People have a big resistance to using cash in their budget. We’ve become so accustomed to using debit and credit cards that using cash is like a novelty. I wanted to address a couple of the concerns people have and why they don’t outweigh the huge benefits of using cash.
Objection #1: It’s Inconvenient
One of the main objections I hear about cash is that it’s inconvenient. It’s true that using cash may take a little longer than using credit cards. In fact, the credit card industry is well aware of this and emphasizes this point. Have you ever seen the TV commercial with graceful music playing as people use their credit card to check out. Suddenly someone pulls out cash. The needle scratches and the music stops as the person fumbles around with their money and all the other people look on disapprovingly.
That commercial presents a powerful emotional image.
The fact is, cash isn’t that much more inconvenient. In fact, some cash transactions are faster than credit card transactions. Even more important, you want to remember the effect using cash will have on your budget. Think of all the time and pain avoided by not overspending and not having to agonize every month while trying to reconcile your accounts. That pain is much worse than the slight inconvenience caused by using cash.
Objection #2: My cash might get lost or stolen
First let’s talk about cash getting lost. There is no more chance of you losing your cash than there is of losing your credit cards and/or other items in your purse or wallet with that accompanying inconvenience and risk.
To prevent getting your cash stolen, you do want to be careful not to flash around gobs of cash. It’s helpful to have cash in envelopes for this purpose. It allows you to just use the cash you need. You can also make the cash ready and easily accessible before you go into the store so you don’t have to flip through all of it in the store. To do so, take out the money you’ll be using and put it in a convenient and easily-accessible pocket separate from the rest of your cash. No one will be the wiser.
Emily misplaced some of her cash one month and while that’s never a welcome occurrence, it’s much better to lose a couple hundred dollars once than to perpetually overspend $500 every month like we were doing before switching to cash. This was a one-time occurrence in the 5 years since we’ve been using cash.
One more suggestion that could help prevent lost or stolen cash is to withdraw money from your bank in chunks. Instead of taking all the money out once during the month, take half out at the beginning and half out mid-way through the month. This minimizes the possible amount you could lose if that misfortune occurred.
Try it to believe it
In the end, some people have to try using cash to really experience the benefits and become converted. You can come up with excuses all day about why you shouldn’t use cash. Go ahead and do that and I’ll talk to you in a year and find out that your budget still doesn’t work and you’re still living paycheck to paycheck.
I personally was a big skeptic and only saw the huge benefits of cash after doing a cash budget for a few months. Now I’d never go back.
Posted in 12 Weeks to Fiscal Fitness, Budgeting, Cash | 5 Comments »