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Casualty of Convenience

The thought of this post came about quite a few months ago, after having a conversation with someone about the convenience of a debit card.  But ironically enough, I couldn't find a convenient time to sit down and articulate my thoughts on the matter.  Partially, I paused, because I wanted to make sure that it was something I felt prompted to write about, and not something that I wanted to stand on a soapbox about.  But, it's been a few months now, and I still think about it constantly.

Am I becoming a casualty of convenience?  Are you?  According to the "Concise Oxford American Dictionary," casualty by definition is, "a person or thing badly affected by an event or situation."  The event or situation in this case would be, convenience, defined as, "involving little trouble or effort."  Most of you are thinking that I conveniently Googled those definitions.  I did not.  I took the extra minute to walk to my bookcase, grab my dictionary, and locate the words.  Google would have most likely been quicker, but what if I lost my ability to think alphabetically one day?  Highly unlikely, but at what point do you start to become a casualty of this lifestyle?

Back to my original discussion that sparked this.  The debit card.  They are super convenient, right?  Most debit cards have the VISA or Mastercard logo on them, which are accepted almost anywhere in the world.  Grocery stores, unique boutiques, department stores, your local barista, a restaurant in Mexico, and billions of other locations.  But for a lot of people, using a debit card can affect them in a bad way.  While spending cash, registers as emotional pain, a debit card can actually put you in a much worse place financially and therefore emotionally.  I witnessed this first hand while working at a national bank.

We would have potential clients come in, that made barely enough to survive, and we were encouraged to set them up with a checking account, savings account, and debit card.  There were countless times that clients would come in who over-drafted their account on a $1.50 soda at a gas station that now cost them $31.50 because of the overdraft fee.  Banks are around to make money, so I'm not upset with them for trying to succeed.  However, I am disappointed in the people that push the convenience of a debit card, or anything else for that matter, on to someone that hasn't been given the knowledge to make a decision that is best for their situation.  For someone that is new to this whole spending money that they earned thing, in my opinion, cash is a far better way to go.  When there isn't any more cash in your wallet, you can't pay for anything else.  It's a great visual tool.  Unlike a debit card, where the money is magically going from your account, to the place you are making a purchase/payment, you can see exactly where your money is going.  An extra bonus of spending cash according to an article on MSN, is that when used at a grocery store, it actually causes you to eat healthier!

There are so many other first world/21st century conveniences that are not beneficial to us in the long run that we take advantage of every day.  Just to name a few...  Drive-thru restaurants= Over eating and unhealthy weight gain.  Texting= Lack of formal communication skills.  Social Media= Disengaged relationships.  eBooks= Missing out on trips to the library & learning the Dewey Decimal system.  Auto-correct= illiteracy.  TV Church & Audio Sermons= Lacking community & accountability with people that share your same faith.

There are so many more things that are convenient for us, that do make our lives easier and that I utilize daily, but I couldn't find one time in the Bible where it said my life should be convenient.  I think the key with convenience, like everything else in my life, is to find a good balance.  And that when I find myself in an inconvenient situation, I need to remind myself that none of the fun memories that I've made in my life have come about from laziness or convenience.  My challenge for everyone this coming week, is to do something inconvenient!



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