Remember when you were a kid spending your allowance at the candy store? There’s just something about having a pocket full of cash, isn’t there? It just wasn’t right if you left the store with any money. ALL of it had to be spent – after all, you worked hard for that money, why not treat yourself to the max!

However, with cash, there is no automated record of what it was spent on and thus less accountability. That’s why I use a debit card whenever I can. Using a debit card allows the following conveniences:

  • No need to carry cash
  • You use exactly what’s needed, so no leftover cash that feels like it needs to be spent!
  • Can’t use it at many impulse-buy places like hot dog vendors, so it automatically reduces your impulse buys
  • All purchases are tracked automatically by your bank

In Secret #1, we learned how tracking your spending is key to know where its all going – it keeps you accountable. Using a debit card is a way to automate that, but, make sure you remember that plastic is still money. It’s easy to get into the habit of pulling out your card for all purchases and forget that its real money coming out of your account each time.

Most banks allow you to download your transaction history, which you can import into services like CalendarBudget and make tracking your money easy.

In the next email, I’ll discuss the “B” word – using a budget!