Using cash is best when you want to keep things private, like when buying medicine or personal items. It’s also good to use cash at small shops and local places to help them save money on card fees. Cash is handy at garage sales and for giving tips at restaurants. Plus, paying with cash can help you spend less because you can actually see the money you’re using.
- Anything that you don’t want on your “permanent record”. Maybe you think you have nothing to hide. But rest assured, your transaction is being recorded, and if you use a card, your name is being associated with it. Personally, I’m particularly cautious at pharmacies. It might not matter if I’m “caught” buying a hairbrush, but I certainly have no interest in having my name linked with certain health-related items there.
- Anything at a small shop, and almost any small purchase. Merchants are not supposed to charge credit card users more than cash customers by contract, but a few percentage points cost the merchants for credit card transactions. If you like the local bike shop or mom-and-pop restaurant, pay in cash.
- Anything at garage sales, rummage sales, or fundraisers (bake sale, car wash, etc.)
- Tips even if I have paid for a meal by card, I still prefer to give a cash tip.
- Anything where you’re trying to stop yourself or stay within a budget. There’s some evidence that we spend less when we use cash. Perhaps it just feels different, seeing the money leave our hands.
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