I bet some of you were wondering when I decided to switch to a cash only life…after I talk so much about using my credit cards for the cash back. Well have no fear…I have NOT gone over to the dark side.

I am still using credit cards for everything and paying them off in full every month so that I don’t get fees but I earn cash back on my spending.

I am referring to a conversation I recently had with a friend who believes credit cards are tools of the devil and uses cash or debit cards only. I said to this person if that is what works for you then fine, but I choose to use my credit cards because I have FINALLY gotten a system where I can use them responsibly.

My friend drives a very expensive car and was frantically searching for a debit card in order to buy gas. This is because his car runs into some serious problems if it runs out of gas BUT because he only uses his debit card he tends to drive on Empty and buy gas at the last possible minute. He lives  and works close to gas stations so he figures he can go a couple of miles once the tank reads empty before filling up.

img from http://valueslant.comIn this case he was frantic because it was time to fill up and he had misplaced his debit card. He did not have a back up card because he only had one account because he did not trust credit cards.

I pointed out that he really did not trust himself..because the cards did not make him do anything…but that is another discussion.

Anyway I said why not use the emergency cash and run out to get gas since you cannot find the card. There was a moment of awkward silence and then my friend asked WHAT emergency cash.

I said…you know the cash you keep in a drawer at home for cases like this. I figured if you used cash for everything then you would at least carry $20 in your wallet or have something at home. This person said  he did not need to carry cash because he never had an emergency. And in any case if he needs cash he could just use his card in the ATM.

I was trying not to be sarcastic but I could not help but blurt out the fact that right now looked like an emergency situation to me and he did not have cash on hand to run out to get some gas and prevent breaking down the next day on the way to work.

I do not understand how someone who lives on a cash basis would NOT have any cash on hand and rely solely on there being a working ATM around. I use only credit cards and I still have at least $20 in the house somewhere and between $10 and $20 in my wallet in case an emergency comes up. That just seems like common sense to me.