Cash Challenges in a Corona World

Corona cash spending habits for many have changed since COVID 19. For me, I’ve recently decided that although I am more hyper-aware of those invisible beasties (germs) than ever before, my relationship to cash truly hasn’t changed much.

Where do I normally spend with cash verses card? Well, my cash spending is normally for things like pizza delivery tips, groceries, coffee, eating out, kids spending, etc. while my Debit purchases are for things like gasoline, car maintenance, Costco, electronic purchases, household items, etc. Bills and payments are electronically transfers through online bill pay tools. For the most part, the places where I normally spend cash will still accept cash during COVID 19 and places where I spend with plastic or NFC payments like Google pay taps are still accepted (even more so) where I use them during COVID 19.

This brought to my mind challenges with a traditional, Pinterest-like “cash savings” challenges, like the $1 challenge. I thought it would be fun, and since January of 2020, I have squirreled away (almost) every $1 bill I have came across this year. Now for sure, this took activity took a nose dive in March, April and May, though I do have a few in envelopes. I should have switched to a digital “game”, but didn’t think of it until after the fact. Maybe I’ll do some of these challenges next month.

Here are two ideas to inspire you to pick up your “cash” spending challenges digitally, especially if all your spending during COVID 19 has moved to digital transactions.

Budget Category Bingo

1. Create a “Bingo Challenge” Category in your budget
2. Pick a number, 0 – 9.
3. For every transaction line item that comes into your budget, look at the first (or last) digit of the transaction amount. If it matches your number-of-the-month, move a $1 from the category of the transaction into the “Bingo!” category.
4. Change your number every month to make category bingo fun and entertaining.
5. Challenge peers, spouses, friends, family to Category Bingo.
6. Watch it grow.

See a [Digital] Penny, pick it up!

This is one simple. When cents come into your budget from transactions, round up to the nearest dollar for withdrawals. Move those extra pennies to a savings category. If its a inflow, round down and move the extra pennies to the savings category.

You could move those cents into any category supporting your goals of course, but to see how much you squirreled away over time, create a fun category name like “Abe” or “Shiny Copper Pennies” or “Making Cents” to watch it grow.

When the end of the year rolls around, see how much all those pennies add up to. Bonus – this should make reconciling a little easier – I think!?

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