Can You Break This Debit Card for a Dollar Please?

As a kid, I realized two things when I had a little bit of money in my pocket:

  1. Cash burned a hole in my pocket and I never knew where it all went. It boggled my mind how buying a pop here and a pack of baseball cards there would quickly put me back to $0.
  2. I hated breaking dollars. I felt that spending $1.10 was the same as spending $2 because the change would just get lost.

I have carried these thought processes with me ever since, and believe broken dollars over a lifetime can amount to a pretty big chunk of “lost” change.

Once debit cards came widely into play, my problems were solved. I no longer had to worry about having the exact change or breaking bills, and I no longer had to carry cash and be tempted to spend the cash burning a hole in my pocket.

Who would pay for a pack of gum with a credit card?

After years of avoiding carrying cash, I conditioned myself to not waste money on little expenses. Most stores wouldn’t even except debit cards for minimal purchases, and it was a shameful purchasing process even if they did. As a result, I spent less and kept my change in the bank when purchases were made with my debit card.

To this day I am still programmed to carry minimal cash in order to avoid the temptation to spend. But now, thanks to rewards programs, I actually get paid for this behavior.

Millionaire Money Habit: Some people have a hard time managing their spending when they get credit and debit cards in their hands. If you have the discipline to run your expenses primarily by using plastic, it pays to leave your cash in the bank.

3 Responses to Can You Break This Debit Card for a Dollar Please?

  1. Patrick says:

    You know, I rarely go into a store where I would be tempted to spend less than $1. If I go to a gas station, I always pay at the pump, and I only go to gas stations to buy gas. On a *rare* occasion I will stop in for a drink, but I try to plan in advance and bring one from home. That said, I have no problem using a debit card for a small purchase. In fact, the last time I moved it took me awhile to get a local bank so I would go to Wal-Mart to buy a pack of gum with my debit card and get cash back. That way I wouldn’t have to pay ATM fees. Gotta work the system! :)

  2. I don’t use my debit card (credit cards have more protection if the number is stolen), but I will definitely use my credit card for small purchases! I don’t mind at all. But I do agree that spending $1.10 feels very similar to spending $2. Last year my husband and I put almost all of our change in a jar in our bedroom. I counted it on Friday and it was over $100!

  3. Meg says:

    I like Bank of America’s "Keep The Change" program. I’m avid user of my debit card, whether its for large things or small things. What it does is round your purchases up to the next dollar, and puts the change into a savings account. I’m more likely to lose cash or have it stolen (I have some shady people in my house before that have stolen cash) and for that reason, I keep my spare change jar in my bedroom, and my safety cash either in my car (no more than $10 for emergency gas or tolls) or in a lockbox.

    But if cash is in my pocket, I would spend it most definitely.

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