Cashless Isn’t the Answer – You Need a Smart Checkbook Register

Posted by on May 8, 2013 in Articles | 0 comments


With every passing year, society moves a step closer to being cashless. Online sales have spurred greater and greater use of plastic money (i.e. credit cards and debit cards). Payments through sites like PayPal exploded. Internet growth prompted traditional banks to allow customers greater online access to accounts to compete with virtual banks. Electronic fund transfers are the norm. Pay days are often handled by way of direct deposit. A cashless society may seem perfect, but there’s a big problem with it.

You see, cash is personal. With cash in hand, there’s a greater feeling of control of your money. We have more difficulty handing over cold hard cash for a purchase than we do swiping a card. The swipe doesn’t register in our brains.

Economic behaviorists, including Richard Thaler, from the University of Chicago, and Drazen Prelec, from MIT, contend that using debit cards and credit cards causes a cognitive decoupling during the transaction process. In short, our mental hard wiring doesn’t fully detect this type of spending activity and consequently does not set off the normal mental alarms, which are there to help us govern our spending. In other words, our minds do not perceive the very important causal connection between spending and account balance awareness. When you spend cash, you see and often feel your account balance going down because of your spending. When we see that, our minds register that our balance is now lower. No such perception of an account balance reduction occurs with a swipe of a plastic card or an online electronic transfer. Without that perception, you lose financial control.

Cash isn’t necessarily the answer either. While cash works for in-person purchases, it’s an impossible payment method for many of the transactions we have to make. Try to rent a car or book a hotel room with cash. The only way to maintain financial control is to track your money… all of it.

Tracking cash is easy. You either have it in your wallet or you don’t. However, fewer and fewer of us are carrying cash these days. We’re relying on plastic money as well as PayPal and other online transactions. Tracking is fundamental to financial control; therefore, if it’s plastic, you need to track it, which is why banks always gave away free checkbook registers. However, now you need a smart checkbook register, a robust method to track all of the different accounts you probably have. You need to be able to track:

  • Checking accounts
  • Cash accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Multiple credit card accounts
  • Utility payment accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Direct deposits
  • Automated payments

To make matters more difficult, your accounts are interrelated. A direct deposit increases your checking account balance while at the same time an automated payment will be decreasing it. Even a simple transfer from one account to another needs to be tracked. Automated transactions, including both deposits and withdrawals, now occur without any action on your part. Without a system to track these, you cannot know your account balance, and without knowing your account balance you have no financial control.

Tracking is the answer, and there are plenty of ways you can track your money. You can use Excel or other spreadsheet programs, and there are apps like Mint and also online banking. However none of these copes with the psychology of spending. In other words, these do nothing to overcome the disconnect that occurs between electronic spending and account balance awareness. These methods don’t force you to track at the critical moment – at the red-hot moment of transaction.

Some people find that keeping a money log with a simple notebook and writing down every single cent they spend is a solution. While that method captures the psychology of spending since you write everything as you spend, it does not cope with the complexity of all of your accounts and their relationships to each other.

A new smart electronic checkbook register, the Debit Tracker, provides a solution and helps you track more efficiently. This handheld, electronic smart register does the job of a bookkeeper for all of your accounts, enabling you to keep track of direct deposits and automated payments, and gives you the opportunity to enter every payment at the moment of transaction, the most critical moment for you to maintain financial control. Unlike online banking, apps, or software programs, this smart register is totally secure and works in real time and increases awareness of your spending habits.

You can have the benefits of being cashless without giving up financial control. “When money is tight and it’s gotta be right, track it or lack it.”

Watch a video on why you need a smart checkbook register:

The Debit Tracker is the first smart money tracker that delivers real financial control while enabling users to manage multiple financial accounts electronically and in real time. This innovative smart money tracker lets users track up to 50 different accounts with over 100 spending categories. Plus it provides Bill Alerts, so you know which bills are being paid every day via auto-withdrawal. Learn more about this smart checkbook register at: Also, be sure to read Good Habits, Good Life! 5 Habits to Build Wealth… One Step at a Time, written by Reed Armstead, to learn more about the relationship between money and happiness as well as keys to escape debt and build wealth.

Reed Armstead, co-founded Debit Tracker, Inc. and now serves as the CEO running the day-to-day operations. With the responsibility for research and development to implement the best features for the product, he also takes responsibility for the overall direction of the company and its important advocacy strategy.

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