February is the new January

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I’ve had a few hare-brained money saving schemes in my time and here’s the latest.

Cashless February.

‘What is it?’, I hear you ask. Please bear with me and I’ll explain.

For me, New Year’s resolutions have always been troublesome. In fact so troublesome that I don’t even bother to attempt them. It probably has something to do with the fact that the very stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day is invariably spent swigging an alcoholic beverage while simultaneously attempting to scoff what’s left of the Pringles.

So for me, February is the new January. You heard it here first.  With the excesses of the festive season now a fast-fading memory, it makes it that bit easier to make a fresh start. February is also the shortest month of the year which should make enduring any not-so-new-year resolutions less taxing (can I say tax-free?) – and I’m all for that. And when you take into account that most people are still on full holiday mode at least until the 2nd or 3rd of January –  February seems like a safer bet.

The Plan

Now to the crux of the matter.

The master-plan is: Get through February spending as little actual cash as possible.

I will attempt to restrict myself solely to debit card purchases.

The benefits of this, hopefully, would be as follows:

  • Won’t be able to buy any snacks on the way into work in the morning.
  • Less likely to make other unnecessary purchases of under £5 (due to many retailers not accepting debit cards for smaller transactions).
  • I won’t have any loose change rattling around in my pocket just waiting to be squandered.
  • Just generally not having cash in my wallet means I may be less likely to impulse buy.

I will surely have to visit the hole-in-the-wall at some point, for example occasional nights out, office whip-rounds, school breakfast club money etc, but I plan to piggy-bank the change from any cash machine visits at the end of the day and tally this on 28th February.

I’ve heard quite a bit about people trying to restrict themselves solely to cash such as in this article, but the thought of being stranded somewhere with only a few pounds in my pocket and zero access to money is not very appealing.

How to measure

The best way I can figure out of measuring this is to compare total cash machine expenditure and total debit card expenditure for January. Then do the same at the end of February. The idea is that the cash machine total should be way down. The debit card total will obviously be up, but hopefully not so much that it obliterates any savings made on the cash machine totals. I can also factor in any piggy bank savings from the previously said cash machine transactions.

So there you have it. That’s the idea. I will report back in one month’s time with my findings.

No advice has been provided by Scottish Friendly. If you are in any doubt as to whether a savings or investment plan is suitable for you, you should contact a financial adviser for advice. If you do not have a financial adviser, you can get details of local financial advisers by visiting www.unbiased.co.uk. Advisers may charge for providing such advice and should confirm any cost beforehand.