I’ll find any excuse to use my credit card. My smoothie in the morning, I’m carrying too much to fumble with bills. Cab to Penn Station, counting cash might make me miss my train. Dinner with friends, it’s easier and math free if we get the waiter to split it on our cards. So yes, I admit it I’m swipe happy.
I know this pattern may look frivolous and irresponsible, and trust me I’ve had to explain and defend myself to my parents and older adults multiple times. But the thing is, it’s not something I do because I think my plastic makes me an invincible millionaire or simply to avoid the ATM (although, sometimes I really can’t be bothered to stop on my way home). The real reason is that it’s the easiest way for me to “balance my checkbook.”
I’m sure many millennials have vivid memories of a stressed parent sitting at a kitchen table strewn with receipts and bills, feverishly typing on a calculator in an effort to tally up every last dollar that was spent that month. Our young minds filed that image away with the sticky note that said, “Grown-up life is complicated.” But luckily our trusted friend, technology, has cleaned up the kitchen table mayhem. Now monitoring our money flow is as easy as signing in online or tapping an app.
I guarantee we all know when and how much money is coming into our bank accounts, but it’s imperative that we pay attention to the where, when and how much is going out. Running a credit card can be the most effective way to track where your money is going. It’s the faster, easier and cleaner way our generation has adopted in order to avoid the receipt bomb that detonates in the bottom of our purses.
So next time you find yourself trying to defend your $3 iced coffee credit card purchase, try using this analogy: cash receipts are like placing a phone call to RSVP to a party, it requires more effort and time to communicate your message; however, tapping your credit card app is like sending your RSVP through a text, it’s a faster and clearer way to track your messages.
We’re all adults, and it’s time we accept that there are different methods to reach the same goal of keeping our finances in check. So, to swipe or not to swipe, that is the question…one that only you can answer.