Artwork from my “A Thousand Smiles” Collection:

Are there 8 Bitcoins in a Bytecoin?

I used to be a big spender. That’s why I switched almost exclusively to cash a few years ago; refraining from the much more convenient Debit and Credit Card methods. Physically seeing what you’re spending is a great deterrent. I even went as extreme as using coins to buy lunch (I’m Canadian so it wasn’t as eccentric as it sounds, lol) but feeling the weight of $9 in your hand and getting a pathetic burger in return also encourages better spending habits.

I use cash on big purchases, even though it’s more inconvenient with large sums, it’s concurrently an even greater deterrent. As you walk or drive to an ATM to grab the large sum of money, you are giving ample time to really weigh the benefit of the purchase and, by distancing yourself from it, you can be more objective about the upcoming expense. Half the time you don’t even go back to the store.

I originally did this experiment to help reign in pointless spending; but I quickly realized there were many more beneficial side effects that I hadn’t initially considered.

You also feel richer having cash in your pocket; which is a confidence boost.

Not only that, it actually saves you time in the long run. Sure on small purchases swiping a card is obviously faster, unless you’re using debit which I consider a wash with cash time wise. But where it really save you time is restaurants and bars. It makes it easy to settle the bill. It also increases your freedom in these circumstances. When service is bad you can potentially drop the cash for what you already had and leave without making a scene.

Similarly it accelerates settling a bill no matter what. Instead of waiting for the server to bring over the little machine they all use nowadays and having to hit button after button for tips and accounts, etc. you can just leave the cash. It only takes as long as removing your wallet from your pocket. And the time you save in these situations definitely outpaces the lose of time with smaller cashier purchases.

Using cash is especially better on dates or when you are treating friends. The other person literally sees what you spent on them ;)

What initially started out as a personal finance experiment actually grew into a profound paradigm shift against the current market trends. I can’t even count how many times the cashier has made a comment of how little they see cash nowadays. Using this method doesn’t just give you individual freedom it also creates freedom in society. Banks use digital transactions to track your movements and spending (I’m not paranoid and saying Big Brother is watching you) but they are profiting off your information. They anonymously bundle your spending data into consumer reports and sell them to companies and, worse yet, marketers. They already make an unacceptable amount of money off your fees and transactions so why add to this unknowingly.

This is why I believe a cashless society is an absolutely horrible idea and actually threatens our freedom more than any cell phone snooping technology the NSA can concoct. All that aside it’s absolutely worth it on the budgeting side of things. If you want to spend $100 on a night out. Only put $100 in your pocket; it’s an obvious reminder at the bar to stop drinking when you only have a $20 left and still need to grab a cab home.

On top of the numerous reasons I’ve already given; I haven’t even mentioned the most important ones. Credit Cards come with interest (unless you’re one of those aliens that pays off their cards instantly every month). Debit comes with fees and cash is better for businesses. Consumer fees aside, all companies have to pay processing fees on both debit and credit. This is why some convenience stores have purchase minimums on debit cards and most won’t even accept American Express because they add an extra percent point on top the standard 2–3% Visa and MasterCard already charge.

And finally, I’ve found it to be much better for my overall happiness. Nobody likes bills. The initial satisfaction you get from a purchase will wear off, especially if it’s a consumable or superficial purchase; unlike something that has intrinsic value like a power tool. And since most people pay bills on a monthly basis the satisfaction is almost definitely worn off by the time you really pay for the item. Which is depressing to say the least. This also becomes a motivator. If you put off all purchases until you can pay cash for them you now have an objective that motivates you to work a couple extra hours or take on an extra side project. If you already ‘bought’ the big screen TV on credit, where’s the motive?

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