Why you should never withdraw money from an ATM and how to break the habit. This is the easiest step you can take to protect your budget. See your excuses shredded from why you need it and how to prevent yourself in the future.
Never Withdraw Money from the ATM – The Secret to Saving Money
I’m 40 years old and I have never used an ATM machine. I’m fairly certain I could figure it out but I still wouldn’t be able to. Why? Because I have never known the 4 digit code to any of my debit cards.
When the 4 digit codes come in the mail, I immediately shred them. The last time I received a credit/debit card they wanted me to set the 4 digit code at the bank. I asked the banker to set the code for me so I would not know it.
I touched on this briefly in my post about how to save money as a single mom. If I had to choose one strategy for saving money this would be it. Never, ever use your debit card to withdraw money. Furthermore, make it impossible for you to do so. I see no reason to ever need to withdraw money.
How Refusing to Withdraw Money from the ATM Saves Money
As anyone who has continuously withdrawn money out of their ATM until they finally realized they are out of money in their account knows, it can be a dangerous game.
It can also be time-consuming to constantly check your balance and decide if you have enough to cover this new unexpected expense.
If you are living by a budget, then you would have withdrawn the cash for the week already by going to the bank. Withdrawing money from the ATM is always outside of your budget and will not allow you to save money.
Related: 44 Ways to Easily Save Money
Make it Impossible for Yourself to Withdraw Money From the ATM
As mentioned above, it’s pretty simple to make it impossible for you to even make a withdraw.
- Refuse to memorize your 4 digit PIN. This is a one time action. Banks are changing how this is done so it always differs slightly but usually your PIN is sent separately through the mail and you do not set it. Simple – shred it when it arrives. Open it to make sure that’s what it is then shred it.
- Some banks have you set the PIN at the bank. I had my teller set the PIN for me. If they refuse, throw out a random 4 digit number you don’t think you’ll remember or bring along your kid and have them give the teller a number. There are plenty of ways around this.
- One bank recently made me verify my PIN in order to get my new credit card authorized. This took some work on my part as I needed my credit card working but I didn’t know my PIN. In the end, I had to go into the bank and show my driver’s license to get it activated.
Why You Don’t Need To Know Your PIN
I’ve yet to have an actual reason to get money from an ATM.
Recently over the weekend, an event came up that I felt like I needed cash for. I had less than $5 on me – in change and we just found out about a fundraising event we really wanted to go but it was all cash. I had to ask myself why I felt like I “needed” to go. It was obviously a last-minute expense since I hadn’t planned it.
In the end, I told the kids we could go but we couldn’t do all the activities. During the event, the kids asked what I would do if there was an emergency since I couldn’t withdraw money from the ATM.
I explained if my car breaks down or if we have a house emergency like a plumbing emergency then I still have a checkbook and a credit card for emergencies.
Using Debit Cards as Credit
Some cards are credit and debit cards. When you process your transaction, it can look like you need to process it as debit and you have to enter your PIN. You don’t. Just hit cancel.
Sometimes that cancels out the whole transaction and you just need to tell the cashier you want to use your debit card as credit. I’ve never been turned down and like I said, I’ve never in my life known my PIN.