Why I Don’t Shop With Cash

When you’re trying to avoid impulse purchases, I often recommend putting away your credit cards and paying for everything with cash.

While I do believe this is the best way to prevent overspending for most people, it simply does not work for me, personally.

When I have a bunch of cash in my wallet, I’m likely to spend it much easier than taking out my credit card to pay for something. For some reason, watching actual cash being spent doesn’t bother me as much as charging something to my credit card.

I have been very disciplined with my credit card use for the last 4 years and actually try to use it for every purchase that I need to make (to get cash back). I pay off my bill in full every month so I never have to pay interest.

The times that I do have cash on me, I find reasons to spend it.

My Excuses:

– Oh, only $2 for a coffee? That sounds fabulous!
– $5 for 2 boxes of almonds from the boy outside the grocery store? Sure!
– Elliott wants to ride the mechanical horse in the mall? That’s cute… here’s $1!

I don’t know what it is about cash, but I just can’t seem to hold on to it very long – and that’s why I prefer to shop with credit.

Before I had a credit card, I would go to the bank all the time to take out cash. That cash would be spend on who knows what, but I am certain it wasn’t on necessities!

I am confident that I don’t spend more using credit than I would with cash only.

Where I Use Credit vs Cash:

Here’s what I often use my credit card for:
– Groceries
– Clothing
– Haircuts
– Gifts
– Gasoline

When I do use cash, it’s usually for these:
– Entertainment
– Tips
– Craigslist or Kijiji Purchases

I do strongly believe that using cash is the absolute best way to avoid overspending for MOST people. I am just not one of those people.

Paying with credit only works for me, but it may not work for you.

If you are constantly overspending on your credit card, consider switching to cash only for awhile to see how you do with that method of payment. You may find that you spend much less when you only have cash to spend (or, you may spend more, and determine that credit only is best for you).

Do you prefer to shop with cash or credit?

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  1. Debbie says:

    I too find that if I have cash in pocket, it disappears. I won’t use credit or debit at fast food restaurants or donut shops so unless I have cash, I just don’t go. It just seems cash trickles away. We pay our credit card off each month, so there is no real disadvantage to us and we’re earning CT points.

    I have a question about the whole gift card at Shopper’s thing. Do you buy the gift cards when you go in the store and then cash them in when checking out later? Do you get the bonus points or just regular points if they are having an event? I am just tuning in to the whole points events thing and thinking of checking it out the next time they have one.

  2. tp1943 says:

    I have a preference for a MBNA Smartcash card exclusively. It is used for 95% of all the purchases in our household, especially groceries and fuel — 3% cashback at all grocery stores and any gas station. We pay the dentist, the chiropractor, Rogers bill, and most other purchases. We use
    AMEX at Costco due to corporate policy. Buying fuel at the Superstore is quite rewarding using the MBNA card: 3% on the cost of fuel plus 2cent/litre bonus slip for purchases at Loblaw’s brand stores. Oh, I have another exception: car repairs I use TD Drivers Reward as it gives me 1.5% reward. Each card has it’s merits, you must fit them to your own style. I prefer “cash back”.

  3. Renita says:

    I am like you in that if I have cash, I will spend it. I can partly blame my dad for that though. He was a believer of “mad money”, the cash money you have each week for yourself to spend on whatever you want with no questions. Normally for me it is between $20-40 on hand, but I try to not spend it all and all of my change (except loonies and toonies) goes into my coin jar for rolling at a later date.

  4. Cheryl says:

    I use a credit card for almost everything, even a $0.50 purchase. I was in line in a store and the person ahead of me used a debit card so I asked the owner which he preferred people to use, credit or debit. He said a credit card as it didn’t cost him as much. I can’t even begin to list the free items from Shoppers, Extra Foods, Walmart, Canadian Tire, etc. and cash back from MBNA over the years. Plus the free camera and +$300.00 cash back for applying for some of the credit cards. Bill is always paid off at the end of each, and every, month.

  5. Suzy says:

    I use credit cards most of the time. Thte cash back cards pay such nice rewards that it’s hard not to use it, unless it’s like a few dollar quick purchase. And there are few cash back cards to choose from I believe CIBC has got one too, but here is a review of the Smart Cash http://www.creditcardmart.ca/smartcash-credit-card-review/ this is the one I use.

  6. Nicole says:

    I use credit cards too for my purchases. I still stay in my budget for groceries, gifts, etc & pay off the card each month. I like getting the cash back on the card in December to cover some of my Christmas budget. We also have a CIBC Petro Canada Mastercard that gives us 2cents off per litre at the pump that we can combine with our other 5cents off card to save a total of 7cents. We pay that off each month too & budget for gas each month.

    If I’m not earning the potential points, I feel like I’m just wasting more money.

    It works for me, but I know not for everyone.

  7. teachermum says:

    Debbie, you can do either. If I’m thinking ahead and know I need to get a card I buy the card first (only ever regular points, never 20x), do my shopping, then pay. I usually just get $200 put on one (the maximum) and use it until I need another. You can get any amount you want. If I’m not thinking ahead I have also bought a gift card when shopping and paid separately for it, then had them ring my order through. I’ve almost got all the cashiers trained at my usual Shoppers!

  8. Olivia says:

    Credit cards for everything except the odd purchase under $5.00 or where not excepted. Why not, I get various rewards converted to cash or products. We pay in full monthly, otherwise it defeats the purpose of rewards.
    At Shoppers, I now buy their only gift card that is re-loadable…..the student spending gift card. Part one of the card I use for purchases and the other part of the card is for reloading any amount I want.
    I wanted to avoid the waste in buying and cashing them in often.

  9. Eve says:

    Debbie: My regular Shoppers store suggested I get a gift card that has no dollar amount written on it.. Each time I go to Shoppers I load the amount I think I will spend-$50 or $75 etc then do my shopping and check out with the card. I then keep it and refill next time.The thing about using a gift card is that you get points for buying it and points for using it!I suggest you download Cassie’s free book on using Shoppers. It is excellent.

  10. Theresa says:

    I am exactly like you. I can easily stop at Tim Hortons 3x a day if I have cash on hand. Usually I only have my bank card. Worked well until Tim Hortons started accepting debit 🙂

  11. Jennifer says:

    We are using cash more now than credit. We are trying to save more money.

    We take out a set amount each week and when it’s gone, we stop spending.

    Over the last few months, we have been able to save more and spend less. The first month was more difficult but now we have made it a good habit.

    We also sleep better at night knowing that our savings account is growing each month : )

  12. Amy says:

    I agree, I just spend my cash in my wallet like its free money. I am regularly checking my bank account and credit card charges and i use that as my budget and to tell me how much money i have. If i have $200 cash in my wallet i dont consider it part of my budget for some reason.

    I do realize it can be easy to get carried away with credit purchases but if you pay it off every month and monitor what your spending its better than cash, PLUS you usually get rewards. I also pay with my credit card MORE than my debit because my debit card charges me after so many transactions. my credit card is always free.

  13. Nancy says:

    i shop with credit card more as i collect points, it gives me a better tracking system to where all my money is going….but now i may consider switching to cash back as it seems like i’m not collecting points fast enuf….

  14. Samantha Rosenthal says:

    If I have cash in my wallet I spend it, If I have debit or credit cards in my wallet I spend it. So I have tried the magic jars and this has worked wonders for me. All the cash goes into these jars and stays at home. When I need “NEED” to buy something I take the cash out go buy what I need and put the change back in the jar. If I don’t do this I find it hard not to stick to the budget.

    If you find it hard to do cash or debit/credit. I recommend the magic jars. It really does work.

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