I can’t tell you the last time I had cash in my wallet. Now it holds all kinds of cards – ID cards, membership cards, debit cards, healthcare cards. You probably have those same slots in your wallet and my guess is most of them are filled, but not with cash. We used to transact everything with cash or a check. Now we use cards. And depending upon the phone you carry, you may not even need cards anymore.
This antique cash drawer I saw in an store made me think about money. We use it differently now. We think about it differently now, we pay attention to it differently now. We save and may know the amount we have in our account(s), yet we never actually see the cash that represents the amount we have saved. We pay bills online, which means sending electronic money from our bank to a vendor. And we pay most things with a card – in person, online, via the phone. I’m not even sure students are taught how to “balance” their accounts anymore, they simply check their card or bank balance online.
I had an admin who worked for me and took a long lunch one day. She said she had an appointment that might run over. After lunch she was visibly upset and when I asked if she was alright, she burst into tears. Long story short, she had twenty-seven credits cards all maxed out and she went to a credit counseling agency to ask for help in paying down her debt. From the tears it was clear that the appointment didn’t go they way she expected. She had never been taught how to handle money, and to her the credit cards were fun; now that she had to pay the piper the fun had ended.
How were you taught to handle money? What are your practices around that topic? Are you a saver or a spender? Do you like having money set aside for a rainy day? Maybe you run a tight ship on a tight budget and are content no matter what amount is showing in your bank account. Some where along your journey you learned to use and manage money, at least I hope you did. Think today about how you handle money, what you believe it is for, and why you think that way. Cash may not be king anymore, but maybe it should be. Maybe a lot of financial problems would never exist if we could only spend the cash in our hands.