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I live in a world of plastic

I never have cash. Like, ever.

It's not that I don't have any money (well, that's debatable sometimes I guess). It's just that I live in a world of plastic. Cold, shiny, hard plastic (had to get that Mean Girls reference in somewhere).

My mom helped me start a checking account when I was still in high school. Her name was on the account as well so she could "supervise" and help me start good money habits. I was so glad she did this, because when I went off to college, half of my friends couldn't even write a check properly. (So thanks mom!)

When I started a new account in Bowling Green, they had this handy-dandy free debit card that they mailed me. I figured I would only use it every once in a while, but pretty soon it became my world. I didn't want to waste cash when I went grocery shopping or out to eat, so I just swiped and swiped. Pretty soon, I didn't have a use for cash anymore. It was just so darn convenient to whip out the card.

Then my mom became curious. For once, I had the chance to teach her something. A few practice trips to the ATM, and she was hooked. She still keeps some greenbacks around though; she just can't give them up.

And lately, I feel pressured to do the same. Our society has become conflicted on whether plastic should replace the almighty dollar.

First of all, every day there is a new story about computer hacking and identity theft. Now, I'm not buying things online from shady sites or giving out my PIN number, but I do worry about seeing faulty charges on my statement.

Second, almost every expert on financial troubles says to cut up your cards. Some say just the credit cards, but others say all cards. I don't think I have a spending problem though. I balance the checkbook sometimes twice a week just to make sure I'm still in the clear. But are they right? Will I save money by switching to cash?

I'm so torn over this. On one hand, I survived just fine before I had a debit card. On the other hand, that card is just so much easier to use.

I think I'll do a test run and see how it goes, an experiment of sorts. Check back in a few weeks to read about the results of my life without plastic. Wish me luck!

What do you think? Is cash a thing of the past? Or should we cut up our cards? Leave a comment and let me know.

Comments

  1. I understand the big debate at hand. I also am a member of the cold, shiny, hard plastic generation. Pulling out cash is such an inconvenience, especially when you're in a rush. Life is so much easier with my swipe and sign methods.
    However, as I left small Williams County and entered the summer as an unpaid intern in Boston, MA, I knew I'd have to revisit my spending habits. Here's what I've discovered.

    I started leaving all my debit cards at home. I left my emergency credit card hidden in a pocket of my wallet, but it's for EMERGENCIES only. I found that if I carry cash, i spend less. I'm less tempted to by a coffee on my way to work because I'll have to wait in line and fumble for the correct cash. I became aware of how much money I was carrying on me, and didn't want to waste precious grocery money on items such as sandals, or be distracted by sale signs hanging in department store windows.

    But using cash has it's down sides. There's no electronic bank statement that tells you where you spent your money. So, to compensate, I've been saving receipts and making my own log. By becoming aware of where my cash is going, I can make more educated spending decisions.

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