How Much Cash Should I Have In My Wallet?

Life as we know it changes fast and along with it, our habits change too.

One of the things that changed dramatically in the past decades is the way we pay for goods or services.

Using a credit or debit card has become the norm. It’s rare to see cash nowadays.

With the advent of electronic money, including dozens of apps, and the NFC phones that allow us to pay without using a card at all, carrying cash is now a thing of the past.

Yet, there are moments when using the good old method of paying in cash could come handy.

What are you supposed to do if you’re waiting to pay your bill at the restaurant and your card gets declined? Live with the embarrassment or pull out some cash?

Tipping is also simpler in cash.

And this leaves us with the question: how much money should I have in my wallet?

How Much Cash Should I Have In My Wallet?

Paying everything with your credit card is surely nice. However, there are still moments in life when you have to pay with solid cash.

When those moments arrive, you can either wonder with anxiety if you have enough money with you or sit back and relax, knowing that you do.

The secret is knowing how much cash to carry with you at all times.

Due to a myriad of contradictory information online, though, figuring out what’s the golden number can be daunting.

Bill Gates, for instance, carries no cash. Users on Reddit swear by an infinite number of amounts, from $10 to $500. To make things even more complicated, in a recent survey made by a popular US bank, over three quarters of the respondents affirmed that they never keep more than $50 in their wallet. Part of the participants even stated that they wouldn’t carry more than $10 in cash.

However $50 is not a reasonable amount to have with you in case of emergency, let alone $10. On the other hand, $500 is quite a lot to lose if your wallet gets stolen or lost.

That’s how experts came to the conclusion that you should always have $200 in your wallet.

Why This Amount?

If you’re the kind of guy who questions everything, you might wonder why $200 and not more or less.

The reason is simple. Two hundred dollars is enough money to handle most emergency situations in those circumstances when paying with a credit or debit card is not possible.

For instance, if your car breaks in the middle of nowhere or you run out of gas, $200 is enough to call out the tow truck to get you to a car repair or gas station.

If you’re in the restaurant and your card gets declined, $200 can save you from an embarrassing situation in which you try to contact your card provider to see what happened.

Indeed, it seems that a pair of Benjamins is enough to cover pretty much any standard emergency.

Money Saving Lifehacks

Cash Carrying Tips & Tricks

Knowing how much cash you should have in your wallet at any given time is just part of the picture. How to keep your money is equally important.

These tips and tricks should help you manage most situations in the best way possible.

  • Keep your cash in mostly twenties: Sure, having two $100 bills might be less cumbersome, but carrying such big bills could turn out to be a bad idea. For instance, if you need some extra cash to thank a good Samaritan for having towed you out of a ditch while you were blocked in the middle of a desert road, pulling out a couple of the twenties is less embarrassing than asking if they could give you change from a hundred.
  • Have at least $20 in bills of five: Tips are a nice way of showing your gratitude for a service; whether it’s your barber or barista, having a few five dollar bills in your wallet can come in handy in many situations. Indeed, according to Business Insider, standard tipping for pretty much anything except of your restaurant bill is between $5 and $10.
  • Avoid one dollar bills: You don’t need them. In the modern world, these bills are mostly used to give out to the exotic dancers or homeless people. It’s very unlikely to pay for anything else with them. Money is generally infected with bacteria, but researchers in Ohio showed that the $1 bills are even filthier than all other bills. And in the end, you won’t have any benefit for carrying them.

Wrapping It All Up

With all this in mind, it’s easy to understand why $200 is enough to keep in your wallet. Whether you find yourself in an emergency situation or decide to pay for your groceries in cash, that amount should help you handle most circumstances.

Carrying cash could also be a great idea if you’re on a low budget and try to save as much as you can.

Indeed, a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology shows that we tend to spend more when paying with a credit card instead of cash.

In the world we live in, perhaps you’ll never need to have $200 in your wallet. On the other hand, having them can help you rest assured that whatever happens, you won’t have to deal with any embarrassing situations.

In the end, the decision is yours. Whether you decide to keep $200, $50, or no cash at all is down to you. Just remember that having that amount in your wallet could come with a wealth of advantages.

What do you think about it? How much cash do you usually carry? Tell me in a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

And if you don’t have the right wallet just yet, don’t forget to check our selection of the best wallets on the market.

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