As part of My Total Money Makeover Journey, I am only using cash for in-store purchases. The bundle I purchased came with the Deluxe Executive Envelope System and I have to say that is probably the second best tool included. The first is the Financial Peace Planner that helped me figure out a budget that is realistic, has everything we need to pay, and every penny is accounted for so no more wondering how much money I have left. Every week when we get paid, I pull out the correct amounts (my bank teller loves how I tell her exactly how many of each bill I need) and put each budgeted amount into its own envelope. Each envelope has its own little register so I know exactly how much I have left for that category and can easily track my spending.
Dave Ramsey is right – handing over cash does hurt! Since I started using cash, I have thought more about what I'm purchasing and actually have money left over in each category when payday rolls around again! Even if I have cash left over, I'm still putting the amount I budgeted in each week (budget is done before the month starts, but we get paid weekly) and I also throw my receipts in the envelope so I can see what items I bought without trying to think back. At the end of every month, I have a better idea of what I'll spend next month so I'm less likely to freak out when an envelope is empty. If I have anything left in an envelope at the end of the month, I'm going to deposit it into savings to help build our emergency fund.
I'd like to challenge you to use only cash for in store purchases for the next 2 weeks. Spend an hour or two to decide how much money needs to go into each envelope. You can print a template for your own cash envelopes or purchase Dave Ramsey's set from Amazon.com. At the end of 2 weeks, sit down and look at how well you did using cash. Just this one simple change can make a huge difference in your life!