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It’s been a while. I’m experimenting again. We started as of June 1.

What is your experience using a cash only system?
Leave a comment here
so others can hear your experience.

About Andrea Deckard

Andrea Deckard is a personal finance expert and speaker. She lives by the following motto, "save on what you need so you can spend on what you want." She started Savings Lifestyle in 2008, and long-time readers remember the site as Mommy Snacks. Andrea is a go-to resource on frugal living for local news outlets such as WDTN, WGRR, and as well as national outlets like Good Morning America. She has also been featured in multiple national publications.


  1. Rachel on June 11, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    I use the cash system on groceries and outings. This has saved me more money than the conventional atm card method. The biggest change is that it holds me personally responsible for the spending decisions we make. Showing this method to my children helped reduce the amount of “I want’s” or “Will you buy me’s”. I give them a budget of extra money I am willing to let them spend, anything more needs to be out of their pocket. My middle daughter looks for coupons for stuff she wants to buy or places she wants to go too!

    I can’t wait to see how it works for you!

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on June 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      Rachel, I really hope it helps with the kids’ behaviors too. I got their allowance out as cash in advance as well so they know they will get it on Friday if they do their job!

  2. Maggie Thompson on June 11, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I used to use the cash system, but I constantly had trouble if we would use our debit/credit card (not a CREDIT CREDIT Card) So i found this AWESOME site called and we have used it ever since (almost 2 years now). Its been well worth the the investment since it allows you to use cash, your debit cards/credit cards and tracks everything but with ELECTRONIC envelopes! Its sersiouyl awesome. I’ve gotten my friends to sign up too. Check it out if you have trouble with the cash.

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on June 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      Maggie, I’ve heard of mvelopes before. It does look really interesting. Maybe it’s something we could use for those amounts that we still use our debit card (like gas). Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Tara Dunsmore on June 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      Maggie, is there a fee for using mvelopes? It looks interesting and might really help me budget/manage my checking accounts better. The website says, “Sign up for Free,” so I assume there is a cost at some point to continue using?

      • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on July 4, 2012 at 6:04 pm

        Tara, it looks like you can create an account for FREE at Mvelopes. I’m going to take a look at it a little closer in the next few weeks. I believe there are additional features that cost money though like you said.

  3. chris (baldscreen) on June 11, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Andrea, I have been using cash for our groceries, h/ba, benevolent shopping, and incidentals like haircuts, an occasional lunch out with my girlfriends, etc. for several years now. It works very well for me. I take a dollar amount out, usually on Friday, and if I spend it all I know I can’t get more cash out until the next Fri. I have not tried the envelope system on our other categories, mostly b/c we have had kids in college and have not had much flexibility in our budget due to the tuition payments. Our youngest just graduated and I am thinking about implementing some kind of system with Mr. Baldy so we don’t experience much lifestyle creep. I will be interested to see how things go for you. :)

  4. Jen Haggas on June 12, 2012 at 10:19 am

    We have been “cash only” for 1 year. It has been awesome. It started out as an experiment to see if we could do it or not and it has worked. Everyone is more conscience of what we spend and how it is spent. The kids do not even fight my husband or I on something when we say no. I do not break my weekly money out by category….I pretty much know how much we spend on items through the course of the week. The one additional thing I do is that we do not spend any $1 bills. I have collected these since last July and to date I have saved $3000 for our 2 week summer vacation with our families this year (this is MORE than what we will need to be gone). It is a great way to save without changing our lifestyle. I hope that the “cash only” system works for you too! It is very freeing.

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