PODCAST Episode #5
You Make Different Choices with Cash

How Monopoly money correlates to Your Money

You spend more money when you use a credit card than if you’re with cash or a debit card. That’s because it feels like playing with Monopoly money. Listen in to see how different clients got drastic results by switching from multiple cards to a single bank card. Are you brave enough to take the February no credit card spending challenge?




“The board game Monopoly was originally published by Parker Brothers (now Hasbro) in 1935.  It is a game of negotiation, resource management, financial management, and strategy. Maybe you’ve played it. Or, maybe you’ve started a game and never finished a game. I know that’s true for me and my family. We have never finished a game of monopoly. 

You’re probably thinking. Uh, Laura, I’m here to learn how to handle real money, not monopoly money. My question to you is, are you?

Look, if you’re looking to make a spending plan based on your family’s values. I 100% can help you there. In fact, I created the Better Budget Bootcamp to help you. You need to create a values-based spending plan, also known as a budget. 

But let’s be honest. A lot of people that hear the word budget say, “oh, I do not like that.” And a lot of people that are following me have a very hard time taking credit cards off the table.

What do credit cards and Monopoly have in common?


Studies show that people spend 18% more money when using a credit card. Why do you think that is? It’s because it feels like Monopoly money. It feels like it’s not real. It feels like a piece of paper that belongs in a game. That I can give back to the banker at the end of the game. 

I always wanted to be the banker. I love playing with money.  I love using the cash register at my dad’s store. I’ve just always been a person that loves being the banker. I don’t know why. 

In Monopoly, you can leverage yourself out the eyeballs. And at the end of the game, it doesn’t matter. You turn in your cards, and you turn in your houses and hotels, and you turn in that cute little dog token. You turn in what little bit of money you have left. You fold everything up, you put it in the closet. And then you don’t have to worry about it. 

That’s what it’s like when you swipe a card. None of it really matters.  I can play with it later. 

Intellectually we know that’s not true. We know we have to pay our credit cards back. Or at least most of us do. 

I didn’t. 

Growing up my parents gave me a gas card. It was for Exxon Mobile, and it wasn’t even a card. I didn’t even have to get a card out. This cute little thing that went on my key chain, I just had to flash it in front of the gas pump, and it filled up my tank. 

I think it was called a key fob. 

This was back when you could fill a tank of gas for 20 whole dollars. But it wasn’t real money to me. Because I didn’t have to pay it back. I never saw any of the negativity involved with just swiping my little gas pass and moving on. I just filled up and continued going. 

To me, my gas credit card was Monopoly money. And that is how I moved forward in my life. 

I went to college and the first thing that happened: I was walking along the courtyard, going from my dorm to the commissary. And there’s this guy standing outside with a sign that says free pizza. 

All I had to do was sign my name on the dotted line and I got a free pizza. Hello first credit card? Yes, let’s do it. I got this credit card and I thought, oh, well, I’ll just use it for emergencies. 

But emergencies turned into, I can’t afford to fly home for Christmas. I’ll just put it on this card. 

Emergencies turn into buying a cute new dress to go out with my friends on a Friday night. 

Emergencies turned into I want to go out to dinner with my friends.

Emergencies turned into I can’t pay cash for drinks tonight, so I’m just going to swipe my card. 

You see, when you’re playing with a credit card, it doesn’t feel like anything because you’re playing with Monopoly money. Truthfully the pain centers of your brain don’t feel anything when you use a credit card. When you have physical cash in your hand and you hand it over to a person the pain centers of your brain go off. 

You’re thinking I don’t want pain centers in my brain going off. Don’t worry. It doesn’t physically hurt. But it does make you think twice before handing over money. 

Let’s say you go out to dinner, and you get the check. You put a $100 bill down in the tray to give back to the waiter. They’re not bringing you that $100 bill back. It’s gone. You’ve lost it. You’ve eaten it. They will bring back your change or maybe that’s their tip. And you’re going on about your day. Never to see that $100 bill again. 

There’s something about handing over that cash money. That just kind of hurts a little bit. 

I get that. And I don’t want money to be painful. Not for me. Not for you. I want you to have made a choice ahead of time. And I’ve said I’m spending $100 on dinner tonight. And I’m not going to feel sad about it. That’s where we’re going to get to eventually. 

