Living on cash
For most of us, credit cards are an easy way to pay for life's necessities and the occasional treat. But with credit card debt in the UK topping £53 billion many of us are keen to rein in that spending.
One of our viewer's panel, the X-Ray 100, agreed to give it a try.
Helen Williams from Pengam near Blackwood is a self confessed shopaholic who loves trawling the high street for clothes and shoes and she just can't resist a bargain.
But you won't find her queuing up at the cash machine. Like so many of us these days, Helen pays for everything with plastic. "I just find it so easy", she told X-Ray.
"I don't have to think about it, if I see something and I want it I can buy it whether I've got the money there or not."
Even when the shops are closed Helen is still buying online and from catalogues. But with credit and store card debts of over £1000 the interest is mounting up too. Her family think she needs to be taught a lesson.
"She buys exactly what she wants and when she's wearing something that's obviously new, it's been in the back of the cupboard for a while," said husband Alan.
And daughter Jessica added, "She's spending all the time and I wouldn't mind so much if she spent a little more on me!"
So X-Ray challenged Helen to ditch the plastic and live on cash for a whole month. She was nervous to say the least, but before we hid her credit and store cards we asked psychologist Dr Justin Savage to give her some advice to get her through the next few weeks.
Helen admitted that spending on her cards makes her feel happy and gives her a buzz.
"That's quite common", explained Dr Savage, "but when you buy on credit you're divorcing the pain of paying for something in favour of the pleasure of getting it there and then.
This is related to something psychologists call temporal discounting in which you're putting off the pain to a later date."
And Dr Savage's tips for Helen included: "Plan in advance what you want to buy, make a list before you go out, and if you do see something you want, resist the temptation to impulse buy.
"Make a note of what you've seen and if you have to return later on to buy it you might find you don't actually want it any more, or it might have gone, but in that respect it's actually saving you some money."
Helen's not the only one who thinks plastic is fantastic. Ten million adults in the UK use credit cards for daily purchases like grocery shopping.
But unless you pay off the bill in full each month you'll also pay an average of 17.9% in interest every year and that can really add up.
We also gave Helen a video camera to record a video diary of life without credit cards. Helen was allowed to use her cash card to make one trip to the cash machine every week.
She took out £100 for food shopping, £20 for petrol and £30 for going out, buying clothes and other luxuries - but once the cash was gone, that's it.
It wasn't long before she was slipping into old habits, as she revealed in her video diary at the end of day one.
"I went to put some petrol in my car this morning on my way into work," she said. "But instead of getting cash out I automatically got out my card. I remembered just in time, but I need to remember that my cards are banned for the next few weeks and I must use cash.
"So I've given myself some homework - lines! I'm going to write "I must use cash" on both sides of a piece of paper and hopefully I'll remember after that."
To see if Helen's homework paid off, Rhodri caught up with her as she did the family's weekly supermarket shop.
Helen admits that she doesn't usually think of what she puts in the trolley and often wanders into the clothes or DVD section, tempted by impulse buys.
This time, she was armed with a calculator and strict shopping list.
"I think I'm going to save money because I'm more conscious of what I'm putting in the basket as I've got a budget to stick to."
And when she paid her shopping bill with cash she spent less money than usual. Helen said she found the experience strange.
"Handing over the cash made it real. When I use my card it doesn't seem real, it's not as if I'm spending my own money, until the end of the month."
At the end of week one, her video diary revealed that Helen was pining for those cards! "I haven't been tempted to cheat up till now although I have done a bit of internet browsing", she confessed.
"And I have to say my bedtime reading has changed from Mills and Boon to Freeman's catalogue! But other than that everything is OK and I just hope I can keep up the good work!"
With three weeks to go, how will Helen cope? Can she stick to her budget on a shopping spree with her daughter and on a night out with friends?
We'll be watching her every move and we'll catch up with her next week to see if she's been converted to living on cash!