The quote that "cash is king" or the that different studies over the years have come to the conclusion that we spend less when we use cash. Certainly we do have limitation when we use cash, we can't write an I.O.U to the cashier that says the next time we are in the store we will pay the remaining 5.61 on our grocery bill. But that doesn't mean I don't still waste money.
Cash is dangerous for me to carry around, the temptation to buy stuff that I don't need is very great. When I jingle the change in my pocket, it is a siren call to the vending machines at work and they call out to my weakest desires.
I generally keep cash in my wallet in case I forget to pack a lunch, but recently that money went to a soda pop, donation for a women's shelter (also to wear jeans to work for the week) and to pay more than my share of the pizza for the team. You see, if I didn't have cash on me I would drink less soda pop, order less pizza and be stingier with my money for donations.
There are people that go and get cash for their paychecks and make the wad of money last for rent, food and still are able to save. But if I did that, I would be broke a week before I got paid again. Someone asks me for a dollar, I give it. Someone asks for a donation, I give it. I have a craving for a spicy chicken sandwich from the fast food joint, I get it.
The idea of an envelope system to break up the money never worked for me, I would "loan" money to other envelopes without consequence and not always pay it back. And writing down everything I spent the cash on had no consequences. It was similar to a "see food diet", I see food I eat it. I see stuff to buy, I pay cash and get it. No worries.
Instead, I have learned to carry around my debit card because it is more of a hassle to swipe the card and save the receipt for when I get home to write it in the checkbook as to whet I have spent. It would seem that in my mind there is less accountability for cash than there is with a debit card or check. Cash doesn't require books to be balanced every time something is purchased. Instead the habit of using a card and writing it down is more ingrained in me than the use of cash and writing it down.
What have you found when you use cash as opposed to a debit card or checkbook?