It’s easier than ever before to spend money. In a world of credit cards, PayPal, and peer-to-peer transfer apps like Venmo, there doesn’t seem to be as much use for cash. It’s not uncommon for Americans to not carry cash, some don’t even carry credit cards since they’re able to pay with a simple scan of their phone. Yet, cash still serves many purposes beyond when you want to gift a friend a crisp $100 for their wedding or birthday.
Carrying cash is an important habit that still serves important roles in our lives. In fact, a wallet is arguably incomplete with a sufficient supply of greenbacks. See below for 4 reasons it’s still important to carry cash:
1. To be prepared in case of emergencies/opportunities that require cash.
First and foremost, this is the most important reason to carry cash. You never know what can happen, and you should always be prepared. Even in this digital world, there are a number of things that still require cash. Restaurants, vending machines, campsites, and parking lots are a few where you may be surprised that they only accept cash when you reach for your credit card. Carrying cash is a simple way to avoid a stressful situation when you’re trying to celebrate or enjoy yourself!
2. To pay and tip service providers more generously.
While many restaurants and service providers have a traditional credit card machine that allows you to tip, the credit card transaction costs them a percentage of the purchase price, plus a small fee per transaction. Since merchants have to pay those fees, the gratuity you leave may also take a cut. Cash tips can also be taken home at the end of the days, whereas credit card tips are often added in later to their paycheck. Digital tipping is also not always available for those who aren’t directly involved in a customer transaction. Hotel concierges, airport shuttle drivers, and valets may miss out on an appreciated trip if you’re not carrying cash. With this in mind, cash is a more generous way to pay and tip.
3. To discipline your spending habits.
If you live by the cash envelope budgeting system as a means to manage your money, you must have cash on you. One of the reasons this is effective is because you see the money physically being spent or saved. Credit card make it too easy to spend money. With just the swipe the of a card, you can spend $10 or $100 just as easily. The physical action of handing over cash is a lot more difficult than spending cash. In addition, it’s an easier way to budget for discretionary spending since you’ll be able to see how much you’ve already spent. And lastly, credit cards enable us to spend money that we don’t have and it’s easy to control. Many people typical don’t realize the total they’ve spent at the end of the month until they see the credit card bill. If you’re using cash, it’ll be easier to see when you’ve hit your limit.
4. To protect your privacy.
Credit card spending generates a lot of personalized data and a non-paper trail may be preferred in some situations. Since cash is anonymous and untraceable it can enable you to operate outside the digital financial system when necessary.