How do YOU spend your money? The Invisible Money Experiement

Back in March I was asked if i would like to take part in a little experiment.
Guinea pig? Me? Sure i said, count me in. What’s the catch?
No Catch Payplan said, we just want you to Take part in the Invisible Money Experiment ; spend one week making all your purchases with your card, and then one week solely with cash.
Interesting I thought. I love a good experiment.. Challenge accepted.

What i didn’t expect was that i would actually learn a whole lot about my spending habits by doing this.

The idea behind Payplan’s experiment:

“Is it true, do we really spend more money if we can’t see it?

With most people purchasing day to day items with so called ‘invisible money’, thanks to credit and debit cards, and the advent of contactless payments; this was something we aimed to find out here at PayPlan”

With a licence to shop, all in the name of ‘Research’ of course,
Let the spending commence

Week one: Card only
Easy Peasy I do all my spending on card, with lots of internet shopping. I’m like the queen me, i don’t carry any cash.
For this week I had some gifts to purchase as it was Mothers Day that weekend, it had also just been our monthly payday so I gave myself a few pay-day treats in the form of some shoes bought online from Mango. I also paid some bills with my card and my sons dinner money via the School Dinners website. It was old mother hubbard also and as the cupboards were bear I did my usual  weekly Supermarket shop online and had it delivered to home. All very easy and nothing out of the ordinary as spending freely with my card is pretty standard.

Second week: Cash only
Not so easy :- See queen reference above. I very rarely carry cash, maybe the odd pound here and there. I never draw money out of the ATM (I sometimes just get cashback when i make card payments) or give myself a monetary budget to stick to, so it was very interesting to have to plan what i was doing and think about how much i was going to spend.
I found myself going to the ATM daily to draw out a certain amount after i had thought through what i would need. I paid for my sons dinner money with cash and all of my shopping was done (but a lot less of it this week) with actual money. There was less to spend this week as there were no gifts required, but i also wasn’t buying myself anything as that would require drawing money out, which surprisingly i didn’t want to do.

I filmed a vlog for the first and second week to diarise my spending and thoughts as both weeks went on, then i summarised how i found the whole experiment.

I would love for you to come and have a watch: grab a cuppa and a biscuit and come listen to me talk about how easy it is to spend money.
I promise you will find this interesting!

You can find the vlogs HERE

I finished with a final note on my thoughts and findings from the two weeks and how it’s actually changed my outlook on spending.

I would highly recommend doing the Invisible Money experiment yourself, go ahead, I dare ya. It doesn’t cost anything, its super easy and a real eye opener to spending habits. And if you’re like me you will see how you can put some new better habits in place going forward.

Below is an Infographic put together by the clever people at Payplan to show how spending has changed and how people are now more reliant than ever on card and contactless payment..
Its really interesting

So how do you spend your money?

* I had the pleasure of working with Payplan on this collaboration, all thoughts, and shopping sprees are of course my own



  1. May 25, 2016 / 8:26 am

    Interesting. This would definitely curb my spending, I do almost everything online, the little shopping I do in person is always on a card.
    I think nothing of perusing and making a £50+ order but I'd never go in store and spend that amount!

    • May 25, 2016 / 9:38 am

      Hazel, funny you should mention the Boots situation as i do the same thing! In the last vlog i mention that i was talking to the checkout lady in a shop and didnt even realise how much id spent, it was actually in boots and a small basket of a handful of things equated to £45 unbeknown to me at paying! i was so shocked and it was a real eye opener.

  2. May 25, 2016 / 6:03 pm

    Oh yeah, I totally believe I would also spend a little more paying with card only but I am generally quite good at keeping track of things!


  3. June 8, 2016 / 11:38 am

    I am so terrible when I shop on my card. Its all the little things that add up. When I get back from my holiday next week I am taking on the 100 days no spending challenge and I think a big part of this will be food shopping with cash. I tend to kid myself that things are essential and not really plan meals and then find that I actually don't have anything to make a proper meal in the house!

    Charlotte |

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