(SWNS)–The key to a healthy budget may be as simple as carrying cash, according to new research.
The survey polled 1,500 Americans to analyze their payment preferences and found 51% said using cash helps them budget their money, with Gen Z being the most likely to agree.
In fact, Gen Z respondents were the most likely to prefer using cash over other payment methods at 52%.
Using cash as a budgeting tool seems to be working well, as 61% said they keep a strict budget to know how much they spend – with boomers leading the pack at 65%.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Cash Connect, the survey found 77% of respondents agreed there’s nothing worse than finding out they need cash when they have empty pockets.
The results showed Americans keep an average of $52 on their person and three-quarters of respondents keep an emergency cash stash – averaging around $89. One in five respondents even said their emergency stash is upward of $200.
Aside from your standard hiding places like a spare purse or wallet (29%) or a home safe (18%), the survey uncovered some more unusual hiding spots for Americans’ emergency cash.
Hiding your cash in the mattress seems to still be in fashion, along with secret books on the bookshelf. One respondent hides their emergency fund in their trailer hitch and another opts to squirrel their cash away in old prescription bottles.
Secret hiding places aside, the survey also delved into what exactly Americans are using their cash for and found tips top the list.
Just over a third of respondents (36%) even said they go out of their way to withdraw cash for tipping specifically, even if they don’t plan to pay for their service in cash.
“There’s this perception that cash is disappearing, and it is not,” says John Clatworthy, SVP, Director of Client Services of Cash Connect, a division of WSFS Bank that provides cash logistics services. “What we are seeing is that consumers still see cash playing an important role in how they manage their money and make payments.”
Rounding out the top five things Americans prefer to pay cash for included fast food (44%), candy and snacks (37%), coffee (32%) and gas (27%).
With all of this in mind, there are some limits to Americans’ cash spends – $31 to be exact – any more and respondents would prefer to use another payment method for their purchase.
The survey also polled 500 business financial decision makers to analyze their cash habits and found this feeling is mutual.
Thirty-nine percent of these respondents said they have a cash-only policy for purchases less than $20. In fact, 43% of their businesses’ purchases are less than $20.
Clatworthy added, “It is important for businesses to continue to accept a variety of payments for them to grow; there are ways and things like smart safes for them to easily manage their daily cash flow and improve their reconciliation processes.”
Similar to the 77% of Americans that said running out of cash is their pet peeve, 71% of the financial decision makers polled said there’s nothing worse than a customer whipping out a large bill to make a small purchase.
This can be especially difficult when their businesses start to run low on change for cash purchases – an average of four times a week.
Overall, 82% of the financial decision makers polled said their businesses have seen steady cash payments over the last five years, despite also seeing an increase in person-to-person digital payments.
TOP THINGS AMERICANS PREFER TO PAY FOR IN CASH
- Tips – 48%
- Fast food – 44%
- Candy/snacks – 37%
- Coffee – 32%
- Gas – 27%
- Groceries – 24%
- Drinks at a bar – 22%
- Personal care – 21%
- Gifts – 18%
- Pastries – 17%
- Alcohol – 16%
- Cigarettes – 16%
- Babysitters – 14%