8 Reasons Why You Should Still Carry Cash – The Motley Fool

Woman pays for purchase with cash.

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Cash can really come in handy sometimes.


Most important points

  • Research found that 41% of Americans do not make cash purchases in any given week.
  • Cash is great for tipping and small purchases.
  • Yard sales, tolls, and easy bill pay are other reasons to keep some cash on hand.

We use less and less cash these days. Pew research recently found that 41% of Americans say none of their purchases are made in cash in any given week. This is up from 29% just four years ago in 2018. Cash-carrying habits also vary by age: 71% of Americans over 50 try to have cash on hand at all times, just in case. that, and only 45% of 18 year olds. -49 say the same thing.

I’ve been making more of an effort lately to keep cash on hand. I had lost weight over the past few years, but it turns out there are some situations where cash is really good for. To that end, I’ve promised myself that I’ll regularly visit an ATM (one that’s in my bank’s network, so I can avoid paying fees) and replenish my stash of twenties. This is why you should consider keeping some cash on hand.

1. Tips

People who work in the service industry, such as hospitality, food service, and personal services, really like cash tips. It’s much easier for them than having to wait for a final credit card transaction summary at the end of a busy shift, and when you hand your stylist a sharp $5 or $10, you can be sure they’ll receive it (and appreciate the gesture).

2. Make a small purchase

Small purchases are tailored for cash, such as paying for a jukebox song, ice cream and other food truck treats, or a snack from a vending machine. In addition, some small businesses, such as convenience stores, have a minimum purchase requirement to use a credit card to assess the credit processing fees they’re worth. If you don’t want to spend $5 or $10 to use your credit card, cash will definitely come in handy.

3. Cash Only Businesses

Speaking of small businesses, you will find some that pay cash only. There are restaurants or small shops that don’t want to pay for credit card processing at all and want the convenience of cash. If you hope to visit them, you will need cash.

4. Emergencies and technical failures

Need a taxi ride in the middle of the night? That money behind your credit cards can save you if the taxi won’t take plastic. In general, it’s a good idea to travel with some cash on hand for such an emergency. And sometimes we encounter technological glitches. If you’re at the grocery store and their credit processing system is down, you may have to leave your shopping cart full of groceries if you don’t have the cash on hand to cover your bill.

5. Check out a restaurant or bar quickly

As a person who hates wasting time, nothing drives me to the wall like waiting for wait staff to bring me my check at a restaurant or a bar. Cash makes it possible to eat in a hurry (if you have a good idea of ​​what the total will be) by putting some money on the table and leaving.

6. Tolls and parking

While many states and toll situations have shifted to electronic transponders like EZPass, not all have. For those times when you need to pay tolls in cash, it’s a good idea to have bills or change in your wallet. Likewise, if you find yourself paying to park often, cash can be really helpful here too. On multiple occasions, I’ve found broken credit card readers in parking garages and am glad to have my small stash of cash.

7. Yard Sale

If you enjoy yard sales shopping, you are really doing yourself a disservice if you don’t carry cash. You can even score a better bargain by offering cash. After all, if all you have is a $20 bill and the yard sale owner wants $25 for that toaster, they might be willing to make you a deal to get rid of it sooner.

8. Easy pouring

Cash makes a great gift in most situations, and it’s very easy to slip into a birthday or holiday card. Cash is also a great way to say thank you. My downstairs neighbors occasionally check on my cats when I’m gone, so I leave them some money in a card as a thank you for the favor.

As we immerse ourselves (and our wallets) in the digital world, it can be easy to forget that we all once relied on cash. I don’t know about you, but being a kid and getting a birthday card with $10 cash in it felt like you got rich instantly.

It is important to note that cash does not belong to the kind of money protection against fraud and security that credit cards and even debit cards offer. If someone steals your money, you’re probably out of luck when it comes to getting it back, so make an educated guess about how much you need to keep in your wallet and/or home at any given time.

And of course, if you keep large sums of cash on hand, not only are you missing out on the safety of plastic, you’re also missing out on the opportunity for that money to grow in your savings account or any other interest-bearing account. That said, as you can see, there are some parts of life where cash is still king.

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