I have a correction on the post below:
Tim reminded me that we did vary a big part of Dave's program. We did NOT use the cash envelope system. He encourages people to pay in cash for several reasons. It helps keep people on track because once it's gone, it's gone. It also helps people get a good grasp on how much they are actually spending - based on the theory that when you actually count it out and hand the money over, you get a REAL sense of the cost of things. We actually tried the envelopes for a while, but it was hard since Tim is on the road all day. We found we were spending time 'reimbursing' envelopes and crazy stuff like that. When we switched to debit, it didn't change the overall impact on us. Tim actually thought a lot harder about purchases than he did when he carried cash. Did he really want to have to justify the $2 coffee purchase on our bank record? Was that pop really worth $1.75? And for me, the impact of the dollar amount on the screen is significant enough for me. Since I look at our budget sheet multiple times a day, I always know exactly how much we have left in each category. If I had a total that came up at the check out that was more than we had available, I would put stuff back (it never happened, but I would have done it).
We did try to make cash work for us. When we saved up to buy new tires, Tim went to the bank and withdrew the $300 from our account and took that with him to the tire store to aid in negotiating the price. It helps when you can say, "I have $300 in cash. You can take it now, or I'll go find some one else who will." It also keeps you from spending any more than you had allotted.
I think we still got the main point of the cash system. For us, it wasn't a matter of fear of change. It was just a practicality issue (and wanting the rewards to a certain extent). We did try it for several months. What do you think? Am I just making excuses? Feel free to call me out!