Lisa emailed in the following testimonial which I found so encouraging:
About three years ago, my husband and I were in big financial trouble. We each carried a checkbook and a debit card that shared the same bank account. We would each make daily purchases using checks and debit.
Most of the time, the purchases were for small items such as coffee, gas, lunch, etc. We were never very good with keeping track of our money because we were always broke anyway and we felt like we were just robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Every week, we would go into the negative in the bank account because we would be out of money, yet we still needed to provide food for the family and put gas in the tanks. The NSF charges applied to our account multiplied with each and every purchase we made, sometimes even adding up to more than what our direct deposit checks would cover on payday.
This continued for several months and we found ourselves in a big black hole that we could not get ourselves out of. The total of the bank fees alone totaled to over $3,000 in a three month period. Needless to say, all of our bills got behind including our rent.
It was a huge mess and we were struggling to turn it around. We decided the only way to stop the bleeding was to close the bank account and stop using checks and debit cards all together. We have never used credit cards so that was not an issue.
We closed the checking account and opened a savings account. We made a written budget that included putting money away for an emergency fund and we started using cash only for everything.
Since then, we keep all our cash in the savings account and we have to go to the bank to make a withdraw each time we needed money. We have not turned back.
We continue to use cash only. I can look around my house and honestly tell you that everything in it is paid for completely with cash. Now, we never have to worry about a debit purchase not getting posted before a deposit.
If we need or want something, we save up for it and purchase it with cash. We bought a new stainless steel kitchen appliance package, a nice HDTV and TV stand, our sofa, our dining table, as well as our car — all paid in full with cash.
Using a cash system has taught me patience. I have to save money before I can buy anything, and I wait for the best deals to come around for things that I would have bought on impulse in the past! I now believe that even only one overdraft charge is one too many.
We all make mistakes and of course, our family’s mistakes got way out of control. We had to be honest with ourselves and be willing to make changes to better our lives according to the truths that we know. My husband and I have never been good with managing our money and therefore, we had to force ourselves to make drastic changes.
Now, we are working together in our finances. We are no longer slaves to the bank card. We assign each dollar that we make. It is freeing, not restricting.
We are debt free! There is help and there is always hope!
Lisa simply wants to share her lessons learned. She knows that many people are in the same boat as she was and are afraid to admit it. She believes it is nothing to be ashamed of, and that we can all comfortably live within our means if we just commit ourselves to putting the effort into it and it pays!
Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!