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How Much Cash Should You Have on Hand in Your Wallet?

How Much Cash Should You Have on Hand in Your Wallet?

For many of us, the changes to our EDC (every day carry) are so frequent that we do not even realize all of the little alterations we make over time. From digital wallets to RFID credit cards to a litany of other advancements in payment technologies, our great grandparents would be so confused about how we pay for anything. 

More than anything, they would not understand the lack of cash that we carry around in our daily lives. Some economists even predict the death of cash as a concept in the next 100 years. While this may not end up happening because of how our economic system is set up, there are still questions about the viability of physical currency.

Nonetheless, it is still around and accepted almost everywhere (though the COVID 19 pandemic temporarily stopped some of that), and you may have the question about how much you should carry around in your everyday life. The amount of cash you have on your is part of your EDC, so we want to help potentially give a few reasons why there is an ideal amount for most people.  

What Factors To Account For

Most people generally have different lives and life rhythms that make giving a blanket answer a bit precarious. However, there are a few factors to keep in mind when trying to decide on a cash carry range for your EDC.

We are going to list a few that you should take into account. 

Do You Need Cash at Work?

This may seem like a silly question, but for some, this is a reality. Whether it is for tipping valets or waiters, paying for a company meal, covering a parking meter downtown, or any variety of little tasks, having cash at work could be a necessity. Take this into consideration depending on your work environment.

What About Groceries, Gas, and Other Necessities?

Have you ever wondered why gas is cheaper if you pay with cash? Essentially, it costs companies and stores money to run credit cards because of small, incremental processing fees for the cards. Therefore, as an easy way to save a bit of money, paying for gas with cash is a smart idea. 

On top of this, if you are an old soul, you may use cash for groceries and other little necessities throughout the day. This is totally normal and not as inconvenient as you might think. If this is how you usually like to function, factor this into the number of bills you would like to carry.

Small Businesses Always Appreciate Cash

Along the same lines of the gas stations rewarding cash buyers, some smaller businesses might do the same as well. Some might even have lower prices as well for cash buyers. However, even if there is no reduced price, consider using more cash for smaller businesses that you frequent, as this really takes a burden off them in the long run. 

How Much Are You Willing To Lose?

While this is not necessarily something that we would all like to think or talk about, there is always the chance of an unfortunate situation arising with cash. Either through losing it yourself or having it taken from you, cash is a bit more vulnerable than cards. This has to be taken into consideration when thinking about your EDC.

It is also helpful to think about the areas that you normally operate within and whether theft is common in that area. While it is never fun to think about, being prepared is something that has to take these unfortunate situations into consideration. 

Also, remember that this consideration has to be taken with a card as well with new and changing scamming methods that are becoming more and more popular. With RFID fraud and theft continually on the rise, prepare yourself with RFID blocking wallets. Thinking about theft and your safety is not only for when you are carrying cash, so be smart and be prepared. 

What Economists Suggest

Economists have actually thrown out a figure as a general guideline for most people and their needs when it comes to cash in their everyday lives. The figure given is $200 for most people

This is because most people do not have expenses exceeding that on an average day, even if you get gas, pick up groceries, and go out for a meal. This is obviously based on current trends, so while it is a good baseline, think about your own personal life more than just that suggestion.  

Best Cash-Carrying Practices

Now that you might have a general figure in your head for how much cash you would like to carry every day, it is time for some tips and tricks for carrying your cash. These are just suggestions, but they keep the few hassles of cash to a minimum to increase your EDC’s security, ease, and effectiveness when it pertains to cash.

Bill Distribution

If we take the $200 suggestion for the sake of brevity, you might ask the question about bill distribution. Should you carry around two Benjamins? The answer is a resounding no due to not every place taking them and the added risk of one lost bill resulting in a lot more loss than if they were split up more. 

Of course, you do not want to go with the other side of the spectrum either. Two hundred singles will be much too bulky and unwieldy for your everyday carry, so we suggest sticking with a few 20s for the most part. Don’t forget about fives and 10s, as they seem to have some of the most practical uses when you are trying to be quick.

If you notice too many singles piling up as they inevitably do, try to keep track of them and store them in an envelope at home for a bulk conversion later. This is easy and quick and keeps every dollar working toward the same goal of covering you in the everyday course of your life. 

The Coin Problem

Perhaps the most consistently talked-about downside of using cash is the annoying accumulation of coins. While some people are great at using coins on parking meters or using them for goodwill by giving them to unhoused individuals, not all of us are that talented at getting rid of them. Of course, you can always throw them in a fountain for a wish; coins from wishes are used to support local parks and charitable organizations. 

For single bills, try to store them in a bag for use in a mass conversion down the line. They are also great for little tips or giving them away. However you wish to deal with them, the last thing you want to do is keep them jingling around in your pockets for eternity, so find a system and stick to it.

The Cash-Card Combo

While we advocate for cash being on your person just in case, we believe that a good balance between cash and card is best practice, as in some places, cards just make much more sense. That is why we have paid special attention to making sure that our wallets are capable of containing both efficiently and stylishly. 

Take our Griffin, for example. We have worked to redesign this wallet to hold up to 10 cards. It also has a money clip spring for easy access, all without compromising any of its slim design or stylish full-grain leather construction. Our wallets make it incredibly easy to keep a solid and smart balance of cash and card for any lifestyle. 

Cash Is Not Dead

Despite projections for the next 100 years by some well-regarded economists about the viability of cash, it is still a necessary part of our lives as of now. This may be subject to change in the future but does not seem to be any time soon. That being said, thinking about being prepared in general should include the amount of cash you carry in your wallet every day.

We recommend thinking about your needs, risk, and lifestyle when it comes to carrying cash. Finding the right wallet and right balance of bills takes a bit of time, but we at Andar can offer a little insight.

Next time you open your wallet, think about the contents and evaluate your preparedness for the next situation. If you find yourself unable to have the right balance, reevaluate your wallet and your general amount of cash! 



The Truth About the Death of Cash | BBC 

This Is Exactly How Much Cash You Should Carry At All Times | Yahoo! Finance

Why Some Stores Don't Take Credit Cards | The Balance

What Happens to the Coins Tossed Into Fountains? | Smithsonian