Pros and Cons of a Cash-Only Lifestyle (2024)

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Discover the pros and cons of using only cash to pay for your daily living expenses.

Pros and Cons of a Cash-Only Lifestyle (1)

Pros & Cons of a Cash-Only Lifestyle

Although we are increasingly moving towards a cash-free society, there still remains billions and billions of pounds worth of coins and banknotes in circulation, which suggest that many people are not ready to give up the cash just yet.

While more and more people use electronic methods to make payments such asdebit cards, credit cards and mobile payments, a sizeable amount still prefer to use cash for most of their transactions. There are a number of reasons for this and being cash-only doesn’t just mean that you are walking around with a bulging wallet or purse most of the time.

What Does Cash-Only Mean?

While cash-only refers to the practice of paying for products and services in cash, that does not just mean using notes and coins all the time.

The Pros of Leading a Cash-Only Lifestyle

For many, using cash for their living expenses is ideal! Here are some of the advantages of using only cash:

It’s Easier to Budget with Cash

By only spending the money you have at your disposal at any given time, you tend to be more thoughtful about what you spend your money on. Purchases are therefore planned out in advance, and you are more likely to save towards something when you know you are only going to pay cash.

You Don’t Get Into Debt as There’s No Credit

With cash-only purchases, as soon as you buy something, you own it. You don’t have to worry about repaying debts and, therefore, are much less likely to get into debt in the long run.

You Avoid Fees and Charges

While you may pay the same price for a product or service, whether you are paying cash or credit, with a cash-only purchase, you won’t have to pay the additional charges often associated with credit cards. They could be fees issued by the merchant or charges and interest levied by your bank or card provider.

Pros and Cons of a Cash-Only Lifestyle (2)

Cons of Having a Cash-Only Lifestyle

Like with most things in life, there are a number of disadvantages of leading a cash-only lifestyle.

You Won’t Build up a Credit History

People who use credit cards and pay them off in good time will establish a pattern of borrowing and therefore can build up a good credit score. By going cash only, you do not have the opportunity to build up a credit history, which may limit your access to credit when you need it.

Cash Can’t be Recovered if it’s Lost or Stolen

It is unlikely that you can recover cash if you lose it, whereas a credit card anddebit cardcan be cancelled and stopped when it is lost. Even if someone manages to get your credit card or debit card and use it to make purchases, the money can be recovered by the issuer.

You Can’t Reserve Certain Things

To book things like hotels and car rental, many companies will insist that you use a credit card or debit card. This is to give them some form of security if you cause damage to a hotel room or rental car that they can recover the expenses needed to cover the damage.

They will need to make sure that you have enough of a balance on a credit card ordebit cardto cover such expenses, usually between £300-500.

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Pros and Cons of a Cash-Only Lifestyle (2024)


Pros and Cons of a Cash-Only Lifestyle? ›

While cash-only budgeting can heighten spending awareness, it comes with inconveniences like frequent ATM trips, security risks, and missing out on card benefits, online payments, and easy tracking. Weigh the pros and cons for your financial goals.

What are pros and cons of using cash? ›

The pros and cons of cash
  • No interest charges. There are no additional charges when you pay with cash. ...
  • Makes it easier to follow a budget. ...
  • Less Secure. ...
  • Less Convenient. ...
  • Your cash savings may not cover certain expenses. ...
  • Pros:
  • Rewards credit card benefits. ...
  • A credit card payment can help cover surprise costs.
Nov 14, 2023

What are the benefits of cash only? ›

You Don't Get Into Debt as There's No Credit

With cash only purchases, as soon as you buy something, you own it. You don't worry about repaying debts, so you're much less likely to accumulate debt in the long run.

What are the disadvantages of cash cards? ›

  • Pre-paid debit cards do not help you build credit.
  • Many pre-paid debit cards charge fees before you even start using them. ...
  • Fees are typically hidden in fine print on the card provider's website.
  • Different cards have different policies regarding the charges you can make.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using cash as the main form of personal wealth? ›

  • Accepted everywhere. One of the great advantages of cash is that it will always be accepted as a method of payment. ...
  • Speed. ...
  • Hinders impulse and unnecessary purchases. ...
  • You can't spend more than you have. ...
  • Insecurity. ...
  • Discomfort. ...
  • Savings.
Apr 8, 2022

Can you live on cash only? ›

An exclusively cash lifestyle may help you follow your budget, sidestep overspending, and avoid the high cost of overdraft, interest, and other fees that can be incurred when you pay by check, debit, and/or credit card. But going all-cash has its downsides, too.

Why do people want cash only? ›

There are many less-than-noble reasons why someone might prefer to be paid in cash (trying to hide income from taxation, trying to hide income to avoid earning too much for government benefits, not having the legal right to work in the country, etc.) but the #1 reason for wanting cash is its reliability and finality.

Is it good to always have cash? ›

There are many reasons why you should always carry cash. In a time of increasing data breaches and identity theft, cash can ensure privacy and peace of mind. Some retailers offer discounts for cash payments, enabling you to unlock exclusive savings that might not be available if you used a credit card.

What are some of the problems of trying to live with cash only? ›

While there's nothing wrong with wanting to control your finances, you should always diversify your spending habits and keep your purchasing options open. Sticking to a cash-only life can limit your spending options and keep you from achieving financial wellness.

What are the disadvantages of keeping cash? ›

Lower returns: Since cash is largely a risk-free asset, investors don't get the “risk premium” that other investments, like mutual funds or GICs, may come with. Inflation risk: While cash has no capital risk, inflation can erode its purchasing power – meaning you wouldn't be able to buy as much with it in the future.

Is cash safer than card? ›

Credit cards are often more convenient and secure than carrying cash. As long as you can pay your bill in full each month, using a credit card is typically more advantageous than using cash for in-person purchases. You need to use a credit card for online transactions as you can't pay in cash.

Why cash will never go away? ›

With so much business still conducted in cash, don't expect it to disappear any time soon. Besides, some customers cannot pay with anything but cash, since they are unbanked or under-banked.

Why do people keep cash? ›

Reasons people keep cash at home include emergency preparedness, financial privacy concerns and mistrust of banks. It's a good idea to keep enough cash at home to cover two months' worth of basic necessities, some experts recommend.

Should we get rid of cash? ›

For instance, using cash instead of credit or debit cards may help keep some people from overspending, because you can see how little is left in your wallet after every purchase. In short, getting rid of cash would impose hardships on society's most vulnerable people and could jeopardize our privacy.

What are the risks of using cash? ›

Cash is a valuable asset, and businesses that keep large amounts of cash on hand are at risk from internal and external threats, including:
  • Physical Theft. Retail robbery is on the rise in the UK as robbers target the cash in the till. ...
  • Internal Theft. ...
  • Break-ins and Burglaries.
May 25, 2023

What are the pros of working for cash? ›

Get Paid Instantly

Some employers pay employees as soon as they complete their cash job duties. This makes it easy for employees to access their earnings and use them however they choose. There is no waiting period between cashing out and receiving payment as traditional jobs require.

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