Contributed by Katie K.

A few months ago I wrote in with a money question: What should I do with the extra money I found in my budget – put it towards savings, debt or retirement?  The answers varied but I went with the idea of putting my money into savings.  I was able to keep this money in savings and have added to it. Also, if I use any, I replenish it.

For my New Year’s resolution, I decided to stop charging items on my credit cards.  This resolution did not include using my debit card which takes money straight out of my checking or savings account; the resolution only involved not borrowing money.

I have tried this before using different tips: leave your cards at home, put your cards in a block of ice, cut them up. But, none of these ever worked for me.  I would retrieve my cards form my house, melt the block of ice or simply order the item online with the credit card details that I had in a file.

What I needed to do was to change was my mindset and, my decision to put extra money into savings helped me cultivate a new relationship with money and spending.

Here’s what happened.  When my dog became ill, I had to take her to the vet. Ordinarily, I would have charged this on my credit card but this time I used a debit card that was attached to my savings account.  My cash first money management system has resulted in me being more mindful about my spending and saving behavior.

Firstly, I discovered that by using my savings, the need to replenish what I spend kicks in. As a result, adding to my savings account has become second nature.

Secondly, credit card usage is no longer my go-to position.  Since refilling my savings account after every withdrawal has become a priority, I am actually putting more thought into my daily spending decisions.

I still carry my credit cards with me (just in case) but my use of them has dropped significantly just as I intended.

How have you been doing with your financial New Year’s Resolutions?  Write in and tell us. Your progress might become the focus of our next story in June.