Most of us rely almost solely on our credit or debit cards when we need to pay for something. But what if you find yourself in a situation where cash is the best — or only — option?
Here are five common areas where it pays to have some paper money in your wallet, according to CheatSheet.
1. Travel emergencies
If your trip involves road travel, you’ll want to have a little cash on hand in case you pass through a tollbooth. And what if your car breaks down? Cash can also help you pay a tow truck driver, if necessary.
2. Restaurant meals
Going out to eat in a group usually involves splitting the bill. If you’re not comfortable using a money transfer app like Venmo, your next best bet is to cover your portion of the meal with cash.
And make sure you don’t stiff your server. According to CNN Money, when restaurant tips are left on credit cards, part of that money automatically goes to the credit card company in the form of a processing fee; that puts a dent in the server’s earnings. So it’s better to leave a cash tip.
If you’re unsure how much money to put down, here’s the ultimate guide for tipping everyone.
3. Cards aren’t accepted
Nowadays, stores that don’t take credit cards are few and far between (even Aldi accepts them). However, county fairs and craft shows may be cash-only venues, so don’t forget to hit the ATM before you arrive.
If your issuer thinks there’s fraud on your account, your card may be suspended without notice. That’s one unexpected situation where you’ll be glad to have a little cash on hand.
5. Office purchases
Your boss’s daughter is selling Girl Scout Cookies, or a colleague is retiring and everyone’s contributing to a goodbye gift. Rather than write an IOU to a coworker who’s willing to cover your portion (which could earn you the reputation of the “cheap” colleague), pull out that stash of cash and pay your share right away.