Have you every watched the show Til Debt Do Us Part with host Gail Vaz-Oxlade? Then you know she always tells these debt-ridden couples to learn to live on cash. No more credit cards.
At first this seems like sound financial advice and your parents, friends and tons of financial planners will tell you the same thing. Credit cards are bad!!! Learn to live on cash!!!
Til Debt Do Us Part – Cash vs Credit
This may sound like good financial advice to people on the show Til Debt Do Us Part who are maxed out on credit cards. For anyone with a hint of financial discipline living on cash is the worse financial advice ever. Unless your a drug dealer or with the criminal underworld you should never pay for anything with cash.
Paying for cash can cost you money. Whenever possible I will charge everything I buy on a credit card. The main reason for this is because it makes me money.
If your the kind of person who never runs a credit card balance and always pays off the full amount owed every month then you should never use cash to buy anything.
Instead use a rewards credit card that will pay you to use it. My Citizens Bank Card offers cash back on everything I charge. There are also cards that offer travel points, discounts, gifts etc.
Your going to buy those groceries anyway. Instead of cash put it on a rewards credit card and get some cash back or earn some points toward your next trip to Thailand.
Til Debt Do Us Part – Paper Trail
Number two, cash does not leave a paper trail. The reason drug dealers like cash so much is because it does not leave a paper trail. Therefore it can’t be tracked. This is an advantage for the dealer but a disadvantage to you.
Unless you write down every single thing you buy with cash there is no way to track everything you spend. This is one of the huge contradictions I find in the show “Til Debt Do Us Part” and Gail’s reasoning.
Gail will have a couple write down everything they buy in a budget binder. If you have enough discipline to write down everything you buy then surely you have enough discipline to use a credit card.
What’s the difference between you writing down everything you charge with a Visa vs what you buy with cash? See the key to Gail’s financial rescue plan is the budget binder and NOT living on cash.
By making the couple write down everything they realize just how much there spending on stuff. The budget binder can work just as well with a credit card as it does with cash.
Til Debt Do Us Part – Protection
Number three, cash offers no protection. Buying with cash leaves you with almost no recourse if things go wrong with the stuff that you buy. If that airline that you just bought a ticket for goes under your not getting your money back. If you charged the ticket to a credit card your protected.
If you get robbed or broken into your cash is gone. However your credit card is protected so your maximum liability is limited to no more than $50 in most cases.
Carrying a lot of cash with you is not a smart idea. Cash is not king. Try renting a car without a credit card. Most if not all car renting companies will require a credit card to rent a car.
There are other services as well that you will also need a credit card. If you want to rent a move at Red Box near my house you need a credit card. It does not take cash. If you plan to cut up your credit cards and live on cash you better leave one uncut because there are tons of places where cash is not king.
Til Debt Do Us Part – Credit
So from now on learn to live on credit cards. If your financially responsible there is no reason to live on cash. Giving all the advantages I just listed the smart move is to live on credit cards and pay the entire balance off every single month.
According to Visa and MasterCard only half of their card holders pay the cards balance off every single month. The other half runs a balance and becomes a cash cow for the company.
The key to not becoming a cash cow for Visa and MasterCard is to not charge more than what you make. Also checking your daily balances and writing down everything in your budget binder like Til Debt Do Us Part can help you stay on track.
In my case I have it a little easier. My credit limit on my Visa is only $10,000 and since I make more than that each month there is no way for me to charge more than what I make. You can also do the same!
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