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Save Money – Spend Cash

Save Money – Spend Cash.

Why? If you have to physically count out the money, and check your change, you become far more aware of what you are spending, and indeed voluntarily choose not to spend so much.

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Here’s a quick example. I was out the other day with my husband. We had arranged a quick meet up with a friend at lunch time. My husband bought 2 drinks. I asked him how much they cost. He couldn’t remember because he had ‘just tapped his card’. Later that evening we were out with a different set of friends. My husband bought the same 2 drinks.  He came back and said – do you know how much those two drinks cost? Here is the change I got from a £10 note. 30p! As it happens, the lunch time drinks were just under £6. However, until my husband used cash, he wasn’t aware of exactly he was spending.

Now, this isn’t news. I did a post on it last October – Take the spending challenge, where I suggested you take note of every single thing you spend in a month.

So why does spending cash save you money?

Top 5 Benefits

  • You buy according to the amount of money you have available in your hand. If you only have £10, you will be very careful what you will pick up in the supermarket.
  • You are aware what you spend. While I think contactless cards are fantastic, they are just too easy to use. Tap the machine and away you go. You don’t even really listen to the sales assistant telling you how much it is.
  • It stops casual buying online. How easy is it to just put something in the ‘shopping trolley’ on impulse – it looks good, it’s not very expensive, I’ll just get it!
  • You think twice about how much money you will withdraw from the cash machine. e.g. Do I really need £300? I’ll just take out £150 and see how I get on.
  • You use every bit of change. Those pennies all add up. We keep a change jar at home, and I set aside £5 of cash in bags, so I know how much change I have with me.

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Other simple money saving strategies

  • Carry your groceries. Take a hand basket rather than a trolley. If you know you are going to have to carry all the stuff round the shop, you are far less likely to put extra things you don’t need in there. You might buy the 2 tomatoes you need, not the 6 that come in a packet.
  • Take the bus to the shop, not the car, or even better walk. As above – if you have to put your purchases in a bag and physically carry them home, you’ll think twice, unless you want the weight lifting practice!
  • Try putting off going to the shops at all. My husband and I often put off our grocery shop for several days. Even if we have no milk – we don’t take milk in our tea, but we do in coffee, so we drink tea rather than coffee for a day or two. We can easily eat out of the freezer and the cupboards for a couple of days. We make it a bit of a challenge.
  • Try to have a couple of no-meat days each week. Eggs are good, cheap, sources of protein.
  • Measure your portions. I have a cookery book from the 1970’s. 4oz (113g) meat (no bone), or 6 oz (170g) is the recommended serving size.
  • Don’t buy any snack stuff. No crisps, peanuts, biscuits etc. They are so easy to consume, and very expensive given they don’t usually give you any nourishment. Your waist line will love you.
  • No eating between meals, except maybe a piece of fruit.
  • Cut out the juice, fizzy drinks, beer, wine etc. Drink tap water instead.

What do you think?

None of the above suggestions are difficult, but they do require a bit of willpower. My willpower is pretty weak, but I have found that if we don’t buy it, we can’t eat it! At 8pm when the munchies hit, I would never consider going to the shop to buy a bag of nuts, but if they are in the cupboard, it is so easy to open them.

Simple but effective. It costs you nothing, causes you very little effort, and should save you money. Try it for a few weeks.

All comments welcome.

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  1. 1) Create a Meal planner for the month and shop to that. Refresh it as the seasons pass. Less waste more variety.
    2) Stop buying brands. Buy the cheapest alternative and trade up the price curve till you are happy with what you are easting.
    3) Shop at Aldi\Lidl
    4) Have a small white board in the kitchen to capture what you need. Quick snap on the phone and buy to that rather than trying to remember when you are in the shop

    1. Hi Robert

      I totally agree. Great ideas. We don’t have the whiteboard, but we do have a small pad. everyone knows to ‘put it on the list’. If it is not on the list, it doesn’t get bought!
      They’ve opened a new Aldi across the road from the Morrison’s I normally go to, so I have started going into both.

  2. Good article! I read somewhere that we spend 18% more if our form of payment is a credit card versus cash.

    1. Hi PMM

      I didn’t know that statistic, but I am not surprised by it. If you just swipe a card, you don’t think about it at all. It is just too easy.

  3. My munchies hit at 7! It’s serious problem for my waistline lol 🙂
    I have a problem with cash. I keep running out so I use my credit card. The one positive is that I then get loyalty points which I redeem as vouchers for my favourite stores. So there’s a silver lining!

    1. Hi

      I only use my credit card rarely… The loyalty points we get in the UK are not worth it, and certainly don’t encourage us to spend, just to get more points!

      All I can say is – pay them off each month if at all possible!

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