4.17.2013

Cash Only.


Warning: I'm about to be serious for once.

Without divulging personal specifics, I want to briefly explain how and why Turkey and I took drastic measures to change the way we handle our finances. Turkey is a CPA so all this $$ talk gets him all hot and bothered to begin with... but throw in some big time fraudulent activity in our accounts and some unacceptable mistakes made by our banks and you have would have found my husbands feathers fluffed—IN A BIG WAY. Now lets add me into the equation. Im a super organized person & slightly obsessive compulsive. Money management has always been something that I take very seriously and care deeply about having in order. Between the two of us and the multiple “situations” we found ourselves dealing with this last year, we sort of got radical. We changed it up...

TWO WORDS: CASH ONLY.

Yep, you heard me right. We actually switched to cash only. Totally unheard of in todays world.

8 months ago we converted to spending predominately cash. This is an INSANE lifestyle change to make but really is so worth the peace of mind that it brings. We have a couple set places that we would swipe a card if need be... but thats it. This makes it super easy to spot fraud on our statements as well as well as drasticly reduce the chance that our number would ever even get stolen! Again, I repeat, this is not a small change..this really is a LIFESTYLE change. Fraud is everywhere these days. It isn't safe to swipe your card anywhere. Even online you aren't safe...don't think for a second you are safe even if you are using a “safe check out service” such as a popular one that rhymes with “Rayral”...ahem....Believe me on that. Taking this step back and changing things up makes us realize how much everyone not only relies on their card 100% of the time but never even have cash on hand. If you can see past the “inconvience” of the cash only rule you will find added benefits that for us weren't even the intentions of the switch. When you only have a certain amount of cash in your wallet and you truly hold yourself accountable to not pull out your card at Target -or where ever you may be, you will find that you stay in budget easily! I actually have left extra cash at home on purpose on occasions just so I wont impulse buy. We have cut back spending tremendously due to our “Cash Only” rule. For us this change was a matter of safety for our finances but it has really been a really great change for budgeting purposes as well.

After losing faith in using credit/debit cards –and especially so with online shopping we had to take another course of action to continue to order things. Lets face it...not all things are available in store and as a stay at home mama sometimes it's just easier to order something online then to tote my 2 year old to a store, where she may or may not have an epic meltdown. This is where prepaid Visa/Mastercard/Amex cards come in handy.
-Yes, they have an activation fee. But would you really ever say that 5 dollars wasn't worth protecting your credit?? I KNOW from experience its worth it. It's not like we are running out to buy a prepaid gift card 7 times a week. At most it seems we need one every couple of months. So maybe we spend 15 dollars a year to activate these cards but thats NOTHING compared to some of the issues we dealt with trying to reconcile fraudulent activity.
-Yes, this means that you don't have the luxury of spending money on a credit card and then having a whole month to pay it off. But should we be living that way anyway??? NO! We have never been the type of people to carry a balance on our credit card so making this change wasn't very hard. It just may mean now that if we don't already have a prepaid card with money on it then we simply need to work it into that month's budget and time that purchase accordingly. Easy enough.
-Yes, these card numbers could be stolen at some point too..but all you lose is money. No hit to your credit if the issue is unresolved....No “lock down” on your account until issue is resolved etc. The thief can only spend as much money thats on the card. Thats it. Unlike these credit cards that everyone carries around with like 15,000 + available balance...If someone stole your number they can rack up some major charges all under your name and credit. Some of these prepaids have some fraud recovery services anyway-so its likely that you could get your money back. At the end of the day, though, I'll hands down take a small loss on cash over having to negotiate, prove your past purchases and those that weren't yours, have an account locked down, & worry that someone has very personal information about me.

The whole inspiration behind sharing all this is because Turkey and I are GEEKING OUT over our new discovery: American Express for Target prepaid card. These bad boys are reloadedable -with no fee to reload if you transfer from your bank account (other cards typically charge a 5 dollar fee to reload) and only a 3 dollar reload fee if you chose to do it in person at Target, only a one time 3 dollar activation fee (other prepaids have a 5 dollar activation fee), fraud protection, purchase protection, & roadside assistance. Seriously people. This is a game changer in the prepaid card world. This card has so many benefits of a credit card but without any risk involved.

I think we can all agree that there is a time and place for actual credit cards but almost all americans are abusing their cards daily. We all SHOULD possess a credit card for emergencies. I'm not trying to say you shouldn't have one. I'm just promoting the notion that we should all stop using them like they are liquid cash.

Obviously, we are really passionate about this subject to be this excited over a freaking prepaid card but sadly past events have made this a huge concern of ours... for ourselves and for everyone around us. I write this to just make everyone stop, think, and consider how accessible additional safety can be in regards to our hard earned money. I put this out there in hopes that perhaps our story inspires someone else out there to start handling your money more responsibly and in the safest way possible. Its hard at first, but the changes are well worth the effort and pain it initially causes!

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