Thursday, March 10, 2011

OMG, I've forgotten how to get money.

OMG, I've forgotten how to get money. When I do my 21-day money fast, April 3 – 24, one of my commitments is to use no plastic – no credit or debit cards. I will be spending money for food staples, gasoline, and essential toiletries. This means I will need some cash.

I've forgotten how to get cash without going to an ATM or getting cash back at Whole Foods, both of which require using a debit card.

Michelle Singletary, whose book "The Power to Prosper" introduced me to the idea of a money fast, argues that we spend money with less awareness and consciousness when we use plastic. She cites research to support her contention.

I certainly will not give up my debit card permanently. It is too great a convenience. But I will give up using it for 21 days as part of this spiritual exercise.

As Singletary points out, counting out cash to pay for something is a different experience than putting it on a card. Counting out cash to buy a new TV with cash would be a very different experience than putting it on a card. She cites research that shows that people spend more money on meals in restaurants if they pay with a card.

So how do you get your hands on money if you don't use an ATM? I remember years ago standing in long lines at a bank on a Friday afternoon to deposit my pay check and get some cash. But that was a long time ago. And I don't get paychecks anymore. It is deposited directly into my account.

I asked some of my co-workers if they knew how to get cash without using a debit card. One person who uses a community bank says she just walks into her bank and they give her money. I doubt Bank of America would do that.

Someone else told me there should be withdrawal slips at the back of my checkbook. I think I remember the drawer we keep our checkbook in.
I am going to have to figure out how to get my hands on some cash without using an ATM.

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