Paper or Plastic? Family Saves With Cash

The Farhats gave up using their credit and debit cards for a month.

ByABC News via logo
August 24, 2008, 9:38 AM

Aug. 24, 2008 — -- When Marissa and Philip Farhat sliced and diced eight of their nine credit cards -- with one literally left on ice for emergency purposes -- in favor of using cash for their purchases, the couple hoped to save money.

"We haven't had very many luxuries this month. The groceries and the necessities is what we've spent our money on, which is good. We don't need all the other stuff," Phillip said.

After 30 days, the pair calculated their spending decreased 24 percent when compared to the previous month.

"I think once we sat down and looked over what we saved this month, we realized how much we were spending and how much we could do without spending," Marissa said. "I actually didn't spend as much as I normally do."

But changing their patterns from credit to cash wasn't so simple for the Farhats. With their credit and debit cards gone, along with the instant access to funds they come with, the family was forced to shop with the limited cash it had on hand.

"I wanted to buy something online the other day and I couldn't because I didn't have my credit cards," Marissa said.

One of the most noticeable downsides the Farhats noticed was how using cash only slowed down their fast-paced lives. Even gassing up the family's SUV could turn into a half-day excursion when paying in cash.

Marissa was forced to wait twice in line during one outing.

"It is more difficult. Especially with [my infant] in my arms, so, I will be sending my husband to get the gas," Marissa said.

The countless trips to ATMs, and other inconveniences, may have helped the Farhats change their overall spending habits.

"I don't have enough money in my purse to go buy this new dress or this new shirt that I want, so you don't even step foot in the store, because you don't have the money," Marissa said. "You don't make all those extra purchases that you really don't need."