How much cash is in your wallet right now? Could you buy a pack of gum without reaching for your debit card?
When I first left home, I remember my father telling me to always carry at least $40 in cash– a $20 bill, a $10 bill, a $5 bill and five singles.† Thatís enough for a cab or your share of the restaurant bill. And, most important to my dad, cash enables you to leave exact change plus tip at the end of your meal at the diner — no waiting around for them to run your card.
I try to follow my dadís advice. Right now, I have $20 in my wallet (a $10 bill, a $5 bill and five singles). And, since my brush with bank account theft, Iíve been trying to use cash more. But Iíve also been noticing that most people I know live a nearly cash-less lifestyle.
A co-worker told me how her family wanted to flip a coin to make a decision — and couldnít find a coin (another co-worker joked that she should have flipped a credit card). A good number of my co-workers needed to ďgo get cashĒ so they could contribute a dollar to our office lottery pool. And, a couple nights ago, my friends and I presented our waitress with six debit cards and a sheet of scribbles showing how much to charge to each card.
Various studies have documented our evolving relationship with cash and plastic — and how our relationship with plastic may not always be a healthy one. A November 2011 Journal of Consumer Research study found that our increasing reliance on plastic is causing us to spend more. Another Journal of Consumer Research study from October 2010 found that shopping with plastic causes us to buy more junk food.
Yet, although plastic might make us spend more, consumers enjoy the convenience of cards — and the luxury of having all the money in their bank accounts available at all times. In the UK, a recent CardSave survey found that more than a third of Brits expect cash to be extinct by 2025 — and feel frustrated when businesses donít accept cards. Sweden, meanwhile, is making deliberate efforts to become a cash-less society. And, with technology like card readers that plug into your phone and person-to-person mobile money transfers, those last few things we all use cash for (like paying the babysitter) will no longer require a trip to the ATM.
With paper and plastic money-spending habits in mind, here are some of the best personal finance blog posts of the week:
If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the ‘Post to Facebook’ box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.
Advertising Disclosure: CreditCardGuide.com is an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. The owner of this website may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website.
*Every attempt has been made to present accurate information. However, all credit card information is presented without guarantee. After clicking on an offer, you will be taken to the credit card issuer's website where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.