Why you should carry at least $20 in Cash – Plastic Costs More
Originally Published 2/2/2011. Above Photo Credit: BenMadeska.com
Living on a budget doesn’t mean you should walk around without a sliver of cash in your wallet. It’s just bad form. Forget the fact that you look dirt poor if the only residents taking shelter in your billfold are a few random receipts. Paying for something small with a debit card is actually kinda rude. Not openly rude, but just unaware rude.
It’s akin to not holding a department store door open for a Mom pushing a stroller, even if she happens to be 10 or 15 steps back and you have to wait a few seconds.
It’s commonplace to use plastic everywhere for everything. What many of us don’t fully realize is that swiping a credit or debit card costs that business money. Sometimes, a lot of money. All in the form of swipe fees that the business with the credit card machine foots the bill for. You’ve probably seen the “no credit/debit purchases under $5.00” signs. There’s a reason for that. All those swipe fees add up, especially if it’s on small purchases. That makes a big difference if you’re a cafe slinging dollar cups of coffee and $2.50 lattes.*
Is it really that big of a deal? It must be at some level. Especially if the feds want to set a swipe fee cap of $0.12. (Sidenote observation: If Barney Frank and Republicans agree on anything? That’s a sign that the issue is at least… something)
So carry cash and use it. At the very least you’ll make the wait shorter for the people in line behind you.
*Full disclosure: This was written after I ordered a cup of coffee, realized I had zero cash on me, and had to hand over my debit card to the predictably attractive barista, all while feeling like a total tool. Don’t let this happen to you.
UPDATE: I had no idea this was such a divisive topic. I just felt like a dope for having to sign for a $2.25 cup of coffee. Next time I’m gonna go total rogue and pay with a personal check… (kidding)