No I'm not talking about the petroleum industry, or anything about how plastics interfere with good health, at least, not the physical kind of health.
No, what I'm talking about is credit cards (and debit cards, too). And just to be honest, this extends to checks as well. Let me get to the point.
Let's say you were out shopping, and you saw a brand new, 55 inch Sony Bravia. Now these are fantastic TVs, but they also run about $1,500 right now. Now imagine that you have $1,500 cash money right in your hand, all in hundred dollar bills. That's 15 hundred dollar bills in one hand, while you have a credit (or debit) card in the other hand.
Which one is easier for you to part with? Having to hand over the stack of hundreds, or the simple swipe of the card at the register?
If you're anything like me, having to part with cold-hard cash is much more difficult. You see it's all a perception. When you have cash bills in your hand, the money becomes “real” to you. You can see it, smell it and touch it. But with a card, it's sort of invisible, and therefore it's much easier to part with.
So what's the point?
The point is, when it comes to budgeting, saving money, and making the most out of your income, if you can use more cash, you'll probably find yourself saving more money. I know it really isn't feasible for things like the rent or mortgage payment and utilities, but it certainly is for non-essential things like going out to eat, the movies, and generally spending money on entertainment.
So I have an idea for you. Take $100 cash out of your bank, and promise yourself that you will not spend any more money on entertainment until your next paycheck. Or, perhaps only take $50. The point is, take a set amount out, then don't take out anymore until the next time you get paid.
If you can successfully do this a couple of times, you'll find that you have trained yourself to be a saver, rather than a spender.
I challenge you to try it...