Coins and notes: Is it over for Australians using cash?

Published on: September 5, 2019

Written by:

Adam Faulkner

It’s a fact that nearly all of us have become true digital natives when it comes to spending. We now use digital options to buy just about everything, from tap-and-go at restaurants to online purchasing for everything from fashion to whitegoods. Think about the last time you used cash…like many, you may struggle to remember.

The reality is that the end is near for coins and notes. Digital shopping is here to stay and will only grow. Services like Afterpay have become a mainstream convenience that bring back the old ‘layby’ days, just in an online version. Apple is getting in on the gig, launching their new Apple Card, a service that takes about five minutes to sign up to on your iPhone. Even the government is starting to close the loop on the ‘black’ cash-based economy, proposing to put a limit on the amount of cash you can use to purchase just about anything.

While there’s still a use for physical cash in some places, it’s going to continue shrinking. Given a total digital economy is where we are going to end up, here are my tips to better navigate a cashless world.

1. Know where your cash is going

There’s no doubt that digital spending can be addictive; it’s not like the traditional scenario where you would withdraw cash to pay for something. Physically handing over your hard earned had a different feel to it; it was easier to monitor everything you spent. But now, with most of us having any number of direct debit subscriptions and multiple credit/debit cards, you can rack up a large bill pretty quickly without noticing. 

Like all good planning, starting by understanding where your cash is going is crucial. Most financial institutions now have spending trackers and apps that you can use to know where your money is going. You’d be surprised how many people get caught out overspending, particularly on things like entertainment. 

One interesting thing I read about the Apple Card: As it lives digitally on your phone, the colour of the card image changes colour based on where you’re spending. It gives you a visual representation of exactly where your money is going. That’s a great example of a tool that can help you easily track your spending habits. 

2. Avoid impulse spending: Stick to a budget

Knowing where your cash is going is one thing, setting a budget and sticking to it is the bit that matters most.

Budgeting is something that some people find simple while others really struggle to master it. My advice here is straightforward: If you want to avoid overspending, set a budget and learn to live within it. The banking apps I mentioned before are a great tool for setting budgets, you can set spending limits and have automated warnings for when you’re hitting them (or overdoing it). 

If budgeting is tough for you, don’t be afraid to seek help and talk to a planner about getting yourself budget ready.

3. Be secure

Spending money online comes with its own set of pros and cons. While, on some levels, it is more secure than holding cash in your wallet, there’s always a risk when it comes to securing your data. Hacking breaches happen, and there are plenty of people out there looking for ways to scam or steal your hard-earned dollars.

Digital security often rests with individual PINs and passwords. Like anything online, when it comes to safety, keeping your data secure starts with you. Keep your passwords safe and regularly update/change them. Don’t just rely on your bank keeping you secure. 

Most financial institutions have flags to alert you of any suspicious activity on your accounts; my advice is to make sure you use these services. 

Like any tip, the key is in setting the right plan. If you’re keen to know more, we can show you how to better map your spending so that you understand how your ‘system’ for money works. Click here if you’d like to discuss this with our team. 

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