3 Situations When You Need Cash Verses Debit or Credit

Are you the type of person who carries a wallet full of cash, or the type of person that pays for everything using a credit or debit card, even if it means purchasing something for just a few dollars? Well, I can tell you that my wife and I use our credit or debit card for everything. I’ve put less than 50 cents on my debit card in the past and honestly, I felt a little bit silly about it. I never have coins or cash. I have to visit a local ATM when I know cash is required. Sometimes, I don’t know in advance and it can become an inconvenience.

There are a few times in particular I think I really need to carry some cash:

When You Need Cash

Photo © by Images_of_Money

Emergencies - I think it always make sense to have $20 on hand in case you need it for an emergency situation and there isn’t anyway to pay with a credit card. I think this can be especially important when traveling.  How much should you carry?  Large bills can be dangerous and you even could lose them if you’re accident prone.  I think $20 or perhaps two $20 bills is a good amount to have in case you need it.

Snacks and drinks - I visit Starbucks several times each week (with budgeted money of course) and pay a few dollars for a tasty cup of coffee. (I’m drinking one at Starbucks as I write this post). While it might be okay to pay a few dollars on my debit card as probably most people do, it can be a hassle to track all that spending. I could easily take out the money for such expenses at an ATM each month. Perhaps this would be easier for budgeting purposes too!

Giving - I work several days out of the week downtown and sometimes come across a homeless person in need. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “sorry, I can’t help you today” because I don’t have any cash. This is disheartening to me as in some situations I really felt like I needed to help the person.

Carrying cash isn’t a big deal. It’s really a behavioral change for me in that I would need to plan to go to the ATM at the beginning of each month to withdrawal the cash. I still haven’t done this yet for some reason, but the reasons to do so seem convincing to me now more than ever.

Do you carry cash or pay with credit or debt? When do you think you need to carry cash?  I’m interested to know your thoughts in the comments.

About Jason Price

Jason Price is a family man saved by grace, passionate about faithful financial stewardship (1 Cor 4:2 NIV), soccer and the Pacific sun.

  • S Mark404

    I never use debit cards and do not even have one.  I just do not see the benefit.  I usually have  a set amount of cash each week (more or less) to spend on everyday purchases.  For larger purchases, I will use a credit card that will give me cash back–and I always pay in full at the end of the month.
     A lost or stolen debit card can wreak havoc on your finances, when your bank account is drained and you have massive charges for overdrafts, etc.  Sure, the bank will replace the money eventually, but you still have the headache of unraveling the financial havoc that the
    theft has caused.