as recalling your birthday and it's done. You don't hand anything over and other than a shiny new parcel arriving at your doorstep, there's no physical evidence of the spend whatsoever. Until your latest bank statement arrives with very different numbers to those you have been expecting.

So, we at Cash is Cool dare you, lock away your cards, give them over to a loved one, and try - at least for a week - to live your life on a cash-only budget. You'll be amazed at how much easier it is to resist the temptation to spend.

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