Can I Live On Just Cash?

Money hasn’t always been a staple of society. In fact, it took humans centuries before we started conceiving the ideas of money and payments and finances. Today there are some who would never dream of leaving home with a wad of cash in their pockets and there are those who shudder at the thought of using a credit card and having their information put out there for the world to see.

For people who want to maintain their privacy, stay away from prying eyes, and keep their personal information safe, cash-only lifestyles are a great option, and more and more people are embracing this today. But what can you expect from a cash-only payment lifestyle? Here are some things to consider:

Where We Stand as a Global Society

Society as a whole has always had a close relationship to money, and for much of our history, cash of some form has been the norm. But as more people get used to the idea of using credit cards and borrowing and paying back money, cash has started to fall out of popularity in some areas.

According to a 2021 report from The Guardian, “the UK has moved a big step closer to becoming a cashless society after official data showed that the number of payments made using notes and coins fell by 35% in 2020. Changes in spending habits have been dramatically accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic, with 13.7 million people leading a “cashless life” last year – almost double the 7.4 million figures in 2019. Five in six payments now involve no notes or coins, compared with half of all transactions a decade ago.” And these sorts of trends are being seen around the globe, as well as here at home in the United States.

Despite this however, there is still a large percentage of the population who are embracing the exact opposite trend. Rather than going cashless, they are opting to live a cash-only life as much as possible. For some, it’s a matter of necessity due to other lifestyle choices and life events. Others choose cash-only living to protect themselves from peering eyes and intrusive company and government monitoring. While the push for virtual currency and plastic continues, there is also a growing number of people who embrace cash as the safest and best way to finance their day-to-day lives.

It’s easy to pay with cash, isn’t it? You simply hand over an amount, get your change back, and take your goods and go about your way. No worries about repayments and fees and debt. It can be a simpler and easier way to live life and many people are now seeing that potential for themselves. But lots of questions can come up, so let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages you will need to consider if you are serious about going cash only in your day-to-day life.

Benefits Of Using Cash

There are many benefits a person can enjoy with a cash-only payment process. Reasons why cash is better than a credit card include the following:

  • No interest charges: When you use cash to pay for things you need, there is no worry about having to pay interest charges, since there is no borrowing of money and no need to repay it at a later date.
  • Added convenience: Some places do not take credit cards for payments such as small mom-and-pop shops, yard sales, food vendors, and other locations where you may want to visit and make a purchase.
  • No overspending: With a credit card, people easily get into trouble by spending more than they actually need to because the money is “there” for them to use. But by relying on cash, you can only spend what you have on hand.
  • Less tracking: Aside from the ability to tack the serial numbers on the bills themselves, cash-only living makes it easier to live off the grid and away from the tracking and monitoring of google, the banking systems, and the government today.
  • Less fraud risk: A big issue with credit cards is that they can be stolen or hacked and someone else can use all your money, putting you in a tough financial bind while things get worked out.

Drawbacks Of Using Cash

Although there is less concern about fees, excessive debt, and similar issues when using cash only, there are some drawbacks to paying with cash that must be considered:

  • Risk of theft: Walking around with some money in your pocket or wallet is good, but with large amounts of cash, a single accident or theft can leave you without any money and little hope of ever getting that lost cash back.
  • Emergencies: In situations where you may need a large amount of money at one time – for car repairs, medical emergencies, and the like – you might not have enough cash on hand or available to you to cover those needs.
  • Specialty transactions: Some retailers, including car rentals, hotels, and airlines, do not accept cash payments at all and will require you to pay with a credit card of some kind to make your reservation and get their services.
  • Easily destroyed: Another thing to consider is where you keep your cash. Having it lying around at home can be risky since a fire, flood, or other disaster could destroy your money and leave you broke at the worst possible time.

Cash vs. Credit

Many people today are making the shift, some more slowly than others, to a cash-only way of living. Ultimately, this is a decision that rests with you as an individual and as a family unity. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of giving up credit cards and living a cash-based lifestyle can make it easier for you to make the best financial decision for your wants, needs, and goals.

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