Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Case for Cash

When you see this sign, what do you think of? I used to think "My happy place," "My favorite store," or according to my husband, "My Mother Ship."

Now, when I see that sign, I wonder if my account information was stolen or if there was an attempted hacking on my bank account which is connected to my debit card in the recent data breech. I think about the time I spent canceling our debit cards, and the waiting to get a new ones. I think about how angry I am that I cannot trust my favorite store with my financial information. 

I think the same thing when each time I drive by these stores. 

Ultimately, the fact that these major stores, with droves of IT professionals and supposedly "secure checkout" were unable to protect the privacy and identity of millions of people around the globe makes me mad, nervous, and angry. We put our trust into the stores and institutions to protect us and our information. Unfortunately, they haven't. I hope that these stores, and others have put more safeguards in place to protect their customers, but I know that no matter how high the gate, someone will be able to find a way around. 

All of these occurrences, just reaffirm our decision to use predominantly cash in our every day purchases. Each month, we use cash for our groceries, dry cleaning, gas, entertainment, home goods, and dog supplies. Increasingly, I have come to realize that my husband and I are a bit "out there" and that financially speaking, we live on the fringes of the American society. 

For me, every time I hear of a data breech, it makes me want to push further and further away from the "normal" way of handling our finances. Yes, carrying around cash can be dangerous, but I think we have seen its no more dangerous than having your entire account wiped out, and your social security number being used to make fraudulent purchases. I would rather lose $500.00 in cash, than lose my identity to some hacker.

When it comes to cash or card, for me, I will chose cash, every time. I cannot eliminate the risk of having my information stolen, that is nearly impossible in the world we live in. But, I can reduce the amount of time my information is thrown out there, and I have to believe that will reduce my exposure to these criminals.

Cash or card, how do you roll?


NapaKat said...

Cards, I've lost too many wallets and track of too many budgets if I use cash. I have Mint and get alerts about my spending habits so I know what to curb. I'd rather call my bank and argue over charges, than lose cash.

Brooke said...

i'm a card kinda girl. but i wish i could be more diligent about cash!!

Denise said...

oh gosh, you have just inspired me once again.

do you pay your bills online? What about gas at Costco? no cash accepted there.

i think there is a huge difference in between debit cards and cash. Mostly that when the cash is gone the spending should be done for the week where as with the debit card - well, it is almost mindless and you assume that you can always transfer some money around.

Amanda S said...

As much as I love cash, I realized that the past few months it's easy to take some part of the budget for an unexpected expense or another. At least using credit cards helps me keep track of it all. And the best part was my CC company sent me a new one unexpectedly because of these stores. It's all about taking the good with the bad I guess.

Live Simply- Live Well said...

NapaKAT...Yea, I totally understand. For me, I have found that when I use a card, I tend to spend more. For me, it really hurts to use cash!!! I have not tried MINT--but I have heard such great things about it. :)

Live Simply- Live Well said...

Brooke: :) I like using a card, but when I do, I don't feel accountable so I spend more. Yikes!

Live Simply- Live Well said...

Denise- Yes, we do pay all our bills online through our primary bank.
We do pay gas with Cash. We are not members of Costco, but the gas station we use has a special "pump start card." the card has no money on it, but it is tied to my drivers license. I swipe it in the credit card swiper and it starts the card. It allows me to fill up without having to guess. And then, once full, I walk in and pay.

Live Simply- Live Well said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Live Simply- Live Well said...

Amanda-Thats great the cc company sent you a new card without you having to ask.

MOV said...

Ohmygosh, the SECOND that Target announced the security data breach, I was on the phone cancelling my Amex card. Now at Target, it is cash only. My husband laughs at me and says it is probably safer than ever now!

Great post.