After graduation from B-School, I started charging everything on my Amex Starwoods cards. Gas, groceries, small purchases and large. The idea was to maximize Starpoints for use on travel upgrades and hotel rooms. Because I pay off the balance in full each month, the “cost” was minimal and I gained $500-1,000 in savings each year. By downloading transactions directly into quicken, it was easy to track spending.
Recently, I began to worry the convenience of charging it made it “too easy” to charge things resulting in excessive spending.
Earlier this week, I decided to go “cash only” for a month and hope to save 10% on spending. Unfortunately, I failed miserably as I got myself into two situations where I need to buy things and didn’t think to bring my checkbook.
In 2007, I now have to:
1. Get more cash from the ATM. Because I charged everything, I typically haven’t carried much.
2. Learn to carry my checkbook. I want to use the checks to track where I spend my money. In two uses so far, people looked at me like I was a space alien. NOBODY writes checks anymore.