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Let Me Explain


The same time one month from now you probably won’t be reading my column.

Well, Barbie Girl by Aqua was a smash hit and those of us too old to play with the popular doll probably sang the song at the top of our lungs while driving our parents’ car.

As funny as the song was, this column isn’t about Barbie dolls or the band, but it is about one line from the song — “Life is plastic.”

Let me explain.

I went antiquing last week. It’s a hobby my partner and I have picked up and to be honest I used to think it was collecting useless stuff no one else wanted. But after finding some great items, needless to say I’m hooked.

I stopped at a convenience store ATM for some cash and off we went. I gathered some bottles, books, candle holders, etcetera and asked the guy, “How much?”

He told me $25 and the stuff was mine. I was tickled pink, until I opened my wallet and saw two $20 bills and a loonie.

He didn’t have change, but was kind enough to take $21 for my box of treasures. But it made me think about how inconvenient it was to only have my debit card with me.

You see if I carried cash I probably would have had change, but the ATM only dispenses $20s.

Which also led me to think that without a paper trail to follow, how much money do I waste in the run of a month?

I use my debit for everything from groceries to gas to gum. I never look back at my receipts; in fact, they usually end up in the garbage.

Plastic might be more convenient to carry, but I can’t keep tabs on what I’m spending if I can’t see the actual cash disappearing from my wallet.

Some people are of the opinion it helps them save money because if they have cash, they tend to spend it more frequently than if they have to use debit or credit.

So here’s my plan for the month of June: I’m going to keep every receipt for everything I purchase and I mean everything. If I buy a tic-tac I’ll have a receipt to show for it at the end of the four weeks.

I have an idea of what I spend in one month, but I’m going to see how close my estimate is and see if I’m burning through my hard earned cash faster than I really think.

I’ll keep you posted.

 

Christy.janes@pilotnl.ca

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