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Cash-only update: Better-prepared for unemployment

Since I’ve just been a victim of the layoff hatchet, it seemed like an apt time to update you guys on the cash-only lifestyle I’ve been livin’ for the past few months.

Going cash-only has actually put me in a better position than some folks face when they lose their jobs. I don’t have to worry about NSF fees or APRs or any of that. I actually see the money I have and I use it accordingly. And since I’ve taught myself to budget and to prioritize my bills, being unemployed really hasn’t been as bad as most would think.

I’ve learned to keep only a set amount of cash in my wallet at a time – particularly when I go out with friends or go on an excursion. And, of course, to pay my bills and to also have a set-up “savings” stash of sorts, I use a pre-paid Visa card.

Now, here’s some good news:

Until today, I have paid a $4.95 monthly maintenance fee for my card if I make deposits totaling under $1000 in a month. I’ve also paid a $4.64 reloading fee every time I’ve put money on the card.

Today I got an email from Wal-Mart Moneycard telling me they’ve reduced both fees to $3.

It’s making things a lot easier, that’s for certain.

I’m not sure how this is all going to work, since my cash-only lifestyle will change yet again when my unemployment kicks in. Apparently they don’t send you checks now; they send you a debit card with a Visa or Mastercard logo. The card in my state is issued by U.S. Bank, which apparently doesn’t have any branches in my area.

Keep in mind, though, that the best way to get cash out of a debit card if there are no nearby banks is to go to a grocery store, buy something you would purchase anyway (soda, toilet paper, tampons, what have you) and get cash back.

So – again, cash only is still pretty awesome. Not playing “Beat the Bank” is awesome. Reloadable debit cards are awesome. Budgeting is awesome, and being prepared for becoming one of the unemployed in America is – well, not really awesome, but it’s better than nothing.

By the way, I really wish my friends would stop making fun of me for my “stripper bills.” Okay, not really.

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