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Cash or card? Watch our reporter do a 'cash only' challenge

Cash or card? Watch our reporter do a 'cash only' challenge

When it comes to paying for things, do you stick to a debit or credit card? Or do you use cash?

If you're in the plastic camp, you're in the majority, according to CreditCards.com.

But there are Americans still devoted to using the dollar bill.

"If I pay in cash, I can watch the money leave my hand," said Dusty White, assistant professor at the University of Nebraska Omaha. "If I put all these small transactions on a credit card, when I get to the end of the month, what I see is one big lump sum."

He says it's the act of losing physical bills to something you want in the store that might control your impulse to spend more.

However, using plastic can be convenient.

FOX 42 News reporter Steve Saunders hardly carries cash. Neither does UNO student Tierra Sharae.

"Most of the people I know who say 'I never carry cash' are younger," Sharae said.

For one week, she and Steve participated in the "cash only" challenge.

"I think I would spend less if i used cash," Sharae said.

At grocery stores, gas stations, vending machines and other locations, she and Steve paid only with cash, which is Mary Carbonez's preferred payment method.

"It makes it easier for me to say, 'OK, I need this much money," and put that much money aside," Carbonez said. "I place an order. Here's my money. That money's now gone."

After seven days of dishing out paper money and avoiding the plastic, Steve did manage to spend less.

He also found using cash wasn't as convenient.

Of the challenge, Sharae said, "I'd say it went well. I learned quite a bit about my spending habits. I do think it was somewhat inconvenient for me to use cash just because I like using self check out, and sometimes, you're fidgeting to get it to accept your cash, same with vending machines. But I do think i did save a lot of money."

She says going forward, she does plan to carry some cash, but she has no plans to stop using her card.

If you do decide to start using cash instead of debit and credit cards, financial advisers suggest using envelopes to stay on budget.

Have one for each type of expense, fill them at the beginning of the month and only spend what's in those envelops.

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