Cash use has declined rapidly over the past few months, as shoppers have been encouraged to use their cards where possible instead. Recent analysis by ATM network Link found on average, there was a 60% annual fall in the volume of cash machine withdrawals across the UK in April.
In addition, more than a third (37%) of people say they have still not yet used one of the new JMW Turner £20 Bank of England banknotes that have been in circulation since February, according to a survey from Nationwide Building Society carried out in June.
But in being more distanced from physical notes and coins, could also be putting us at risk of becoming more detached from our own finances?
When paying for items with a few swipes of a card, for example, or clicking the ‘buy’ button online, instead of handing over a pile of banknotes, this may make some people less aware of the extent of their spending.
So, if this is the case, how can you reconnect with your finances? Here, Elle McAtamney from TopCashback.co.uk shares five top tips for managing your money more mindfully.
1. Stay connected with cash on some level
Many of us have become used to doing more of our shopping online rather than in person in recent months. But while you may not be using much physical cash right now, you can still maintain some level of connection.
You could try just saving small amounts of cash each week in a jar or an old-fashioned piggy bank. Think of it like pocket money for something fun, or for a rainy day.
Watching tangible money accumulate can be satisfying and spur you on to save even more. When you start to build up larger amounts though, make sure you deposit it somewhere where it is safe and the money can earn interest.
2. Work out your salary per hour
For many of us, it’s easy to scatter our spending here or there, whether it’s £30 on a new dress or £20 on toiletries. You may not give too much thought to these smaller transactions in the context of a monthly pay cheque.
But if you start to break your pay per month down and work out what smaller purchases actually cost you in terms of the number of hours you will have to physically work to pay for them, you may think twice before buying. Are those new trainers really worth half a day’s work?
3. Opt for companies that communicate well
Buying things with a tap or a click of a mouse makes our purchases ‘faceless’ and may push us towards becoming even more detached from our finances. It’s only when you check in on your online banking or statement at the end of the month that the reality bites.
Some banks and finance apps will update their customers about their spending and savings habits more effectively than others, so that the reality is unavoidable. Being in close communication with how and where your finances are being directed will help you stay connected and closer to a financial reality.
4. Write it down
We’re not talking passwords and Pins, which could be stolen if written down. If you’re at a loss when someone asks you how much you spend on bills each month, maybe it’s time to re-familiarise yourself. Keeping tabs on your outgoings will bring them to life more, too.
There’s a budget planner on the MoneySavingExpert website if you need help getting started. MoneySavingExpert also has a guide to help with bills during the coronavirus pandemic (moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/03/uk-coronavirus-help-and-your-rights).
5. Start your day off by checking your bank balance
This will remind you about any payments and bills that may have come out, that you may have forgotten about. It may also help to divide your income by the number of days until payday. That way, you’ll roughly know if you’re on track spending wise each day, or if you need to rein it back for a day or two.