mom with child in shopping cart

Family Finance and Budget By Michelle P. Sharrow, MBA  -There is nothing like cash. There is no waiting for transactions to post or fumbling around for receipts so that you can record transactions in your checkbook register.

News outlets now routinely report that hackers have stolen credit card data from major department stores and restaurants. Sadly, this type of incident is no longer unique or unusual.  While we can wait on companies to implement more safeguards to prevent this type of thing from happening, it is easier for us to take matters into our own hands to ensure that we don’t become the next victims. The easiest way to do that is to go back to the methods of the old days when life was much simpler and people weren’t so malicious. That is to use cash and cash equivalents for our every day needs.

Cash

There is nothing like cash.There is no waiting for transactions to post or fumbling around for receipts so that you can record transactions in your checkbook register. You withdraw the money from your account, make a purchase, and you are done. It is the simplest and easiest way to transact business. Additionally, for the budget conscious, shopping with cash allows you to stay on track with your financial goals. It keeps you from making a lot of small yet damaging transactions on things that you don’t need.

Like Cash

Not everyone is crazy about carrying around wads of cash every day and especially at night. The next best thing to cash is gift cards. Almost every business offers gift cards now.If you want to purchase gas, clothes, or groceries you can do so with individual merchant cards. The great thing about individual store or merchant cards is that there is no fee to purchase or activate them. You only pay face value.And the use of gift cards doesn’t stop with shopping; you can buy cards for dining out or going to the movies too. That is one way to definitely avoid your chances of being caught up in a fiasco like the incident at the Cheescake Factory restaurant. You can find fabulous deals online and even in some brick and mortar stores on gift cards. Get a fabulous deal on a gift card, use that gift card with a coupon and you are way ahead of the game.Lastly, similar to cash, because you have a preset spending amount, using a gift card will help you stay on budget too. Look for great deals online at sites like restaurants.com.

There are many unscrupulous people in our world today; unfortunately, we are unable to tell who they are solely by their outward appearances. And we shouldn’t spend our days, wondering whether people we encounter while we are out trying to enjoy our lives have ulterior motives. What we can do is, protect ourselves from identity theft and fraud by using cash or gift cards for our every day needs. Not only will doing this keep us safe, but it will also help us to stay on budget.

 

 

Michelle Sharrow

Michelle Sharrow

Michelle P. Sharrow, MBA is a seasoned freelance writer specializing in personal finance. Based in Waldorf, Maryland, she holds a Masters Degree with a concentration in Finance. Michelle provides a monthly column on ways to help families maintain their finances and stick to a budget titled, Budgeting and Savings for Families.

More Family Finance:

http://extension.usu.edu/utah/htm/family-finance

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/fch/healthy-families/family-finances

http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Money/Personal-Finance.shtml
Michelle Sharrow

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