Credit cards make life easier. They are faster and more sufficient but are they really the best idea when going out on a budget? Probably not.
A budget forces you to think about how much money you are able to spend in one night and carrying around cash may be a better way to monitor your spending.
With cash you know exactly how much you have to spend and can tell when you are getting close to your limit. With a credit card you can open a bar tab and just keep swiping away, without realizing that your card is smoking and running on empty.
It all comes back to having a good plan, such as withdrawing cash from your account before heading to the bar. ATM’s inside bars usually throw a huge service fee at your account, which can be easily avoided.
Bars have ATM’s to tempt you, so stick to your guns. Running to the ATM during your night out defeats the purpose of planning ahead and can take a toll on your budget.
Also when it comes to tipping your wait staff cash makes it easier and more personal. Believe in good tipping karma. If you take care of your bar tender, they will take care of you.
It is very hard to create a relationship with your bar tender with a credit card because they don’t know what kind of tipper you will be at the end of the night. When given good tips, bartenders are more likely to take your order first and make your drinks with better quality.
Now even though cash should be your plan A, it is still a good idea to keep your plastic with you in case of an emergency. Remember in Chicago anything could happen and you might need to pay for transportation home if your night gets out of hand.
So ask yourself what's better for my budget paper or plastic?