I have heard so many times to use cash only when paying for things throughout the week. There was even a 7 Day Spending Challenge posted on Yahoo! about a month ago that says to try and only spend cash for the week. They say to calculate about how much you will need for the entire week and pull out that amount of cash and that's it.
I never really thought that this plan would actually work for me because whenever I have cash on hand I think, free money I can spend! :) So I always carried my debit card wherever I went. I would run into the store to get one thing like milk and come out with a bunch of stuff that was on sale and believed I needed.
Finally, I realized I was spending too much money here and there. It wasn't really a problem of spending $100 on one purchase. It was the little bit spent here, little bit spent there that added up to be a lot of wasted money. I calculated what I needed for the week and started withdrawing that amount on Sunday night. I would put my debit card away and not touch until the very end of the week.
This time I went into the store to buy milk and began looking around a little out of habit. When I thought about only having cash, I really didn't want to spend it. I wanted to hold on to it as long as I could. I bought only the milk and walked out counting my money happily. By the end of this week I had money left over and my debit card was still in it's safe spot not touched. There were things that I calculated into my weekly spending that I began thinking I didn't even need anymore.
So it really does work. This is such a great way to cut back on spending. I still buy groceries with my debit card because I tend to stay on budget with that but mostly everything else I buy with cash now. Try it just with a few areas that you are having the most trouble staying on budget with. For example, eating out or entertainment. It's so great to look at my bank statement and only see a few transactions compared to before. It's definitely saving me a lot of money!