I just read an article on Slate about one of their writer’s spending 2 months without cash. The writer explains about where some of his pain points were (not everybody wants to accept debit or credit), but concluded he liked living without cash he definitely liked some of the rewards you get from using credit cards. As well, he said he actually thought more about what he was spending when he used his credit card then when he used cash.
I found that point interesting because when people are trying to get out of debt or break their spending habits, a lot of financial gurus recommend that you stop using credit cards and just use cash. One of the best known people in Canada to do this is Gail Vaz-Oxlade, the host of “Til Debt do us part”. I love this show and I think I’ve seen every episode – twice! For anyone on the show who truly puts an effort in, living on just cash really seems to help them. I think the fact that cash is tangible certainly helps, but I think the big thing that helps is they only have so much of it. I’m not sure if they had the same limit on a credit card if they would be just as successful or not.
I have to admit that putting things on the credit card does not make me think more about what I’m spending. In fact, when the bill comes in at the end of the month, I’m always shocked at how much it is! I do like credit cards in that they help keep track of where I’m spending (I realize debit would too, but I’m just not a fan of debit) and they give me nice points! But, I think they can also cause expenses just to creep up on you.
What would you prefer, given the choice to try and reign in your spending – only cash or only credit cards?