17 Things You Should Only Pay for in Cash

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By Darryl Henderson

As society becomes more reliant on modern payment methods such as e-wallets and credit cards, it may seem that paying with cash is no longer acceptable. However, using cash can be useful in certain situations. Here are 17 things you should only pay for with cash.

Products Sold by Small businesses

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Cash payments can often lead to discounts, especially in smaller stores where you can barter. This could help you to save money in the long run as you won’t have to pay the set price. It can also be great for avoiding any credit card fees that may be applied. Barter fairly, though!


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Even if you pay for your meal at a restaurant or a dining establishment with a card, it’s better to tip in cash. This ensures the money goes directly to the server without any deductions. It also makes it easier to split tips at the end of the night!

Unaffordable Purchase

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It’s best not to purchase things you can’t afford, but sometimes, life calls for it. As Harvard Business Review reports, nearly half of U.S. households are unable to pay their credit card bills each month, so use cash for these kinds of purchases; otherwise, you might end up relying on excessive debt!

Parking Meters 

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While many parking meters do accept card payments, it’s much easier to pay in cash, especially if you want to get rid of loose change. Parking meters are also notorious for having dysfunctional card payment systems, which isn’t ideal when you are in a hurry.


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Although every charitable donation is appreciated, it’s far more beneficial to pay in cash when giving money to charity. This helps to eliminate processing fees, which the charity has to pay, meaning that more of your money will be used for good.

Local food joints

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Many local food joints do not have card readers, which can be burdensome if you have already ordered and don’t have cash. Local food joints appreciate it when customers pay in cash, even if they have a card reader, as it helps them avoid charges. So, do the right thing!

Personal services

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Businesses providing personal services such as haircuts and massages will always prefer cash payments, ensuring the cash goes directly to the hardworking individual. It also helps these people as they don’t have to deal with the hassle of credit card machines or potential payment processing issues. They have enough on their plate already!

Public Transport

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According to Business Insider, cash remains resilient and an important payment method for many consumers. This is especially the case when it comes to paying for public transportation such as taxis and buses, as many of these still don’t accept card payments as a valid form of payment, at least in the U.S. 


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Unexpected bills may pop up at inconvenient times, making us fork out our hard-earned money. For emergencies, it’s better to use cash as it means that you can get everything sorted quickly, saving crucial time. Cash could also be convenient if the services or products you require urgently don’t accept card payments.

Large Purchases

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Using cash for larger purchases can offer a higher level of security as it prevents potential fraud in high-value buys. You will also have a higher level of privacy as cash payments cannot be traced, meaning it’s good if you don’t want anyone to know about your significant purchase!

Meals at Restaurants

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Paying with cash at restaurant facilities helps friends to divide their bills. As The Independent emphasizes, people are split on how to settle the restaurant bill after a meal with friends and family. Using cash over card avoids these complications, streamlining group transactions in the process.


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Cash is essential for purchasing merchandise and snacks without hassle when attending events such as concerts or festivals. Many events held in rural areas cannot accept card transactions as there isn’t a strong signal for the card reader to operate, so make sure you bring a backup stash of cash!

Second-Hand Purchases

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Cash is certainly the better option when buying from individuals or at garage sales. Negotiations are smoother, and there’s no risk of fraud like with online transactions. Cash may also allow you to barter with the person selling the item, especially if they want rid of it quickly!

Paying Friends or Family

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When paying friends or family, cash transactions are straightforward and immediate, eliminating the need for complex repayment plans or tracking. Unlike electronic transactions, cash payments don’t leave digital traces, providing privacy for both parties involved. It also helps avoid any delays with digital payments.

Impulse Purchases

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The Guardian reflects that we are often more likely to shop impulsively when we are stressed or when we perceive a lack of control over situations, so cash is ideal for avoiding this. Having limited cash on you prevents you from purchasing based on impulse, helping to keep your budget in check!

Vacation Purchases

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Cash can be essential for small purchases, tipping, and other areas where card acceptance may be limited or unreliable on vacation. Using cash also helps you set a vacation budget when you are traveling, letting you know if you have money left over when you come back.

Petty Cash Expenses

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Last but not least, cash is undeniably convenient for small, everyday purchases like coffee or snacks. It avoids the hassle of card transactions, and you don’t have to locate your card or go to a bank machine, meaning you can spend your time more usefully hanging out with your friends. It makes life so much easier!

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