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Soft skills refer to a set of personal attributes, behaviors, and social attitudes that enable individuals to interact effectively with others in a workplace or social environment. These skills are essential for building healthy relationships, communicating effectively, solving problems, and collaborating with others.

an expense that a you can subtract from adjusted gross income, reducing the amount of taxes owed

tax that is withheld from an employee's paycheck and paid by the employer to the government

Work Hard, Buy Hard:
How to Spend Smartly

APEF: Solving the Financial Illiteracy Crisis

an amount of money set aside as a financial safety net for unexpected expenses, usually recommended to be approximately 3-6 months worth of expenses

One of the most fundamental (and frequent) personal finance decisions you’ll make throughout your life is choosing between cash or credit when making purchases. Both have advantages and disadvantages that you should be aware of before making your decisions. Let's examine their pros and cons, and how to select one suited best to your individual spending personality.




  • Cash makes your spending habits clearer because you can see the money leaving your hands. This makes it feel more real than a card swipe and may help prevent overspending.

  • By paying with cash, there's no risk of incurring debt or paying interest on purchases you make with it.

  • Cash is widely accepted and provides a reliable payment option for most purchases. 




  • Some purchases can not be made with cash. If a vendor does not want to keep cash on hand, they may only accept cards.

  • Once cash has been lost or stolen, there's no recourse to recover it - once gone, it’s likely gone forever. 

  • Transactions made using cash can be more challenging to monitor than transactions using credit cards.

  • Unlike credit cards, cash transactions do not provide any additional perks such as rewards or cashback benefits; therefore you won't get anything extra out of spending cash. 




  • Credit cards provide an easy and quick way to make purchases, particularly larger transactions and online purchases where carrying cash would not be suitable.

  • Responsible credit card use can help you build a positive credit history; a good credit score is important when purchasing a home or car. 

  • Many credit cards provide additional spending benefits, such as cashback, points, or travel miles—a definite plus, especially if you’re committed to paying your balance monthly.


  • Credit cards allow you to spend beyond your means, leading to debt accumulation and high-interest charges if you carry a balance from month-to-month. If you know that you’re not as disciplined with payments as you’d like to be, consider avoiding frequent use of credit cards.

  • Failing to repay your balance in full each month will result in interest charges that quickly add up. Late payments will also hurt your credit score!

  • Some credit cards impose annual or late payment fees that could eat into any offered rewards or benefits.

  • Look, I know what you’re thinking- what kind of dinosaur uses cash as a primary spending option? That’s an excellent point, so let's talk about one other possibility.

Online Payment Options (e.g., ApplePay, CashApp, Venmo):


  • Online payment platforms offer quick and easy ways to transfer money to individuals or businesses without the need for physical cash.

  • Digital transactions provide a clear record of your spending, making it easier to track expenses, manage budgets, and reconcile accounts.

  • Online payment options often come with security features like encryption and fraud protection to safeguard your financial information.


  • Online payments can rely on technology and internet access, which may not always be available or reliable.

  • Online payment platforms may collect and store personal information, raising privacy concerns for some users.

  • Some online payment services charge fees for certain transactions or withdrawals, which can add up over time and increase the cost of using these platforms.

When deciding how to pay for a purchase, consider factors such as your spending habits, financial discipline, and ability to repay debt. Cash may be preferable if you're prone to overspending or want to avoid debt altogether, while credit cards can offer benefits like rewards and building credit if used responsibly. Online options can combine benefits of both, avoiding interest rates while allowing you to have a record of your transactions. Ultimately, the best option is the one that aligns with your financial goals and allows you to manage your money wisely. By understanding the pros and cons of each spending method and your financial personality, you can make informed decisions that set you on the path to financial success!

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