How do you Shop Online when you are on a cash budget?

Published on October 14, 2016 by Lauren


I receive reader question daily and this is a fabulous question that I received last week:

How do I shop online when I am on a cash budget?“.

Well to start off with, for years I did not shop online at all – when we were at our hardest time financially I had to say no to most online deals, which is very hard!  In my book The Recovering Spender I talk all about my issues with online shopping.  One of my boundaries was that I only shopped online when I have money in paypal through selling something on Ebay or through taking at home surveys.

The problem that I had was that I wanted the deals online, but with using cash I had a real problem with getting those deals without going over budget.  I found some Ninja tricks that worked for me and wanted to share them with you.

Here are some ways that you can shop online while still using a cash budget:

1.) You can skip using physical cash and use the ProActive Budget App.

The Proactive Budget App is a digitalized cash envelope system.  You set your money up in the app in digital envelopes and your account comes with a special ProActive Debit card.  In order for you to spend money in one of your envelopes open the App, Tap an envelope and then use your ProActive Debit card.

You can create a cash envelope for ‘Online Spending’ and then spend directly out of that category.  Here is a video that shows you a bit more about the App.

The app is a paid app, but if you refuse to use cash but still want the cash envelope feel, this may be a great option. You can hook more than 1 debit card up to the same account, so that is convenient for if one of you needs to stop on the way home from work to grab something.

Sign up for the ProActive Budget App here.

2.) Sign up for a Prepaid Debit card

Our favorite prepaid card is the AccountNow® Gold Visa® Prepaid Card. You can easily transfer money to and from your checking account for easy use to spend online.

You can earn a $15 credit by signing up if you have money direct deposited into this account every month.

Sign up for an AccountNow® Gold Visa® Prepaid Card here.

3.) Use Swagbucks to earn money for online shopping.

It is very realistic that you can earn $5 in Amazon gift cards per month, you can save those up and use those for items like diapers, snacks, toilet paper, batteries + more!

Read more about How to make the most out of Swagbucks


What are some ways that you shop online and still use a cash budget?  I would love to hear them.