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Home > Money Blog > Saving Tips > Top tips for managing spending in a contactless world

Top tips for managing spending in a contactless world

Contactless technology has vastly changed the way we spend. This convenient, simple way to make purchases was introduced a little over 10 years ago – and now, card use as a method of payment is at an all-time high.

As a nation, we’re now making more frequent, smaller card payments than ever before and according to our recent survey, in which we talked to 1,000 parents of under-11s, it’s while in the supermarkets that we’re most tempted to quite literally tap into our money. More than half (61%) told us they’re most likely to use contactless payments while doing their food shop, while – and here’s the real problem – nearly one in five (17%) admit to making more impulsive purchases thanks to the rise of contactless technology. It’s these one-off, little-thought-about purchases that all mount up, and at the end of the month, we’re left wondering where all our money has gone.

So how can we keep an eye on our spending and manage our finances as we hurtle further towards a much-discussed paperless and cashless society? We take a look at some top tips for how you can keep a handle on your finances in this world of so-called frictionless spending.

Bring back the weekly food shop

A simple one, but doing this could help you break down your grocery budget into more manageable chunks and leave you with a better idea of where you stand week in, week out. At the beginning of every month, divide your budget into the number of weeks in the month, and visit the supermarket weekly – and take cash to pay at the checkout. You’re less likely to go into the supermarket throughout the week, and as a result, less likely to spend without thinking.

Carry cash on your person

Of course, you don’t want to make yourself a vulnerable target with a huge wad in your back pocket, but do try to carry small amounts of cash where possible and use this as your ‘pot’ for the next couple of days. Nearly one in five (18%) people don’t carry enough cash on them to make planned purchases, so they rely on contactless – but this only serves to make them more prone to overspending.

Budget for the week

Have a think about what you’re likely to spend over the coming week – then create a budget and stick to it. More than a quarter (28%) of people we spoke to admitted that since using contactless payment methods, they find it much harder to keep track of their spending, while one in 10 (9%) even said they don’t recognise all the charges on their bank statement at the end of the month.

Track your spending

Be it via an app, on your phone’s notepad or simply using a good-old fashioned handwritten list, you can keep abreast of all your outgoings. Thanks to the ease of contactless payments, one in six (16%) people routinely completely forget what they’ve spent on. By listing out all your purchases, you’ll have a much clearer idea of what you’ve spent each month – and how much you have left.

Consider need vs want

We’ve all been there a thousand times: you’re queuing to pay for the essentials and reach the counter, only to be faced with a deluge of tempting offers. You give in because, well, it’s only a quick tap of the card and you’ll not really notice that extra couple of quid. But it’s all these little impulse buys that really add up at the end of the month. Get into the habit of taking a step back and asking yourself whether you really need the item that’s taken your fancy. If not, put it back. You might be surprised at how making better decisions like this will amount to quite a bit extra sitting in your account at the end of the month.

Set a goal

Instil some motivation in yourself by setting a savings goal, whether long-term or short-term. Maybe you’d like to put a deposit down on a house in the near future, or you’re planning to jet off to sunnier climes for your annual holiday? Having your goal at the forefront of your mind will mean you’re more likely to succeed in saving money, or perhaps put more accurately, not impulsively spend on contactless.

Of course, contactless technology makes our lives that little bit easier by enabling quicker, fuss-free payments on purchases. But taking the time to better manage our spending and keeping tabs on those smaller payments is the answer to a healthier bank balance and keeping control of our finances.

Be sure to find out how to manage contactless spending and how to introduce children to contactless shopping with Progressive Money.


Survey of 1000 British parents (with children aged 2 – 11) who use contactless technology provided by 72point in January 2018.
*Of these participants, 34% report that their children do/have used contactless technology. The percentage shown represents the number of responses received.



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