Cold, hard cash. It’s got a nice ring to it. And when most people think of money, green pieces of paper bearing images of dead presidents come immediately to mind. In fact, cash still accounts for 40 percent of all consumer transactions, almost as much as credit and debit cards combined.
But what does cash cost?
According to a comprehensive study from Tufts University, it costs Americans $200 billion a year! Of the report’s findings, two really caught our attention: First, the average American spends 28 minutes every month going to banks or ATMs to get cash; Second, the average ATM fee has risen to $3.85.
Do the math. We’re wasting nearly six hours yearly getting cash and, if we’re using non-network ATMs four times a month, spending $184.80 a year in ATM fees!
This got us thinking: How could people better spend that time and money? In the spirit of summer, we came up with a few ideas:
Learn a language
Okay, so you’re probably not going to master Mandarin in six hours, but it’s plenty of time to pick up the basics of a foreign tongue, or brush up on some things you might have forgotten. Many local language schools across the country offer small group classes for less than $200. Rosetta Stone also offers 6-month subscription to the cloud version of its popular software for $159. Far more enriching than a trip to the bank.
Love sushi and always wanted to roll your own? Want to create your own unique flavors of pasta or ice cream? Maybe you’re still stuck on cracking an egg and boiling water, and need to learn the kitchen basics. If so, turn the time and money you spend at the bank into something delicious. Most cooking classes can be completed in an evening and nearly all of them cost under $100. For a commitment so minimal, you could take two!
All this talk of finance and math must have your left-brain exhausted. Rest it by taking an art class and giving your right-brain some exercise. There are studios and clinics all over the country where you can take a class on an evening or weekend from anywhere from $10-50 in a variety of disciplines like painting, drawing, and sculpture. You’ll be impressed at the new skills you pick up and doodling will give you something to occupy your mind next time you’re waiting in line at the bank.
This one’s not as much fun as the other activities listed, but your future-self will one day thank you for it. Due to the miracle of compound interest, if you invest $200 while you’re in your 20s, the sum will grow significantly by the time you’re ready to retire. This lady was able to turn $200 into $7 million by holding on to stocks she bought young for 75 years! Not every investment yields such whopping returns, but putting your money to work for you sure beats working for it.
Obviously, we’re not suggesting that you’ll never need to use cash again. But we do want to get our readers thinking about the costs involved with using it. Cash remains the number one choice for P2P transactions (paying back a friend). By choosing a digital alternative to cash for these exchanges, Americans can have more time and money to have fun and enrich their lives.
Nooch is the easiest alternative to cash. By seamlessly linking your checking account with your mobile phone, we allow you to pay anyone, anywhere, at anytime. Instead of waiting in line at the bank or shelling out money in ATM fees, you can pay a friend with just their email address – they don’t even need to have the app!
Save time and money, and treat yourself this summer, by using Nooch for P2P payments instead of cash. Get it on the App store today!