Cash Isn’t Dead
The past few years have seen a major change in the way we do things financially. More and more, we are seeing an economy that works away from the traditional methods. It used to be the case that shoppers would pay for smaller purchases with cash, and for larger ones with either cash or check, and as time went on with credit cards. As time has passed, however, there are many people who do not bother carrying cash with them and the check is now about as fashionable as velour flares. More and more, we are becoming a society of people who pay with plastic. Our weekly shopping is paid for by handing over a small rectangle of plastic and the funds are taken from our account directly.
This is a system that has taken off in no small part due to its convenience. Don’t have time to get to the ATM and withdraw cash on your shopping trip? Just hand over the plastic. Not sure how much you need to withdraw? Plastic means that the only money to leave the account will be the money you spend in the store. It’s convenient and saves on thinking. Initially it seems that it is the perfect way to do things. But this system does have its drawbacks, and people are becoming more and more aware of these and returning to good old paper money. If anyone out there is hoping for the day when cash is entirely replaced by plastic, they probably have some time to wait. Checks may be playing less and less of a part in personal finance, but notes are still going to be used for a while yet.
The reason for this is that cash does allow you to take far more of a pro-active role in managing your money. One thing that has made paying by plastic problematic for people is that it makes it altogether too easy to spend money without really noticing. When the wages hit your account on pay day, you have a certain amount of money for the rest of the month. Paying your bills cuts away a fair section of that money. After other necessities are taken care of, you have your disposable income. Now, you wouldn’t be cavalier with the bills and necessary payments – but paying by plastic makes it all too easy to spend your disposable income, and that has to last for the rest of the month.
By withdrawing your disposable income in cash it becomes a lot easier to keep an eye on how much you are spending. Sure, you want your money to earn interest, so open a savings account and put some money in there. The rest of your disposable income can be kept somewhere safe and accessed whenever you need it. If you are keen to stick to a budget, it becomes much easier when you can physically see what you have for spending. Your plastic does not show you a running total as you use it, so the benefits of cash are surely clear. No, cash isn’t dead. Not by a long shot.
To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Canadapersonalfinancewebsite.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Aug 9, 2009.
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