More and more people are using credit and debit cards for rewards, insurance, and convenience. Another MoneyNing blogger even asked if carrying large amounts of cash was outdated.
But to me, cash is still king.
I should qualify my statement, since I do pay all my monthly bills electronically. What I’m really talking about is our discretionary spending. In our budget, discretionary/entertainment spending is just another bill — which we pay weekly by withdrawing our allocated amount from the ATM each Friday afternoon.
My wallet is fat and my smile wide; the bulge in my back pocket is a constant reminder that my finances will stay on track because I’m using cash.
Why I Use (And Love) Cash
1. You don’t need to track spending
Don’t get me wrong: we track our spending. Each weekly and monthly expense is tracked in a spreadsheet so we can analyze and duplicate those expenses each month.
Discretionary spending, however, is a single weekly expense. Each individual purchase we make with the entertainment funds is a big “Don’t care.” I don’t need to track that we spent $50 going to a movie as a family, $30 on Subway for lunch, or $10 on canvas for an art project my daughter wanted to do. What we spent our discretionary funds on is irrelevant to us — as long as we stay within our allocated budget.
2. You know exactly how much you have left
I tried making all my purchases with my debit card. I found that I was constantly wondering exactly how much I’d spent. I could save all my receipts and add them up, or I could check the account online — but I always seemed to forget something, or there would be a transaction that hadn’t posted yet.
Carrying cash keeps me on top of how much of our entertainment funds are left. When my wife asks me, “How much money do we have left for the weekend?” I simply open my wallet and count what’s left. When it’s gone, we’re done spending.
3. You have peace of mind
Though there’s always the threat of your wallet being lost or stolen, there’s also the threat of a bank mistake or financial breach. I get peace of mind by physically looking at the funds I have available. No bank error will cause my card to be declined, resulting in embarrassment and inconvenience. If I want to buy something, cash is always accepted.
Carrying cash for our discretionary spending makes me feel free. Because the lump sum withdrawal is accounted for in our budget, spending the cash is just using money that’s already spent.
Do you like cash for any similar reasons? Or are you strictly a card person?