Everyone has a different opinion and strategy when it comes to cash, credit cards, and debit cards.
Many bloggers recommend credit cards to earn specific rewards that meet your lifestyle, such as travel points.
The (HUGE) caveat with this credit card spending is you must possess the discipline to manage your spending on the credit card. You must stay within your budget. Many of us, myself included, cannot stay within budget with a debit or credit card.
With much trial and error we have found that cash is best for us.
If you are not sure about the benefits of cash or believe it is antiquated in this digital age, let me tell you a story from approximately 6 hours ago.
This story shows the power of cash in our decision making versus credit/debit.
Kevin and I were out for a run. I decided to bring my handy wrist wallet with some cash so I could stop at the store after our run. We needed a few groceries for home, and this seemed like a better solution than dragging the kids to the store later.
We ended our run and Kevin walked home while I walked to the store.
I had my list and wrist wallet and began grabbing items.
I got to the self checkout and very leisurely checked out my items and scanned all my coupons.
Then the total read $34 and I reached in my wrist wallet to find exactly $22. My initial thought was, “Oh well, I will put the remainder on our debit card.”
Wrong. I realized I did not have my debit card with me.
My heart panicked a bit, but then I politely asked the cashier to start voiding items from my bags. I kept handing him items until I reached a total under $22. He was very friendly and made it less awkward.
I left the store a little embarrassed, but I realized something very valuable: Cash made me get to the basics in a way that debit could not.
I had to analyze my bags and decide which items were crucial and which items could go. It was amazing to me how quickly I discarded $12 worth of food and still seemed to have what I needed.
This transaction solidified in my mind the difference between spending cash and credit. If I had my debit card I would have bought all those items and felt justified since it was food. Cash, however, is finite. You have what you have, and this reality forces more sacrifice and diligence.
Some might have left this situation proclaiming, “I am never going to forget my debit card again.”
I left with a different conclusion. I left proclaiming in my mind, “I want to leave my debit card at home and force myself to get exactly what is on my list.”
If you do not believe in the benefits of cash, I challenge you to leave your debit card at home and only take cash somewhere.
Your purchasing mindset will be completely different.
Just make sure you intentionally leave the debit card at home. You will save yourself a lot of embarrassment….trust me.