30 Days Challenge Living with Cash


Take your wallet now and see how much money you carry inside. Will it last you the whole week? Living in today’s cashless society, we got so used to being pampered by all the cash-back rewards, credit card promos, airline miles and other perks that simply aimed to make people spend more.

LiveOlive team took this subject into a discussion, and each of us tried to verify if cash is still king by living with only cash for 30 days. These are our conclusions:

We Became More Frugal

Most of us didn’t like to see our savings dwindle. Therefore, we ended up decreasing our spending during the 30 days of challenge. Without realizing it, we set our budget lower than usual. “I went to a book store to buy a gift for my friend. When I saw a cute notebook for myself, normally I would have just taken both and charged to credit card. But since I only had cash, I had to stick to the planned purchase,” said LiveOlive’s founder Jocelyn Pantastico.

Then, after a few trips to the ATMs –we could only go to ATMs to withdraw money– we chose to carry a larger amount of money and disperse the cash in some of our bags, just in case we changed our bags and ran out of money.

We Spent More Time at the Bank

The hardest time for us to stick with cash was at the beginning of the month. It is not easy to manually pay bills and distribute our paycheck into different bank accounts. Those transactions that usually took less than five minutes via ATMs would require at least an hour to do via bank teller. “Besides the fact that we don’t have to go to the banks, the administration fee via ATM is cheaper. For example, I could pay my credit card bill through the ATM for free, while I had to queue and pay Rp 10,000 when I paid the bill through bank teller,” said Citra Wikastri, LiveOlive’s digital marketing manager.         

We Tend to Overlook Our Spending  

Throughout the challenge, we learnt that we tend to underestimate our own spending –or maybe, we were in denial. We think that we are thriftier than we really are. This is why some of us ended up going to the ATMs more often than we should. Well, having enough cash in hand is good, but here are the downsides; cash gets attention and gives us the illusion that we are richer. Let’s be honest, when you are carrying a bulky wallet filled with fifty thousand rupiah bills, you can’t help to feel insecure and want to dispense them or turn them into a pair of cute wedges or a shiny bag that you don’t actually need.           

We Couldn’t Resist Temptations

At some points, all of us failed to complete the challenge with flying colors. While I failed to save my debit card to pay for my impulsive “buy 2 get 3” purchase, the others failed for more noble reasons, such as buying toys for dear son at home, buying groceries with credit card to get a small discount, or paying with credit card at Starbucks to get free coffee and pastry.

If you would like to try this experiment with cash, do it with a clear goal at the end of the period. Like a diet, it is not a good idea to deprive ourselves of shopping for no reason at all. However, if you ask us, will we do it again? Absolutely!          

Tip: You can take a sum of money at the beginning of the week and dispense it on a daily basis. Adjust the amounts as you go along, save your paper receipts and see if you end up spending less when you are spending paper vs. plastic.

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