Side Hustle

Why I Hate Carrying Cash

A dollar, a greenback, a buck. There have been many nicknames for the US Dollar. Americans are proud of their currency as a safe-haven currency during economic hardship. We love our money. That is just part of our culture. However, I am kind of tired of it. I hate carrying cash.

Side Hustle
Cash is an old standby, but it isn’t necessarily the best way to spend.

You Can Lose It

One of the biggest reasons I hate carrying cash is that you can lose it. You can drop your wallet or be pickpocketed by a clever thief. You can drop a bill when digging into your pocket. You can forget cash in your coat pocket (which is always a pleasure to find later, but frustrating when you can’t find that $20 you thought you had). You can get the wrong change and not notice it, which is a sort of loss. You can forget to take your change. There are a million ways you can lose cash.

On the bright side, you can find cash too. I found a $10 on the way out of the mall a few months ago. And everyone finds plenty of lucky pennies. However, is it worth it?

If you lose cash, it is gone forever. You will most likely never get it back. Ever. It is gone. Lost. Period.

You Don’t Get Any Protection

Outside of being protected from losing it, you are not protected when you buy stuff with it. I buy virtually everything with my credit card. Thanks to Visa and American Express, my purchases are insured.

My Chase Sapphire Preferred card and my Starwood Card from American Express both offer huge benefits. They offer purchase protection. If the item breaks or I don’t like it, and the store won’t take it back, the card will reimburse me. The cards each extend the manufacturer’s warranty. The cards offer price protection in case the price drops after I buy it.

Those are huge benefits. They even extend to travel, lost luggage, and rental car insurance. You don’t get that from cash.

You Don’t Get Rewards

When you use cash, you don’t get anything for it. When you use a credit card, your bank pays you. (If not, take a look at the two cards linked above, your bank should pay you!)

I first learned about cash back cards in college. It was pretty sweet getting 1% cash back, then finding a deal for 2% cash back. Then I learned about travel rewards, bonuses, and free flights.

I recently went to London, Paris, and Amsterdam for $600 in total flight costs. I visited my sister for a weekend for $5 roundtrip. If you are looking for ways to make travel a reality for you and you think it costs too much, start by looking at what your credit card gives you.

It Is Bulky

My Slim Wallet
A slim, minimalist style wallet. I used to carry this exact wallet.

While gangster wads are pretty sweet, a thick wallet sucks. I am not a Costanza, I am a minimalist. I hate having a thick wallet.

I have a weekend night out wallet that only holds a credit card or two and an ID. That’s it. That is the best way to travel.

Change

You have to do math and usually end up with coins and more bills than you started with. That’s all I gotta say about that.

What Do You Think?

Are you a cash person or a plastic person? You already know how I feel, so leave me your thoughts in the comments.

21 thoughts on “Why I Hate Carrying Cash”

  1. I’m totally with you on all these thoughts (plus, it’s DIRTY).  The only thing that disappoints me about credit is the merchant fees that inflate all our prices.  However, I’m not willing to take a personal stand against credit/debit by using cash for all the reasons you mentioned.

    The only reason I carry cash at all is to visit the farmer’s market in the summer.  It’s been a weird month transitioning to making sure I’m carrying enough to buy our produce once a week.

    1. I usually try to keep a $20 in my wallet just in case, but I don’t have it there all the time. I have found that many small merchants are starting to use Square, so I can even pay small, mobile vendors with my card.

  2. I am definitely a plastic person for all of the reasons you mentioned above. In addition, I normally spend more in cash than I would on my CC (I’m not normal I guess). I pay it off in full every month and they pay me to do it so it is a win win for me. I think I went to the ATM about 6 months ago and took out $40. I have about $25 left and keep some money in cash in case a place won’t take CCs for small purchases or just don’t take them at all (farmer’s markets etc).

    1. I was at a bar this weekend and had a $2 drink. They had a $10 credit card minimum, so I had to go to the ATM and pull out a $20. My checking account refunds all ATM fees, so it didn’t cost me anything other than inconvenience.

  3. I never carry cash!  I always use my credit card to accumulate frequent flier miles.  Often people ask me for change and I have to tell them I do not carry cash.  They think I am odd, but it is my way of controlling what I spend.  Cash is not accountable!

  4. Julie @ Freedom 48

    I never carry cash – everything is charged to my credit card (and paid off).  I keep a $20 in my wallet for those places that don’t take credit card – like the veggie market!

    1. It seems like a handful of people keep cash for farmer’s markets. I have never been, but maybe I need to try it out.

  5. Investlike1percent

    i live off my credit card rebate cash. i get about 500 a month. so i try not to use cash unless they absolutely dont accept credit cards. plus its an easy way to see what i am spending my money on by simply looking at the credit card statement.

    i also time most of my large purchases until after the credit card closes. this way bill isnt due for almost 2 months

    1. I pay my credit card every other week. I pay it in full each payday so my income cash flow matches my expense cash flow.

  6. Jenna from Adaptu

    I hate carrying cash because there are always a ton of homeless people in PDX asking for money.  If I don’t have cash on me I’m not lying when I say, “Sorry, I don’t have any cash on me.”

    1. We have that in Downtown Denver, but not in the area I live or work. When I worked downtown, I saw them all the time and hated lying to them, but I also hate being harassed by them.

  7. I never carry more than $50 in cash for these exact same reasons!

    I almost lost $300 this past weekend.  Got the bag back from the airport thank goodness!

    1. For most financial advice to work, it takes discipline. If you can’t control your spending, you have bigger problems that what you are paying with.

  8. I agree with all your points. Yet, it is worth mentioning though that every purchase you make on a card is tracked. There are a variety of reasons why one might value the relative anonymity of cash.

    1. If you are worried about being tracked, you make a good point. I don’t worry much, though, as I am not breaking any laws and don’t worry too much about that level of privacy.

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