This is a guest post by Tisha Tolar. Tisha is a freelance writer providing content for CreditCardAssist.com, where she regularly writes about credit cards, rewards programs and general consumer finance issues.
With the holiday shopping season on the horizon, malls, restaurants, and superstores will be a hub of bustling activity that will seem to never cease – at least until the husbands and boyfriends finally head home late on December 24th. During the busy days and nights of finding that all-important gift, we shoppers may tend to forget about those who help us out during the chaos. The waitress who brings us hot coffee refills, the taxi driver who unloads our bags of gifts, the street performer who brings a smile to our faces during a familiar Christmas carol. All of these people are working, much like us, to provide a good and happy holiday for themselves and their families.
Convenience of Credit
However, unlike many people who live paycheck to paycheck or even above the norm, many of the people helping us this season rely on cash tips to supplement their low-end pay. If you have never worked in an environment where tips are appreciated, you may have never before considered how our credit-toting selves have affected the tip-reliant. More people than ever depend on the convenience and safety of their credit card and as a result, have stopped carrying cash. With a credit card, a consumer receives buyer and fraud protection if stolen or misused. With cash, there is no such guarantee.
Those who rely on cash tips have seen a drastic change in their income. What used to be a great convenience to workers to keep their tips each night is now a ball of paperwork. Employees who receive tips via credit cards no longer have access to the immediate cash they used to depend on. More Salvation Army Santa’s are being ignored because they don’t take Mastercard. A cashless society is a hard adjustment to many non-profit organizations and street artists, who find it harder to get donations.
However, on the other side is the statistics that those diners who pay out tips on credit are more likely to be more generous and charities are reporting that since instituting online donation technology, they too have seen an increase in charitable donations. It is this technology that make living in a cash-free society but it is also this line of thinking that leaves many struggling in debt. Perhaps going back to the “old school ways” and carry some cash can give everyone a happier holiday and here’s why:
- Cash purchases can certainly limit your spending and force you to stick to a budget.
- Cash on hand makes it easer to track your spending and focus on what your really need.
- Cash on hand eliminates interest charges.
- Cash on hand allows you to tip the nice waiter who catered to you after a long day of shopping.
- Cash on hand helps the bell-ringing Santa provide presents for those less-fortunate than you.
So, as you head out this holiday season, take time to plan a shopping budget and leave the credit cards at home. Keep a little extra cash on hand and perhaps you will get the chance to brighten someone else’s holiday, while keeping yourself out of holiday-induced debt.