Marianne Bradley ponders her options
Last cardless week
Could you live without your plastic? No handing over a handy debit card in the supermarket or petrol station. Just cash... or nothing. Marianne Bradley, from County Durham, faces her final week without cards (almost).
I use my chip and pin card all the time and never pay that much attention to how much I am spending. I keep an eye on what's going out of my account but only once I've spent it!
I thought that only using cash would be easy - surely just a matter of being organised. I didn't think I would have to change anything, but it was harder than I thought. Here is my diary from week four. It's been a quiet week on the cash front - due to the excesses of Rome!
Monday - Costly fuel
I zipped into work this morning but totally forgot to get any money - in spite of my best efforts to remember. It meant that I had to get cash out at the petrol station to pay for my fuel but I had to pay £1.75 for the pleasure of using cash. I think that all cash machines should be free!!!
Tuesday - Credit check
My phone is up for renewal so I had a trip into Durham today to see what I could get as an upgrade. I wasn't intending to use my card as I didn't want to pay any more for a new phone.
That was fine - however, in order to allow the staff to run a credit check on me, I had to hand over my card and put in my pin number! Apparently this is unavoidable as it is the way they check if you can get a contract. I didn't like that at all.
No supermarket sweep today
Wednesday - Shopping
I have the shopping with cash thing sewn up now - whenever I go to the supermarket I get cash out before I go in.
It's quite good really because I have become much more conscious of how much I spend and have really been trying to buy cheaper things because I am scared that I will not have enough cash when I get to the check out.
Friday - All the fun of the farm
Bea and I went for a lovely day out in Leeds today to see my friends from uni. I didn't use my card thanks to the generosity of my buddies who bought me lunch - yummy fish and chips - and paid for Bea and me to get into the farm. Lovely!
Sunday - Happy Birthday Fergus
The final day of my no cards challenge and I didn't spend a thing. We had a lovely family day - a long walk with the dogs in the morning and Bea's friend Fergus' first birthday.
Some things cost nothing
What I have learnt overall:
1. You don't need cards. In fact, as long as you get your cash out in advance, you can easily avoid using them. In some places it is a bonus to have cash, especially abroad where lots of places don't take cards.
2. There are other ways of not using your card when you are out and about. Pre-booking stuff on the Internet means you don't have to carry huge amounts of cash around.
3. It makes it easier to keep track of your money. Cash withdrawals appear on your bank statement much sooner than if you use a debit card so you don't get caught out when you forget how much you have spent and it hasn't appeared on your statement yet.
Although I enjoyed the experience I have to say that I won't be sticking to just cash. It is always handy to have a bit of plastic on stand-by. However I WILL continue to get cash out at the supermarket, it's easy and has really helped cut my bills.
last updated: 17/09/2008 at 14:27