I want to continue our conversation about financial consciousness with a discussion about debit cards. We are now doing a lot of our financial business on-line and through automated transactions. I will be the first to admit that the convenience is wonderful, but if we are not completely in touch with our financial picture and already dedicated to watching our spending, it can be as disastrous as credit card spending-without the huge percentage fees.

Why? Because plastic is easy and that is just the point isn’t it. I do believe that advertising marketers know exactly what they are doing by encouraging us to rid ourselves of checkbooks and paper billings. They know that most of us are unconscious spenders and swiping that little card, shoving the receipt in your back pocket and running it through the washer, does not a conscious and savvy financial woman make. When you swipe it is kind of a rush, it feels like free money doesn’t it? Well it isn’t!

For many of the women I work with, besides getting them up to speed with Quickbooks (see blog entry dated May 4, 2007) This is the next horizon. Their challenge is to put away the debit card for one month and live with their old battered, boring checkbook. The learning here is that in a checkbook-if we actually balance them daily or at least weekly-we are confronted with a balance each time we write and enter a check. Now how is that for consciousness? Very often when we swipe, we have no idea where our balance is, or how much we have in the bank right at that moment. It can very easily lead to spending more than we make each month. Sound familiar to anyone?

I also suggest that clients pick a day of the week to attend to and tune in to their financial life. Mine is Friday, as symbolically, it signals the close of a week and opens the door for a prosperous new week.

There you have it ladies, just say no to debit. Should we discuss credit cards? Now don’t get me started there!

Quick Tips:

  • Find your old battered checkbook. Put it in your purse or backpack
  • Put your debit card in your bank file for ONE MONTH
  • Balance your checkbook at the end of each spending day
  • Designate one day per week to dedicate to your financial life and well-being

Write it: How has my debit spending impacted my ability to be financially conscious?