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The One-Month Cash Challenge

3 Minute ReadTopic: budget

You like the idea of using cash.

But you really don’t want to deal with the headache of mailing checks again or paying inside the gas station. That was so 1999.

The good news is you don’t have to. We’re not suggesting you eliminate modern-day conveniences like automatic bill pay or swiping your debit card at the gas pump. We love technology as much as you do!

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We’re simply saying to use cash wherever you can in your budget. Try it out with the following categories:

  • Grocery Money. Stock your fridge and pantry, but keep the amount budgeted for restaurants separate.
  • Household Money. Think shampoo, makeup, razors, diapers, etc.
  • Restaurant Money. Include enough for tip and tax, too.
  • Entertainment Money. Enjoy movies, bowling, live concerts or kids’ museums.
  • Clothing Money. Hello, post-holiday sales.
  • Fun Money. This is your stash. Use it for any self-indulgence you want.

It’s easier than you think to switch from credit cards to cash. Simply make your budget for the month (before the month begins) and write down the total amount you’ll need in cash. Then divvy up your money into a cash envelope system and start using it!

Related: The Envelope System Explained

Challenge yourself to try it for a month. You don’t have to commit to forever. Just see how it feels to pay for something and not worry about tracking it in your account!

We like cash because it puts you back in control. No more wondering how much you spent at Olive Garden or Target. If there’s still money in the envelope, you’re good to go. If it’s getting low, you may want to scale back or return that scarf you bought on impulse.

Using cash also has some great side perks. Here are five of our favorites:

1. You spend less when you carry cash.

Swiping a card encourages you to spend more, according to a study on spending behavior. But when you use cash, you’ll naturally find yourself shopping around, looking for deals, and spending less.

2. Cash can get you a deal.

Flash a few hundreds around and see if you don’t save on that washer and dryer combo. It’s way fun, too.

3. Cash is convenient.

Collecting cash for a coworker? Buying a newspaper from a street vendor? Want a soda from the machine? Cash is still the easiest way to pay.

4. Purchases become a blessing, not a curse.

When you own your stuff, you’re free to enjoy it rather than worry about how you’ll pay for it.

5. Your identity is safe.

Sick of database breaches? So are we! Cash won’t reveal your name, address or Social Security number. That’s a beautiful thing.

When you cash-flow your expenses, you experience the fringe benefits of using cash you didn’t even know you were missing! We doubt you’ll ever want to go back. Besides, it just feels better to have some real money in your pocket for a change. Give it a try next month to see for yourself!

An envelope system is the smart and easy way to manage your money and stop overspending. Buy one now that suits your lifestyle and get a free downloadable guide to go with it!

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