This whole experiment of not using my debit card has made me more aware of each cent I spend. Literally.
I always carried a few pennies and dimes in my wallet, but after a week I’d stash them away in a change jar at home. It’s practically empty, considering how little I used cash in the past, but after these past two weeks I’ve notice substantial growth.
My bank has a “keep-the-change” policy, so that every time I use my debit card the purchase gets rounded up and the change is deposited into my savings account. While this feature is basically the electronic version of my change jar, I never noticed its effects. Seeing the physical jar containing actual money creates a mental note of all my purchases and ultimately has a bigger impact on my spending and saving habits.
Since I stopped using my debit card, not all of my change gets dumped in the jar. I use it every chance I get and frankly it’s made most transactions easier.
Take the example of a $2.64 cup of coffee. I can either hand the cashier exact change, or pay $3.14 and get 50 cents back. Keeping exact change for times like these means I don’t receive burdensome amounts of change back, or better yet can control how much I do get. By doing a little math each time I was at the register I was able to collect enough quarters to do a whole load of laundry. It only took me four days and didn’t require a separate trip to see a bank teller.
So far there has only been one downside to using up my change. A few days ago I was in a fairly long line and it was getting longer by the minute. As I reached the counter, ordered and began to pay, I heard the gentleman behind me grumble something about wasting his time. He had his debit card out and was ready to swipe and dash out of there, but my minute-long transaction was too long for him. When I received my change I slid to the side to let him order while I put my change back in my wallet. He was done before I was, and gave me a look that screamed contempt.
Yes, cash transactions tend to take a bit longer, especially when the cashier has to count change back. It’s still money, though, and using it makes a lot of sense to me.
Craigslist Scam Alert: How You Could You Be Paying Someone to Steal Your Personal Info posted on Jul 24
Over the past week, the Consumer Hotline has received two complaints about a scam on Craigslist where buyers are scamming sellers out of money and their personal information. Callers reported being scammed when trying to sell an item on Craigslist. Online buyers would offer to …Continue Reading Craigslist Scam Alert: How You Could You Be Paying Someone to Steal Your Personal Info
First Time Homebuyers Prepare Themselves posted on Mar 13
Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases a consumer will ever make. Although buying and owning a home may seem daunting, prospective Massachusetts homeowners have a wealth of resources to prepare themselves. HUD-approved housing counseling agencies and Community Development Corporations around Massachusetts provide …Continue Reading First Time Homebuyers Prepare Themselves
Subfreezing Temperatures Don’t Have to Freeze Your Bank Account posted on Jan 9
As the nation has endured subfreezing temperatures this week and consumers are putting their thermostats to work, it might be a good idea to check in and see how efficient your heating system is running. In Massachusetts, MassSave, a statewide program sponsored by Massachusetts energy companies, supports …Continue Reading Subfreezing Temperatures Don’t Have to Freeze Your Bank Account