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Why You Should Carry Cash In A Credit Card Society

Why Everyone (And We Mean Everyone) Should Always Carry Cash

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The use of plastic currency is very common in today’s world. In fact, stores that don’t accept debit and credit cards are becoming anomalies.

However, a little cash stash should always be included in everyone’s everyday carry supplies. There are many reasons why cash money could become important, ranging from purely convenience to absolute necessity.

When might cash matter? Aside from the idea that practicing a cash-only personal finance is a great way to keep from spending more than you can afford, cash can bail you out of sticky situations.

Off-grid establishments still exist. From a remote country gas station to a rustic hiking hostel to a roadside farm stand, you never know when you might need a little cash money to pay for what you want. Encountering a place which lacks the capability to accept plastic payment is still not that uncommon, particularly in rural areas.

Imagine the serendipity of being out for a drive and happening upon a delightful little mom-and-pop diner with the smells of your favorite food wafting from the kitchen—only to discover that they accept cash only and you have none. Sure, you could make the drive to the nearest ATM, some 10 miles of winding country road each way, but you probably would not.

Sometimes even when establishments do accept plastic, it is nice to have a little cash on hand. Paper money can make splitting the check or paying your share of the tip easier, and it is convenient to have a few dollars in your wallet when all you want is a soda or pack of gum.

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Having cash makes it easier to buy direct from individuals. Transactions such as getting a great deal on a vintage bureau on Craigslist or scooping up a baby stroller at a garage sale are easier with cash for everyone involved. You also might want to avail yourself of a chance to get in on a friend’s bulk purchase by buying just one pair out of a dozen gloves or a small bag of artisan flour out of a 50-pound sack. It also would be a shame to pass up a purchase of fresh delectable produce at a stand beside the road, or to miss an opportunity to donate a few dollars to a good cause because you did not have money handy to do so.

Having cash on hand also can be more than just a matter of convenience. Stuff happens. Stuff like forgetting your purse at a friend’s house—or your wallet in your other jacket pocket—and not realizing it until your gas tank is too low to go back for it. And stuff like searching for a store at midnight when you suddenly realize you are completely out of disposable diapers and finding that the only store open has a broken card machine until the repairperson arrives the next morning. And even stuff like rushing to a meeting and not having cash for a toll highway or parking area and ending up late because of detour.

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And those possible situations are just everyday occurrences. If a minor emergency were to happen, the need for cash could become even more important. In the event of something like a power outage, small stores without generators would be able to serve only cash customers. If the precipitating event continued, generators in larger places could eventually fail, as well.

In the event of a major disaster, cash will be vital, at least for a period of time. In a true catastrophe, it is possible that all representative currency could eventually become valueless. But in the interim, having cash could mean the difference between comfort and suffering, and could possibly contribute to your very survival.

The advice to always keep cash on hand is all well and good, but is not easy to do. Probably the biggest barriers to stashing cash are related to how difficult it is to avoid spending the money as fast as you get it. There is no magic bullet, but everyone can do it.

AWhy You Should Carry Cash In A Credit Card Societyn Easy Way to Do It

As far as pocket money goes, for those little gotchas like emergency gas and unforeseen parking fees and middle-of-the-night baby necessities, it makes sense to keep the stash in your car. One way to do this is to keep a little covered dish—a recycled pint container such as the ones sour cream or cottage cheese come in—in your car. Tuck it away out of sight so thieves cannot see it. Start out by just dropping your coins into it every time you get change in the drive-through or coins back at a toll booth. Add a few bills here and there as you can spare them, never enough so you miss the money but sufficient to add up over time.

If the container-at-your-fingertips idea works for you, great. If, however, you cannot resist frequently dipping into your money dish, try hiding a little money in areas of your car that are less convenient to access. Most cars have places to stow items so that they are not accessible to the driver. Try tucking some money away in the trunk or under the back seat, and when you are faced with the choice of pulling over and digging out a stashed $10 bill versus dipping into your wallet, you will choose the latter.

Once you know you have a solid emergency stash in the back of the car, keep trying to keep a money container within reach. Eventually, you can make it work.

Building up a supply of money at home for true disasters works on the same principle. Start small and move up, with a $5 in a decorative cookie jar and $20 in an empty toothpaste box in the bathroom cabinet and another few bills tucked between the pages of an old book. Choose hiding spots in places you don’t look in often, and in places where would-be thieves may not find, either.

But where does this money come from to begin with if you are in the habit of using exclusively plastic and electronic transactions? You will need to be proactive about it, especially at first. You can get a little cash back every time you use a card at the grocery store, withdraw money from your account at an ATM, or develop a habit of doing more trading in cash.

There is no disputing the fact that we are quickly becoming a cashless society, and I am not suggesting that we can or should resist that trajectory. But I do maintain that everyone needs to have a little cash, on their person, in the car, or at home—and preferably all three—for convenience and emergencies.

Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the section below:  

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  1. When I’m eating at a restaurant, I want to be able to pay and leave. I get frustrated when I’m done eating, and the waitress has stopped coming back to check, because she knows I’m done, but I’m still waiting for the check. If I have cash, I can just leave the money on the table and walk out whenever I’m ready.

  2. Yes, you should keep a “stash-o-cash”. Nice article. BUT …. you should resist the cashless trend as much as possible. You realize that once your bank goes cashless, the government will be watching everything you do with your money? You realize that the world trend toward a cashless society means more control over the individual?

    He who controls the money (the government at that point) controls everything you do. Think about it….

  3. I need to get away from using my debit card for everything. We all should see by now what they (feds) are pushing for.

  4. I carry cash on me, have a small tin in my office I call my “mad money” that I use to buy non-necessities, and a lock box upstairs that I don’t touch unless it’s an emergency or for vacation. I also still use check occasionally at our grocery store. It’s amazing how fast it can add up. Power outage do happen and being stuck without cash is stressful. That happened to me once. And I also do not want a cashless society. I don’t like the idea of my purchases being tracked and what would happen if the banks closed due to failure or if we have an CME or EMP strike? I’ll stick with carrying cash.

  5. I know of a woman and her husband that spent $3,000 in cash to remove trees and connect power lines onto there home after Hurricane Sandy hit in Long Island, FEMA, the Red Cross, and the power companies were a no show. They have since moved to southern Michigan to be more self reliant. It’s suggested that we keep $1000 in cash or more in a safe place in case shtf.

  6. We had a problem with Chase bank not accepting a cashiers check from a bank that is across the street! Obviously the banks are not there to help anyone anymore. Most of the worlds economy is just what I call “electrons” because they are just transferring electrical impulses from one account to another. And not just personal accounts, this is happening between large worldwide banks and countries. Electrons not based on any value but the coal or natural gas that is expended to make them.

  7. Related article from All News Pipeline:

    Grab you stuff and hang on tight. It’s going to be a rough ride!!

  8. Plastic transactions are trackable. Someone will always know where you are and what you just bought. I try to keep enough cash on me to go for a couple of days if I had to.

  9. TheSouthernNationalist

    Another good thing about carrying cash is it tends to curb those “impulse buys”
    Its so easy to walk into any store, pull out the plastic and buy without feeling the “bite” out of your budget.
    But when you actually see those dollar bills leaving your hand it really makes you think twice about that purchase.

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