When you use a credit card. You hand it over to the person and they hand it back to you. There’s no harm, no foul. It doesn’t feel like anything. And you can go right back to feeling like you’re playing with Monopoly money. Then you just put it up at the end of the day, pack it away, and don’t worry about it until the next time you pull out the board game. 

But the next time you pull up the board game, it’s going to be a bill. And on that bill, it’s going to say in big bold letters, here’s your penalty. Oh, that’s right. The banks don’t call it that. They call it interest. Interest on a debt is a penalty. You are paying a penalty on your choice to go out to dinner. 

Now with a debit card, you get a little bit of both. You do get your card back. But there’s an understanding and an acknowledgement that this debit card has real cash attached to it. It is a little easier to swipe. I know I am guilty of going to the gas station, putting it my debit card, pulling it out and going on about my day, not remembering how much I actually spent until I balance my checkbook later in the week. 

You don’t pay the same amount of attention when you’re paying with a card. Not the way that you need to be. Here’s what I’m mean by this. One of my clients this week had taken on paying cash for certain things. They’ve been using a debit card instead of a credit card. They haven’t completely cut up all of their credit cards. But they have cut up most of them. We’re slowly easing into this whole debt is not an option thing. But they have found that they make different choices when they’re using the cash in their bank account. 

My client actually said, “by being aware, we spent less money.” 

Over the last month, their first month of budgeting, they actually spent less money than they did the month before on the same things they were buying before. They did that because they had to be more intentional. They can see how much was in their account. And they knew if they spent this money today, they wouldn’t have it for next week for groceries. If they spent it today they wouldn’t have it next week to put gas in the car. If they spent the money today they wouldn’t have it as spend for their son’s piano lessons. Whatever it is that they have coming up in the future, they knew that if they spent the money today, they wouldn’t have it later. 

And when you don’t have a credit card, there’s no backup plan. There’s no way to swipe their credit card. Because they took that off the table. 

And here’s another thing. They’re a married couple. In the past they were using multiple credit cards and multiple bank accounts. She would look at their bank account and say, “oh my goodness, we have so much money today.  I’m going to go out and spend this money.” But what she didn’t know was that her husband had already set up an automatic payment for another credit card. 

So she gets to Costco. Goes through the whole store. Gets to the checkout line. And, the cashier says, “I’m so sorry, ma’am. There’s no money on this card.”

She’s completely mortified. She has to pull out her credit card. And she was like, “oh, I’m so sorry. I used the wrong card,” pulls out another card and swipes it. Everything’s fine. She was so embarrassed, and it was stressful. But that’s what happens when you use multiple different accounts and use one account to pay off the other. 

You see, they weren’t on the same page. Having this card pay off that card, moving things around so much…. They added stress and confusion to their life when there did not need to be stress and confusion. There’s too much going on in the world to have stress and confusion going on in your bank account. 

By saying here’s our one account. We’re only going to be spending money out of the debit account. We know our income is in here. And we’re only spending the money we make. By doing that, they made better choices. They spent less money, and they had a less stress in their life. That’s what I want for you too. I want less stress in your life. 

Is that what you want? 

Let’s say you don’t believe me. You don’t believe that because you only use your credit card for the things you’re going to buy any way. I want to challenge you. For one month –  for the 28 days of February – don’t use a credit card. Only use a debit card or cash. I promise you; you will make different decisions.

I promise you that going through the checkout line at Target, you’re not going to pick up an extra snack. I promise you that going home from a long day, you’re not going to stop at McDonald’s four times a week. Because you’re going to make different choices. You only have cash to spend. Money in your bank account. 

Now, I don’t know what your life is like. Maybe you’re saying “I make so much money that it doesn’t matter if I buy an extra soda.” That’s fine. I want you to be able to get that soda whenever you want it. I want you to be able to stop at Starbucks whenever you want it. That’s what I want for you. 

But right now, take my challenge. Choose to only spend cash. Or spend the money that’s in your bank account already. Choose for one month not to use your credit card. And I promise you, you will spend less money. 

I’d love to hear your results. Please feel free to DM me about this or any other money question on Instagram @AccelerateYourLegacy. You can also shoot me an email. My website is listed below in the show notes. I am here for you. 100%. I want to see you win with money. I want you to ditch debt and I want you to become outrageously wealthy. And outrageously generous. 

You make different choices when you use cash than you would when you’re playing with Monopoly money. I’m so excited to see how you win this month. I will talk with you next time.”