Friday, September 11, 2009

Cash vs. Debit

I am a big fan of my debit card, by switching from credit to debit card back in 2007 I was able to slash my discretionary spending almost in half. Using debit also allows me to keep track of my spending (we use Quicken and download the bank statements into the program) and get a good picture of where the money is going. Also using debit requires me to pay attention to my finances, I only keep a certain amount of money in my checking account (my allowance) so I have to check my on-line balance once a day and I balance my checking account with a check registrar (just like Mom used to use) by writing down each transaction.

But all that tracking and monitoring takes time and effort and I am starting to wonder whether I ought to adjust my habits a bit. This week, a short work week due to Labor Day, I took $60 out of my checking account and I used that money for my day to day spending and I still have $10 left and I did not have any debit card transactions from Tuesday to today. The upside, I did not have to keep such close tabs on my account this week and I generally know where that money went (gas, eating out [lunch and coffee], and picking up a few items at the drug store). The down side, those purchases will not make it into Quicken.

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