In our Money Mic series, we hand over the podium to people with controversial views about money. These are their views, not ours, but we welcome your responses.
Today, one woman shares why she opted for an all-cash diet to combat her habitual overspending—and how her plan is faring so far.
After the first of the year, I decided I wanted to make a financial change in my life. Not only did I think that as a woman in my midthirties it was time, but as a woman who will be getting married in May, I thought I owed it to both myself and my future husband to get things in order.
I’ve written about my struggles with being a responsible consumer before. And although I like to believe I’ve come far since the wild spending days of my early twenties, I know that, for me, deciphering the difference between need and want will always be difficult. I realize that, for some, this may seem ridiculous, and I concede that it is, it REALLY is, but it’s still a fact. As a result, I only have my Bloomingdale’s card and one credit card as a means to both rebuild my credit and for emergency purposes.
Since I didn’t owe anyone any money, and I wasn’t racking up massive debit every time I left the house, I felt I had things relatively in order. I was wrong. It was a year-end look back at the past several months that showed me just how much of a “big” spender I really am.
A word about my finances: As a full-time freelance writer, I’m not exactly rolling in the dough, but I do make enough to pay what needs to be paid, then have some fun. I have a bit of savings, some inheritance in there too, and I know that if I stopped working I’d be fine for a bit, but not for several years or anything. Not having an official retirement fund, especially since I’m in my thirties, does make me nervous when I think of the big picture, but the problem with me is I rarely look at the big picture, so nothing has moved me to do something about it just yet.
RELATED: Confessions of a Trust Fund Baby
As a New Yorker I spend way too much money on, well, everything. I’m not saying that being a New Yorker is an excuse, but with a new restaurant opening practically every day and a world of boutiques, literally, at your doorstep, the opportunity to spend money—and spend a lot of it—is everywhere.
It was after several months of blowing between $800 and $1,200 on food alone, that I realized it was time for a change. Could I afford it? Not exactly. I’d spend and spend with my debit card, move on to my credit card, then at the end of the month make amends thanks to my inheritance. It was such a waste. Then the new month started and it was time to do it again.
Horrible, horrible idea. My inheritance was not meant to allow me to go out to dinner every night of the week; it’s meant for something more—for lack of a better word—responsible. Although it was not a resolution, per se, I resolved to give not just plastic the boot but my debit card too. I was going strictly cash-only into 2014, and I knew I’d be better for it.