Have you heard the expression, “cash is king”? Well of course you have. I happen to disagree with this statement however. You are actually king of your cash. Money is not and should not ever be your boss. Instead, you are and should always be the boss of your money. You decide how, when, where and what to spend your money on. Money doesn’t make your decisions. Yes, lack of enough money can lead you to make choices like staying at a job because you need money, but it still isn’t the king. Another thing, you don’t actually have to stay at that job because you can always find another job. Therefore, you are king of yourself and you need to realize it.
According to the Federal Reserve website there was approximately $1.70 trillion in circulation in the United States in January of 2019. That’s a lot of cash out there. Cash is good to use because it is simple but make no mistake, it is not actually King. You have $10.00 and then you get change back from your purchase. It isn’t complicated and anyone can do it. You don’t have to keep up with your transaction because once the money is gone then it is gone. This is why it is so good for budgeting and can help you actually save money instead of mindlessly spending. It forces you to be mindful.
By now most people have heard of the envelope system. I have used it myself but I didn’t find it helpful for me. I would rather choose an amount like $60 cash and take it to the grocery store. This way I can’t spend more and if I spend less then I have a surplus. I know that it would be embarrassing to not have enough money once I am at the register so I am conscious of what I decide to buy to make sure I don’t embarrass myself. There are variations of this system and one of them may work for you. You need to try it and see if you like it or not. I didn’t like keeping cash in an envelope in my purse and I didn’t like writing down each and every transaction. I also don’t like keeping a bunch of envelopes on me with different places written on them like groceries, car, etc. This system was actually discouraging to me because I felt it was more of a hassle then it was worth.
If you are uncomfortable with carrying cash I can understand. You should go back to the days of writing checks. You can use the carbon copy kind if you don’t want to record your transactions while in line at the store. You can save time in line by filling in the check with everything except the amount before you leave for the store. Don’t want to fill it in because you are worried about losing it or something, then fill it in after you park the car before you go into the store. It only takes a minute to write a check. Checks also can cost money but it doesn’t have to be too expensive if you keep it basic. Some banks will give you basic checks for no fee. Also, if writing checks keeps you from spending too much then it is an investment and a money management tool. That makes it worth every penny. I have thought about going back to writing checks but it is kind of a hassle. That’s why I just set my limit and only take that amount of cash with me to the store. To me, it is simpler and easier. Plus, I don’t want to balance my checkbook. I like knowing that I will not bounce a check.
You can though, put a limit on yourself before you go to the store if you can abide by it. Tell yourself you will not spend more than $60 at the store and stick to it. The problem lies when you say to yourself, I will not spend more than $60 and then you allow yourself to go beyond the $60 and then you are over budget. Going over budget is not desirable in any situation. You set your budget, aka limit, for a reason and if you lack the discipline needed to stick to it than you will overspend. You need to keep your money in your pocket. You need to keep the promises that you make to yourself. Swiping the ATM card makes things too easy to just go over a couple of dollars because it will all just be okay. It’s not okay though. That couple of dollars will slowly siphon off your money and you will still be stuck trying to figure out why you don’t have any money. You will feel like you failed because you didn’t have enough thought, strength, or just good old-fashioned discipline to stay within your limit. Don’t let that little plastic card be your king either.
Using cash instead of a card has a built-in limitation system. You can’t buy anything with your pocket lint. You can use cash in your pocket to buy what you really need and let it help you avoid overspending. It is a tool for you to get the items you need for life. To be clear, you don’t need the latest new tech gadget. You may need a gadget but you don’t need the newest one. Think about how you spend your money and why you are spending it. Maybe cash will help you keep your budget on track. Even if you don’t budget you can still use cash to help keep you from overspending. It is a little “trick” to help you. Remember that you are your own king and your money is your tool, not the other ways around!