5 Situations Where You Should Always Use Cash

As the world becomes more and more digitized, using cash as a prefered payment method has fallen by the wayside. We simply wave our debit cards like a magic wand, hastily sign a receipt, and voila, the item is paid for. People are consistently choosing the convenience of  plastic over hard currency these days. Apparently, the only time people need to use cash anymore is when they want to “make it rain”. Oh wait, there’s an app for that.
Apps Are Annihilating the Use of Hard Currency

Recently, new apps designed to facilitate the electronic transfer of money has made dollar bills even more obsolete. The square card reader is a smartphone app which allows small businesses and independent vendors to accept credit card payments anywhere through their iphones or ipads.
Even birthday cards are conspicuously devoid of cash. Now, instead finding a crisp, twenty dollar bill in your card, Nana can just send you money through a smartphone. New banking applications allow people to transfer money just by physically “bumping” two smartphones together. All this new technology designed to make it easier for us to transfer money, “bumps” having real cash further down our priority list.

But wait, don’t abandon your brick and mortar bank just yet folks.

Here Are 5 Instances Where You Should Always Pay in Cash

  • When You Visit the County Fair

Do you really need to put deep fried Oreos on a credit card? Although most booths at your local county fair will surely offer an electronic payment option, I would forgo handing my debit card over to a carnie selling corn dogs. Fair workers blow in and out of town in a couple days, then get back on the road. This transient lifestyle makes it difficult to ensure that your card number stays stays secure. Do yourself a favor, and stop at an ATM on the way to the fair.


Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/36918110@N04/3399608428/

  • When You Shop at Farmers Markets

In general, my rule of thumb is that you should never use your card anywhere other than a physical store, with a permanent address. It’s just too easy for someone with criminal intentions to set-up shop for a weekend, steal every card number that gets swiped, and then leave town. With no physical vendor address, good luck tracking the person down who wiped out your bank account. Even if the person isn’t trying to steal your info, farmers markets are often chaotic environments with one person handling multiple transactions at a time. In situations like this, there are too many opportunities for someone to make a mistake that will cost you big time. Next time, pay for that organic, fair trade, shade grown coffee with cash.

  • When You’re on a Budget

This is a money saving trick I swear by. For me, it’s too easy to get carried away throwing my card down all weekend only to wake up on Monday with a negative account balance. Swiping a card doesn’t feel the same as paying in cash, so you’re liable to be more reckless and impulsive with your purchases. I like to withdraw the amount of money I can afford to spend for the week in cash. When my wad of dough dries up, I stop buying things. It’s pretty simple. This way you won’t keep obliviously swiping yourself into the red.

  • When You’re Leaving a Tip

As a former waitress, I can’t stress this enough. If you genuinely have a heart for people in the service industry, (and you should) then you will tip them in cash. This includes all professions where tipping is standard practice: hair stylists, tattoo artists, estheticians, cab drivers, manicurists, dog groomers, bartenders, pizza delivery drivers, baristas, concierges, housekeepers, pool technicians, and card dealers. When you leave the tip for these people on your credit or debit card, not only do they have to wait a few days for the payment to be processed in order to get the money, but since it’s documented, they now have to pay taxes on it. Make the people who take care of you happy by always tipping in cash.

  • When You’re Travelling

When you’re backpacking through Costa Rica, you probably won’t be stopping to balance your checkbook, or keep receipts of all your little daily purchases. This means you might be in for a rude awakening when you come back to the states and check your account balance. Unless you kept meticulous records over the course of your entire trip, you won’t know whether a merchant ripped you off, or you just lost track of how much you were spending. Also, it can be difficult to ascertain which cab drivers or small scale vendors are legit, so I would play it safe and stock up on traveler’s checks before you depart and cash them in at small increments spread out over the course of your trip. This way, you don’t have to risk travelling with large amount of cash on you.

Jessica Ruane is a copy writer from Instant Checkmate. To follow more of Jessica Ruane’s work, please follow Instant Checkmate on Twitter or Google +.

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