You’ve probably seen those colorful aluminum containers that grasp your credit cards and are RFID resistant, meaning that thieves can’t use their spy tools to garner your card numbers. Personally, I don’t know anyone to whom this has happened, but, obviously, the need for such security exists because my third son, Mark King, www.trayvax.com, has invented and sold hundreds of his new-age RFID wallets.
So at ACE Hardware recently, I spied a display of these accordion-style aluminum wallets and came up with a great idea to help me better hold onto the family budget. Now debit cards are grand for getting cash but murder on a budget. The same goes for credit cards in general. So how does one work with a mainly cash budget? People would cash their paychecks and put specified amounts in envelopes in times past. When the envelope was empty, the spending stopped. However, with the ease of credit/debit cards, most families have begun using their plastic exclusively and living way over their means instead of way under. It is easy to lose track of plastic expenses!
Well, should I carry around my envelopes filled with cash or tote from place to place my small change purses stuffed with dollar bills?
No, instead try the new “Frugal Catholic Cash Counter.”
First, get yourself an aluminum wallet credit card holder for about $7. If you can’t find them where you are, try ordering them online under that name. Next, set up your budget of mainly cash spending if you haven’t already done so. Of course, much of the money is in your checkbook to pay the bigger bills, but use CASH for the day-to-day. And by all means, get your DEBIT card out of your wallet and away from your sticky fingers!!!
When you get your paycheck, cash part of it and file it away in the “Frugal Catholic Cash Counter.” Let me give you an example. Every two weeks, I cash several hundred dollars for expenses. So in my “FCCC,” I have the little slots labeled “allowance, food, house, and extra tithe.” I put the $20 bills in the correct slot and carry the “FCCC” with me. The bulk of the money is at home in envelopes, and I add to my “FCCC” as needed, so I have cash in those correct categories on me at all times. When the money is gone, I stop spending, and if there is money left over after those two weeks, it goes into THE DEEP DARK ABYSS (my house savings which are not to be touched.) It is easy because carrying cash stops mindless credit/debit card use and keeps my category budget working.
But wait, there’s more! If you really want to track your cash or credit card expenses, then try “The Frugal Catholic Logbook.”
Track your cash or credit card spending by going into your bank branch and asking for a free checkbook cover and check register. Then as you use cash or credit, keep a running record of your expenses in “TFCL.” That way, when you are “wondering” HOW MUCH YOU SPENT IN A GIVEN MONTH? You can open up the register and see the running tally you have recorded. It is an incredible tool for tracking expenses and bringing a shocking reality to your budget.
Jesus, of course, is The King of Kings; however, if we desire to control our finances, cash is king, and our society would live far better if we could adhere to that thought which our forefathers knew quite well. My father, Dr. Robert M. Wild, used to say, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” But the Bible says it even better in Proverbs 22:7 NAB “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender”—i.e., CREDIT CARDS. Bottom line: Get rid of that plastic and start carrying cash; then watch your savings grow, and your giving get better!
Martha Wild King, M. Ed., Author
The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.