In an environment where we rely on our plastic cards so much, one of our professional financial experts has gone bank-card free in an effort to show how we can win with battle of budgeting.
Louise Davies from Infinity Wealth Management (a subsidiary of Fortuna) recently decided to self-impose a ban on using plastic bank cards – including credit and debit cards in order to reign in over spending.
“I could see how challenging it was for our clients and myself to change spending habits, so I took matters into my own hands and decided to pay cash for everything,” said Ms Davies.
“The idea came to me when my debit card that was also linked to my only credit card had expired, and I hadn’t received the new card that the bank had issued,” she said. “I thought to myself this could be a good experiment.”
While you, as a reader may be wondering if this is a good strategy for the country in general, Ms Davies believes this challenge is predominantly aimed at reducing personal expenses and should be carried out only with that intention.
“All the fixed expenses like bills and mortgage payments were automatic and taken care of, so what I did was simply withdraw the amount of cash I had allocated in my spending plan to living expenses and forced myself to only pay cash for everything.”
“I wanted to see if by only having the facility of cash to pay for everyday expenses it would help reinforce the spending decision process, reduce temptation to overspend or buy unnecessary things.”
“I even had unexpected expenses come up during my challenge, but rather than go straight to the bank and make a cash withdrawal I just reassessed what was necessary and what wasn’t.”
“I did struggle during the first few days of the experiment, but it did work.”
“I reduced my unnecessary spending by $78 in just a week, that’s $4,056 per annum. For some people that could be an extra month’s mortgage repayment per year, or even a family holiday.”
Ms Davies said that the challenge would have to be conducted over a period of time at least 3 months in order to make actual changes in your spending habits over the long-term.
Here are some tips:
- Work out your debt repayments. Allocate the amount needed to cover all debt repayments,
- Work out your fixed expenses: Things like phone bills, utility bills, debt repayments are fixed expenses. You already have an idea of what they are, so put that money aside each pay cycle.
- What is left is for your variable expenses: Items like food, petrol, and entertainment are variable. Take out this amount in cash. If you are worried you will spend it all at once, give yourself an allowance each day.
“Even if you started for a week, then tried 2 weeks it’s about making a start to break a habit that can impact your ability to achieve financial freedom,” she said.
Although Infinity wealth has a cash flow control program that we use with our clients, we soon realised that in order to make a real impact to our clients’ behaviour we had to dig deeper and come up with a solution for those who the electronic apps and methods don’t work.”
“I think it’s a great challenge for people to try in order to get a clear idea of how much they are spending.”
“There are apps you can get and you can use electronic tools to tell you how much you spend using your cards, but the problem is, it’s not in your face.”
“By doing the no plastic challenge this can help those who have tried the electronic way but it didn’t seem to make a difference.”
About Infinity Wealth Management
Infinity Wealth Management specialises in helping families and busy working professionals make the right decisions that are suited to them financially and are in line with their desired lifestyle.