Cash Can Save You Money, If You Use the Right ATM

You've probably heard it before, but switching to cash instead of credit has the potential to save you a lot of money.

Just to name a few benefits, using cash means you don't have to pay interest, there's no risk of overspending since you're limited to the contents of your bank account and you're more likely to be mindful about spending since you actually see the physical money leave your hands.

But even cash can have its drawbacks - in particular, ATM fees. Sure, it's free to take money out of your bank's ATM, but what about those times when you need to make a purchase but your bank is nowhere in sight? Chances are you head to whatever ATM is nearby, and that will cost you dearly. First, withdrawing from another bank's ATM can result in a fee of $3 or more. Then, your own bank will hit you with a penalty for using a competitor's machine. In the end, taking out just $20 can cost you 25% in interest!

Fortunately, just a little extra planning can ensure that paying cash remains a good deal.

Try to estimate how much money you'll need between bank visits. If you normally hit the ATM once a week, take out enough for groceries, gas and any other expenses you have planned - plus a little more (within reason, of course) just to be on the safe side. As an added bonus, planning out future payments is a good way to create a simple budget. You might find that it helps you spend less, since you know you can only use what's in your wallet.

Or how about resurrecting that ancient form of payment known as the checkbook? Swiping a plastic card is apparently so convenient that many of us have forgotten about the beauty of checks - they're essentially cash, without the trip to the ATM. Money comes directly out of your account, so there's no interest required. Just remember to keep close tabs on your checking account balance so your paper payments don't bounce.

Paying with cash might take a bit of extra effort today, but it will pay off tomorrow when you're free of credit card bills and the interest that goes along with them. Credit, on the other hand, will tie you down. The more you use it, the bigger your bill gets. And the bigger your bill gets, the more you have to keep using credit.

Is your debt already out of control? It's never too late to get help. Bankruptcy can lower even the most stubborn debts by offering a realistic payment plan along with legal protection. Find out for free how bankruptcy can help you get back on your financial feet with a complimentary debt analysis from an Atlanta bankruptcy attorney.

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