Thursday, June 24, 2010

As painful as this sounds- switch to an all cash system. Use cash for anything that is not a monthly bill (mortgage, utilities, car payment, insurance). Get some envelopes and each envelope is a category- gas, groceries, gifts, car expenses (tags, oil changes, etc), entertainment, clothing, household projects, lawn care, etc.. After you pay your monthly bills, cash out what you have left and divide it (not necessarily evenly) into the envelopes. When the cash in that envelope is gone, you are done spending.

You spend much less money when you have to fork over the cash. It is way too easy to spend money you don't have, or money that could be used in a better way, when you use your debit card.

When Casey and I first switched to this cash system, it was really, really hard for the first month, but it got much more fluid quickly. I felt a tremendous sense of relief knowing exactly how much money we had and what I could spend. Your use of the credit card will go way, way down. Let's say I was buying a wedding gift (BCS, before cash system), I would panic wondering last minute if we really had enough in the checking account to cover the cost, so I would charge the gift.

Today Casey and I have no credit card debt. We haven't carried a balance in years. The key- don't spend what you don't have. You really have to refuse to spend money. Don't borrow from those other envelopes!!! You will not have the cash you need for those license plate tags when you need them!


  1. We started the all cash system about 7 years ago. Within two years, we were debt free and continue to live with zero debt. We were able to save enough money to finance our adoption , as well. We contiue to use the cash system because, well, it just seems to work for us. If we can't afford something, we don't buy it. It took a long time to get used to that way of living, but I am so happy we made that change!

  2. We too started an all cash system when we got married. It truly is the way to go. Although it could seem confining, it has actually brought me a lot of freedom. I love this idea. Thanks for posting about this very important issue. You da best!