Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Money or My What?

I know there has been a lot of talk around about sticking it to the big banks, jumping ship, and running to the credit unions.   I bank with a big bank.  In general, I like that bank.  Maybe it is because I have a mortgage payment for our rental tied into my accounts that makes them love me so much and the fact that I rarely have to pay for any services: so be it.

Anyways, it's not the big banks I am sick of as much as the big time scammers that somehow keep getting a hold of my debit card numbers and pins.  PINS!  How on earth do people snag your pin number?  I did some research and it turns out that some nasty, evil people will pretend to be service repair people and then switch out credit card/debit machines for ones that track the numbers.  And this must have been what happened to me twice this year.  TWICE!  Two different accounts!  I am careful with my cards; I never write my pin number down anywhere.  I cover the little pin pad with my hand if someone is close by.

Now I have made a big life style decision.  I have become a woman that pays with cash.  If I pay with cash, nobody can steal my debit number.  My mom has been doggedly refusing to use a debit card for years, stubbornly sticking to writing checks and ranting about security.  I scoffed at her.  Now I agree with her.  Only I don't want to write checks either.

This cash only business has all sorts of implications in my life.  It is a bit of a pain to go into the bank and withdrawal my month's money.  But it also means I am sticking it to the big bank anyways because they are not going to get a cut of the Visa fee on a debit transaction anymore.  Everyone around me keeps screaming Shop local! Shop local!  But they are all using their debit cards and taking a ding out of that local merchant so that a bank can make more money.

The best thing about this, but also the most challenging, is that I have to stick to a budget.  I've read this in finance books for years and mostly shrugged my shoulders about it but you do spend less, much less, if you stick to cash.  You think a little harder before making that purchase.  Is that exactly what you want to give up your cold hard cash for? With our new house our expenses have gone up quite a bit so it won't be a bad thing if I can set a little extra money aside.

I only started today and can't give much feedback yet about the process but I did notice that at the grocery store I was much more conscious of whether items were entirely necessary or not.  And when I went to get coffee beans I usually get an americano at the same time but I thought, nah, I'll just go home and make coffee instead.

See?  It's changing me already!

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