Each generation looks at the younger generations and scratches its head, noting differences that often seem very wide. Generation Z, people born between 1997 and 2012, definitely do things differently than older generations, especially when it comes to money.
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These young people, who were born into the digital age and use social media with a fervor their older peers don’t understand, also grew up during tough economic times. They watched their parents go through a massive recession, followed by a pandemic, and they don’t want to make the same mistakes, according to Forbes.
Inspired by Tik Tok influencers, one currency trend that seems new, but is actually a throwback to simpler times, is “cash stuffing”. That’s pretty much what it sounds like: dividing your income into physical envelopes marked for different expense categories and filling them with cash.
“Cash stuffing is a financial strategy of saving money instead of investing it in order to optimize inflation,” says Harry Turner of The Sovereign Investor, an investment education website and to trading. “This strategy is especially popular with Gen Z… who often struggle with student debt and uncertain job prospects. So, by putting money aside, they hope to protect their finances against an uncertain future.
There are different approaches. Some people put money aside where they “forget it,” Turner says, which makes them less tempted to spend it, like in a shoe, under a mattress or in a jar in the back of the fridge.
Other people are more strategic about it — according to Bill Lyons, founder, CEO and president of Griffin Funding — by dividing their income into different envelopes or binders, then putting specific amounts into them each month. “The idea is that you only spend physical money and have pre-divided funds for each area you might spend on. Z who lacks faith in traditional banking and government systems.
In practice, it’s also a way to always know how much money you have ahead of time, Lyons says. To break it down further, here’s why cash stuffing is becoming so popular.
It helps to focus on goals and budgeting
While cash stuffing has been around for a long time, Kendall Clayborn, CFP at SoFi, understands why it’s experiencing a resurgence. “Breaking down a larger savings goal that may take years to achieve into smaller monthly goals helps you stay focused and get to those gains sooner, which keeps you motivated.”
She also sees it as a positive influence on budgeting in general. “You set aside time each month to review your finances, create a budget, and set specific goals for the month.”
A 20-year-old girl named Savannah told Buzzfeed it helps her know how much she’s spending. “Compulsively buying unnecessary things is a hard thing to change, but with this method, since the money eventually runs out of the envelope, I can save easily,” she said.
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It reduces the use of credit cards
According to Frank Barber, business development and finance expert at Oxford Gold Group, another reason Gen Z is stocking up on cash is as a way to avoid debt. “When students avoid using credit cards, they save themselves the possibility of incurring increased debt.”
Clayborne adds: “You can now only spend the money you have, which currently prevents you from racking up more debt. I’ve seen this work especially well for people who currently have credit card debt.
It is also a means of anticipating inflation.
What are the disadvantages ?
One downside to this approach is that not using a credit card can hurt your credit rating. Additionally, Alvin Carlos, CFA and CFP, Financial Planner and Managing Partner of District Capital Management, says, “You don’t get any money or travel rewards. And you can’t pay for everything in cash. If you wish to attend a concert, you will need to purchase tickets online in advance.
Physical cash has another serious downside, according to Laura Adams, personal finance expert at Finder.com. “The first is that the money can be lost, stolen or destroyed and is not covered by homeowners or renters insurance.”
Clayborne adds: “Another downside is that it’s inconvenient to move money between your home and the bank to cover debit or credit card charges for online purchases. Also, you don’t have an electronic record of your transactions or the ability to accumulate credit by using a credit card responsibly. You’re also missing out on credit card rewards, such as cash back, purchase protections, and extended warranties.
It’s worth a try?
At this point in the lives of many Gen Zers, cramming the cash may still be worth trying to develop good budgeting and saving habits. Michael Ryan, Financial Advisor at MichaelRyanMoney.com, says: “As someone who promotes financial literacy every chance I get, I don’t care what people call it – as long as it helps. to promote good financial habits, I totally agree.. As professionals, we sometimes overcomplicate finances.When you look in your wallet and pay cash, it’s a very simple decision.
Alternatively, Clayborne points out that you can achieve the same money-stuffing goals with multiple separate bank accounts, and that way you can simply automate saving. “Not seeing that money in your checking account can make you less tempted to spend it.”
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