I’ve never been one to carry a lot of cash in my wallet.
It stems from my teen years – if there was cash in my wallet, it was spent within days of landing there. Flowed in and out like water, and most of the time I didn’t have a clue what I’d spent it on. McDonald’s fries, music, milkshakes…actually, I literally have no clue where that money went. I just knew there used to be a $20 bill in there and now it’s gone. Bummer, right?
So I got a credit card when I went to college. This sounds like a bad thing. Most folks I know tell stories about college kids who rack up thousands of dollars in charges on beer and spring break, kids who didn’t understand about late fees and credit scores until it was too late. Man, did they have some holes to get out of.
But for whatever reason my brain seems to be wired the exact opposite of the norm. (Stop laughing, BrightSide. I know what you’re thinking.) I don’t think twice about handing over a ten dollar bill to grab some snacks at the drugstore, almost as if the cash is begging to be released from my wallet. But my credit card? Well, I think hard before pulling out the plastic for just any old thing.
I guess this is because I got that credit card in college with the understanding that I’d be paying it off in full every month. No racked up bills from late night pizza, Slurpee runs, or new clothes because I seriously weighed whether it was worth seeing that line item on my statement and giving up part of my paycheck to pay it down. The mentality stuck.
As a matter of fact, it was only after I knew BrightSide that I actually saw a one hundred dollar bill in person. (Collective gasp here.) To me that was crazy big money, and I couldn’t begin to fathom what a college student was doing with a Benjamin tucked in his wallet. Turns out that BrightSide’s parents believe in the importance of emergency cash. He’d been given that hundred dollar bill after promising he’d only spend it in an emergency and that, if spent, he’d replace it immediately. I believe there may have been random spot checks when he’d have to produce the bill on demand, which just makes me giggle.
The habit stuck. To this day, BrightSide always keeps that emergency cash tucked away. Just in case.
I do better these days. I actually go long blocks of time with twenties in my wallet, just hanging out and chilling. But the pattern still runs true – once I break that twenty the cash just disappears. Poof!
I’m still safer with the plastic.
I gleefully participate in Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. She gives a prompt, and then we see what pops out. Good times. This week’s prompt is “cash.”