IS THAT ON PAYPASS?… TECHNOLOGY IS WONDERFUL, ISN’T IT?

These days we don’t need to carry any cash. Just one small plastic card, or our mobile phones (hello ApplePay!) and the world is our oyster. We can buy almost anything we like simply by hovering our card over a small terminal at a shop of our choice.

Recently, a new coffee shop opened in the foyer of my building. I was intrigued that the shop advertises itself as ‘cashless’. That is, you can only buy your coffee using Eftpos or PayPass.

No doubt this is an emerging trend, and we will see more of this in the future.

And recently we have seen the advancement of apps that allow us to use our smart phones even more for paying ‘on the go’. I can imagine it won’t be too long before the option of having a small chip inserted under the skin isn’t farfetched!

As convenient as shopping without cash is, it does have its drawbacks.

How often have you taken a look at your bank account only to see that it runs into pages and pages of – often – small debits? The cup of coffee, a sandwich, a magazine, or tickets to a movie – they’re all there.

And yet when we look at the remaining balance, we still ask the question – “where did the money go?”

You see, when we live in a cashless world, it is hard to keep track of our spending. We just spend until there is nothing left.

And this becomes a double–edged sword.

For many of us, if we are going to save anything, we save what is left over from the previous pay when our next pay comes in. We should be paying ourselves first – that is – transferring our agreed to savings before we start spending the remainder – but that is a topic for another day.

Of course, when we get to the end of our pay period, there is often nothing left to save anyway. We spend without knowing where the money goes. It is amazing just how much we spend on ‘junk’ without giving it a moments thought when cash isn’t involved.

Back in the ‘old days’, we used to have simple ways of managing our everyday discretionary spending. We didn’t have the convenience of swiping a card, phone, or other devices. And, we didn’t have ATMs!

So how did we manage our cash?

One popular strategy was to have jars. Each time we were paid, we were paid in cash which made things a bit easier – amounts were allocated to our different jars. We always knew how much was left, and when a jar was empty, we went without.

I am not advocating for one minute that we return to those days.

However, I think that one of the problems today is a lack of discipline when it comes to spending. It is just so easy to swipe a card.

Learning to live within our means will result in a more financially secure future, with the added bonus of less stress. So – challenge yourself – put a set amount aside for each day and see how well you manage.

Even get out the old ‘jars’ if you need some help!

By Peter Kelly – Prepare For Life Issue 26 – June 2017

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