Working adults with busy lifestyles are always on the go and often lose track of the little things which matter.
Perhaps you have already forgotten what happened to those three fifty-dollar bills you had at the start of the week. Or perhaps you like to free your wallet of all the heavy coins it contained, only to forget about the spare change you left behind.
If you are relying exclusively on cash for everyday spending, you could be making a larger dent in your finances than you think.
In a recent study, it was found that people lose an average of US$365 (S$457) a year in loose change.
The Visa Payment Attitudes Study also found that the same amount of money lost or forgotten is equivalent to 6.5 grammes of gold. The same amount can be used to support a family of four in Bangladesh for a year.
Singapore topped the list of 11 countirs surveyed, with a total of US$656 (S$821) lost in forgotten cash each year.
So how do you get out of the cash trap? Here are four key points you should keep in mind.
1) Keep it secure
Your money is always there for you, only you can access it and by using a debit card, you will be less likely to end up with heavy coins or crumpled notes that are often ignored or left unused.
You should ensure that your money is safe when you make purchases online.
Legitimate businesses with secure sites usually offer an extra layer of protection through identity authentication services.
Identity authentication services such as Verified by Visa require a password before purchases can be made. All you need to do is register your card, either on your card-issuing bank's site or during the checkout process at a participating website.
2) Convenience is king
In today's fast-paced society we are time-strapped and need to be able to make purchases quickly and at our convenience.
There is nothing worse than going to make a payment and realising that you do not have enough cash on you.
Almost half of the study's Singaporean respondents (48 per cent) said that the key reason they have a debit card is so they can use it when they do not have cash. Carrying cash can be inconvenient and can leave you restricted.
Debit cards however, are widely accepted locally, abroad and online. With debit cards, you can buy your groceries, make bill payments over the phone and make purchases online at your convenience. This will save you time and leave you free to get on with other things.
3) Mind your money
The key to spending within your means is to know what your expenses are and to spend less than you make. It may sound simple enough, but so many of us find it a difficult principle to stick to.
A simple way to start is by creating a realistic budget for your expenses. You then need to prioritise your outgoings, sorting out the 'must haves' from the 'would likes'.
It is important to remember your budget and each of your goals when spending money.
Almost half (40 per cent) of the Singaporean respondents said that a debit card helps to keep their finances in check.
If you use a debit card it is easier to spend within your means since each time you spend, the money is drawn directly from your bank account.
In addition, the transactions on your debit card can also be tracked on your bank's website or over the phone.
Your monthly account statement will also provide full details of your purchases, including when and where you made the transaction.
4) Plastic - the global currency
The study also revealed that Singaporeans bring back an average of US$625 (S$782.50) in unused foreign currency after trips abroad.
One in 5 of will either give the spare currency away or just forget about it rather than reusing it.
Rather than carrying large amounts of cash with you abroad, use your debit card. It is widely accepted and will prevent the annoyance of bringing back fistfuls of unused foreign currency. By using a debit card while on vacation, you will also be certain that you are spending only what you have in the bank.
If you want to secure your hard-earned money, take a prudent step to ditch the cash.
A debit card can help give you peace of mind because you know that your hard-earned funds are not lost as forgotten cash but are stored in a secure place that is easily accessible from home and abroad.