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When Should You Pay With Cash?

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I have to be honest here. I always use my debit card because if I have cash, I’ll go out to eat. When I do have cash, I oftentimes forget I have it because hardly anybody uses it anymore, but here are the times when you should use cash.

Do you like to shop at small businesses? I try whenever possible. Especially when I’m trying to find a unique gift for someone. Many credit card companies charge retailers a fee. Sometimes it’s as much as three percent of the purchase price to process credit card transactions, so if you’re going to be shopping at a small independent business, it’s best to pay with cash so they don’t get charged.

When you go to a restaurant and pay with a credit card as many people do, there’s always a space for gratuity which helps because I don’t always carry cash. I just learned that some bars and restaurants don’t always pay out the tips until the end of the week and as a former waitress, I can tell you that having cash in hand at the end of the night is super handy, so if you’re going out to eat, going out for a drink or getting some sort of service like a manicure, pedicure or haircut, carry some cash.

Going to a farmers market, flea market, open air shopping place, craft fair etc. where you’re planning to haggle, it’s a lot easier for them to see your point when you’re waving bills in their face. Just like small businesses, the vendor gets charged a fee for processing the credit card transaction, so someone else may have to pay $22 for something with their Visa card, but if you’re paying with cash and they know they won’t get socked with bank charges and fees, they’ll likely be more open to letting you pay $17.

If you’re trying to watch your pennies, it’s a good idea to carry cash because you tend to spend less when you’re parting with actual dollars. I know that I think more about store purchases if I’m literally seeing the money leave my hands. It’s not the same if I’m just handing over a credit card because it doesn’t feel like I’m spending actual money. Another reason to pay with cash if you’re trying to watch your budget is that you’re more mindful of your spending because with cash, you eventually run out.

Buying a birthday gift for someone? Pay with cash. That way if you buy something for someone from a store they hate, they’ll get the cash back. If you pay with a card, they’ll likely just get store credit for it and if it’s a store they don’t like or can’t shop at, it’s worthless. If you’re buying something for you, you should still pay with cash because if you have to return it, you may not get the money back right away in your account. If you pay with cash, they’ll just hand the money over.

Next: Are you bad with money?

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