This past month I’ve working on cutting back expenses in two areas – gasoline spending and eating out. For the gas money, I’ve been running a contest to see who can get the best gas mileage of their cars. It’s encouraged me to look at my driving more closely. It’s been going pretty well, but the real savings has been with my eating out habit. 

Eating Out with Cash

When I eat out for lunch, I usually use my check card to track my expenses. It helps me during my monthly net reviews to see how I spent my money. For May, though, I switched over to using cash only for my meals.

I’ve heard from different financial experts like Dave Ramsey that ‘cash is king’ and that people spend less with cash, but I wanted to see if it would work for me. In the past, whenever I grabbed cash for general spending, it was harder to track and it faster than when I used my check card.

Did I Spend Less with Cash?

For this month what I did was only take cash from the ATM for eating out.  The results? My monthly typical spending was around $140. This month I took out $70 and I still have some cash left over for today and tomorrow.

That’s half of what I usually spend with just one small change! Why did it work? I have theory. I think the scarcity (only $20/week) and single expense helped me to become more aware.

Will I Switch Over to Cash Spending?

Yes and no. I don’t think I can take out cash for general spending because I do want to track my spending. However, I think that switching over to cash with eating out will be a regular part of my routine.

An added bonus to spending cash was that I had some extra money to buy a few things for the baby. The majority of the saved money will be going towards paying down the student loan.

Thoughts on Cash Spending

I’d love to hear from you about your spending habits. Do you prefer using cash or debit card for your spending? Do you cash for most of your nonessential expenses or just for one specific bill?