Do you ever feel like you want time to slow down a bit? I’ve felt like that pretty much every day this week. The past few days have flown by, and making this video of a week in our lives has highlighted that even more.
Last Friday we started the beginning of a blogging challenge, set by the company who make many of the cash machines that you probably use every week. The point of the challenge? Find out what we use most, and what we find easiest to use, between cash and bank cards. The #caseforcash challenge was an opportunity to discover a bit more about our spending habits over the course of a week, and start a debate about what we prefer: cash or card.
If you’d have asked me four years ago what I preferred to use, it would have been a no brainer – card all the way. I found the convenience of just swiping my card way easier than remembering to get cash out all the time. In my head, people who always used cash were either hugely organised or rather old. It seemed like a prehistoric way to pay for things when everywhere I went was so geared up for paying by card.
Then I moved to a little village in Devon. We don’t have a cash point in our village and our local shop doesn’t accept card (or, if it does, there’s a minimum payment amount which I’ve never bothered to ask about). Lots of the places we visit don’t have card machines and I’ve been caught out so many times by never having cash.
The NLM is a big pro cash person. He takes money out of the cash point at the beginning of the week and budgets accordingly. He hates spending on his card because he says it’s harder to keep track of what’s going in and what’s coming out. I’ve always laughed at him about this but, actually, the past week has been a real eye-opener for me and I now realise that he may have a point.
For the first three days of the challenge we were asked to only use a bank card to pay for things. At first this sounded easy, but on Friday we ran into troubled water. Frog has pocket money on a Friday and her school was hosting a charity bake sale – neither situation allowed for a card payment, obviously. We also tend to go to the village shop for sweets after school on a Friday (Friday is “treat day”) and I wasn’t about to try and put 50p on my bank card. Cue a morning trip to the supermarket (or, if you’ve watched the video, TWO trips – but that’s another story) in order to avoid an after-school tantrum. A morning I hadn’t bargained for and which, to be honest, I didn’t have time for either.
But before you think I failed at the card challenge and won at the cash, I also found the bank card ban days tricky too. I went to Bournemouth with Baby Girl on Tuesday for a blogging event (more on that to come soon) and needed to fill up with petrol. Not having been organised enough to take cash out earlier in the week I was forced to withdraw money from the machine at the petrol station – one of those ones that charges an arm and a leg to take cash out.
Overall, I found that I definitely spent more on days when I was using my bank card only. From spending online (breastfeeding + phone shopping apps + bank cards = bad news for budgeting) to impulse supermarket purchases – only the essentials like wine and chocolate, natch – when I’m using plastic it’s easy to forget what I’ve racked up already because it doesn’t really feel like real money.
However, I do so love the convenience of cards. If I had to survive on cash alone I’d feel marooned without a safety net. My card is like a buffer, always to hand in case of emergency situations. Plus, as a time poor parent who rarely has time to go to actual shops I find the ease of paying via card on the internet a real life-saver – especially as we live in the sticks. The thought of going back to days pre-internet shopping where everyone paid with cash all the time literally make me shudder. How did people have time to DO anything?!
So, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past six days of the #caseforcash challenge it’s that I’m deeply fickle when it comes to cash vs card. I simply can’t pick one over the other. Use card only and I’ll lose mum points on pocket money day or sweetie day or school bake sale day with my daughter (not to mention the Tooth Fairy never pays via card either). Use cash and I’ll lose vital time having to go to actual shops whenever I need something I can’t get in our local supermarket.
How about you? Are you a cash or a card person?
Find out how my fellow #caseforcash bloggers found the challenge: