For years, my husband and I just spent what we wanted. If we knew there was money in our account, then we were fine. All we had to do is take out that little evil card we had tucked away in our wallet.....our debit card. The one tiny piece of the puzzle that stands between you and your checking account.
My husband always said he never had a debit card until after he met me. He always kept cash in his wallet for the things he might need. I've heard some people still in the year 2012 refuse to have one, for it takes away from the human interaction, and they are correct. It also burns a hole in your pocket if you use it for every.single.little.thing that you may need or think you need. It's easy to do, but if you take the time and break down your monthly bank statements to see what your debit card is REALLY costing you, it's an easy thing to change.
I know we all live crazy busy schedules and the thought of doing one more tedious task every month, might make you cringe. It is a task though that I support 150% because it allowed me to see that our $2 coffee runs really add up! So do your measly $5 purchases, $10, $20, etc. It all adds up, to a lot in a month. Especially if you are taking that card out multiple times a day. So here is what I did...I tracked every single purchase for three months in a row.
Being that we are a technology based world these days, online banking made it easy for me. To be able to see every transaction and place it into categories, let me see where we were way over spending. I broke it down into these categories:
You don't realize how much you spend when you wing it! My mouth dropped the first month when I saw we spent $1700 on extras! What?!?!?! I won't get into details about any of our purchases, but to see that number flash in front of my face, it was a jaw dropping moment. So I made sure it changed. It has been a slow steady decline over the past few months. I am proud to say that our extras are now about $100 a month.
Just by seeing all those numbers in front of me, I knew what needed to change and it will be the same for you. We all have different financial situations, but in the end we are all trying to live. The goal in life is to do what we can while we are here and enjoy it. Just by taking these little steps, you can save yourself a lot of money and be happier. We are.
We also put the debit card away. When we do our grocery shopping, we stop at the bank and draw out the amount we have allotted ourselves in our monthly finances. If for some reason we have any left over, than maybe we can treat ourselves to a coffee or save it for next time! It makes you stick with your budget if you only have X amount of dollars because you have not left yourself any other choice, right?
SO PUT THE DEBIT CARD DOWN! It's a life saving step, I tell you.
Until next time,