Stick to a Budget Without Cash: Use @MasterCard #PrePaid #MC

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias Social Fabric community.  I have been compensated to share my experience with you by Collective Bias and their client, Mastercard.  My words and opinions are my own.

Stick to a Budget Without Cash | MoneywiseMoms

Have you heard of the cash envelope system? It’s touted by many as the way to stick to a budget, since you can only spend what you have in your hand. But it’s never worked for us. Or I guess I should say me, since I’m the one who does all the shopping:  food, clothing, household, etc. The times I’ve tried to do the envelope system, I can’t make it work. I don’t like carrying all that money, especially since I don’t spend the same amount of money every week (I buy in bulk). What if I lose it or drop it? I’ve lost my coupon organizer many times over the years, which left me in tears, and that wasn’t even “real” money. And what if you’re just not trustworthy? Like yes, you’re an adult, but you can’t trust yourself with cash? That might be me, too. Cash just seems to disappear sometimes. Just saying.

So is there a way to Stick to a Budget Without Cash? Yes!

MasterCard Prepaid | Use a Prepaid MasterCard to Stick to a Budget

Using a Prepaid MasterCard is the answer for people like me who prefer to use plastic but need to stick to a “cash” budget. Here’s an example: our clothing budget (for all five of us) is $200/month, including shoes. It’s really hard to stick to that when there are good sales, or I get emails offering coupon codes and free shipping, or all three kids outgrow their shoes in the same month (!). With a Prepaid Card, I can load $200 to start, and that keeps me on track. I can use the card online (you can’t do that with a cash envelope), and it’s a lot more convenient than carrying an envelope around to stores. This way, I physically can’t spend more than what I have.

A Prepaid MasterCard can be safer than cash. You can register the card, and then if it gets lost or stolen, you can recover the money. It’s also a great option for people trying to repair their credit, since you don’t need a credit check or bank account to get one. Some proponents of the cash envelope system suggest using your debit card rather than cash; the problem with that is you can rack up overdraft charges plus be liable for loss and fraud, moreso than with a credit card or prepaid credit card.

I love the idea of letting my kids, when they’re older, shop on their own budget for clothing. With a teen, you can send them out with one of these Prepaid Cards–there’s no danger of them running it up, but they learn how to shop on a budget.

Types of Prepaid Cards | Use a Prepaid MasterCard to Stick to a Budget

It is easy to get a Prepaid Card for use to stick to a budget without cash. This can work if you’re someone (like me!) who has trouble staying on budget while trying to achieve your financial goals.

Original image from TechnoHippyBiker at Flickr


  1. Prepaid is the way to go! No worries going over your budget! Nice job! #client

  2. Great tips, may I just add, I think everyone should have discipline first when handling money. No matter what age we all need to know that we can face a financial problem at any time. We have to set our mind into saving a percentage of our check no matter what, and to achieve this we need to have discipline other wise we’ll just form part of the big percentage of people who don’t know how manage their money and blows it up the first pay day.

  3. I have a question though, dont the pre paid cards come with fees? how are you saving if your still having to pay fees with the little budgets for each expense?
    Kassie recently posted..Men’s Stocking Stuffers & the Walgreens Holiday Gift GuideMy Profile

    • Yes, Kassie, many of the cards do come with fees (though some are as low as $1/month). For users who cannot control credit card debt, that $1-3 month fee is preferable to ongoing interest charges and the negative credit rating. If someone is trying to rebuild their credit history or otherwise avoid debt, a known monthly fee would be a better choice.