Cash, Credit, or Debit: What’s your spending style?

WinkIvy says:

I have read several bloggers who say they spend less money when they deal only in cash. I am the opposite, it seems to be such a pain to me to have to save the receipt and enter in how much I spent in my financial tracking software, that I hesitate a lot more before using my debit card. On the other hand, if I have cash, I spend pretty freely and then end up broke in no time.

This is one of those things that doesn’t work the same way for everyone. Some people spend more when they have cash, some people spend more when they are using debit/credit. As my mom says, “If I have cash, I spend cash, so I tend to try not to have much cash.”

The key is figuring out which sort of person you are, a cash spender or a card spender and making sure the method of payment you tend to spend more on is generally unavailable. It’s important to make sure you track where you are spending the most money- my downfall is going out to eat, other people’s downfall may be online shopping, while another person may love buying shoes. You have to try to avoid that by making sure you have quick meals on hand, or staying out of the shoe store.

While this all might seem very obvious, tracking your spending may uncover things you never had any idea you spent a lot on- like my restaurant going, which seemed pretty minor to me, until I saw it on a chart.

Are you a cash-only type person or a card person? Where are your spending trouble-spots?


  1. kristen on September 3, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    We were on almost exclusively credit to get the miles but when it was just too high every month to pay off we had to go totally debit. Now we are more aware of our spending and the fact that for a long time more was going out than was coming in.

  2. Keter on September 1, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    Credit card and debit card. I track receipts and get cash back on the credit card. Cash is used only for random things I won’t need to track like when a purchase is only a dollar or two. I do not spend more this way, the debit card just replaced checks. But then I’m pretty pinch-penny to begin with. ;o)

    Big items go on the credit card for three reasons:
    1. Cash back.
    2. Charge back.
    3. Security.

    BTW, only use debit cards at stores that let you do your own scanning. NEVER use a debit card to pay for a restaurant meal, or anywhere else where your card leaves your sight.

  3. Bean on August 31, 2007 at 10:08 am

    I try to use cash for impulse-ish things like going out to eat, as that really drives home how much it costs.

    For all other things though, I use a single credit card that gives rewards (1-3% cash back) and use it like a debit card, paying it off in full every month.

  4. Gwen on August 31, 2007 at 8:47 am

    Credit cards for virtually everything. I get $100 in cash from the bank now and then but between me and hubby that usually lasts a couple or three weeks. Debit cards are creepy, it’s too easy to imagine a thief emptying my checking account within minutes.

    We pay the cards in full every month.

  5. Lesley on August 31, 2007 at 7:23 am

    Oh, yeah, cash just flies out of my hand so I never have it. I like using the credit card for everything and then beating myself up when the statement comes each month.

  6. Samantha on August 30, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    My husband and I just implemented a new budget, and with that budget comes a weekly spending limit for each of us. Only $25 for the entire week for our own personal use. Mind you groceries and gas does not come out of this. Those are seperately budgeted. Anyway, I was a BIG debit card user. B_I_G_TIME. That was our downfall. All the small $6,7,8 dollar charges added up without us seeing it. Now we have the $25 in cash and it has to last us or we are out for the week. Currently I have $80! I’ve saved my money, eaten at home, gone to walmart only once or twice, shopped at Old Navy and spent $20 of my cash and still have the extra. I think I’m doing well with it and for the first time being on a budget, it’s not too bad:)

  7. themomhalf on August 30, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    gonna have to figure this one out, my dh gets paid once a month now — all bills are auto-debited the first week or two of the month, and i know what they are, the rest goes to food, petrol, savings, etc….

  8. Teresa on August 30, 2007 at 8:25 pm

    Debit card all the way. Of course, I do all my financial bookkeeping on paper, so I only have to stub it once 🙂 I also track my purchases that way. Cash is evil for me. Once it’s gone I have no clue where it went.

    DH and I are currently paying off credit cards and cutting them up. I’m planning to keep one and use it for a couple of bills to keep it active.

  9. Margo on August 30, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    Hey Ivy, on a different note, did your avatar change for this blog? I keep waiting for the pretty one with her chin in the air – what happened to her? She was the first face of Ivy that I saw. . .

  10. Margo on August 30, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    I use my rewards Visa for everything I can, and keep cash for the farmer’s market. We pay our bill every month. We don’t keep track of all our purchases – never worked for us – but I do worry that as we make more money, we will spend more money (and not on filling our IRAs if you know what I mean!).

  11. Jenni on August 30, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    Almost exclusively credit…but pay the bill in full every month.

  12. Ron on August 30, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    I operate on credit only, except when I have to go on a trip or know I’ll have to leave a tip wherever I go.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.