Spending money has become a multifaceted activity, where consumers and buyers can shell out cash for their purchases or transfer strings of coded, imaginary money between accounts with a slab of plastic.

Boise State student spending comes in the same varied forms.  While cash may seem like the least dangerous or potentially detrimental form of payment, both credit and debit spending come with their own enticements and downfalls.

Debit spending and cash spending stem from the same concept of spending money that has already been deposited or amounted, but their similarities stop there.  As junior criminal justice major Madisen Gerber said, “One fills up a plastic piggy bank and the other is somewhere floating in space.”

She continued to say that cash offers her as a consumer a visual representation of her remaining funds.  This makes it more difficult for her to spend money, as she has to give up a physical chunk of funds as opposed to swiping her card and letting it go electronically into an abyss.

However, Gerber finds that tracking her expenses and making a more representative budget is easier with her debit card.

“I can look at my past spending on groceries, utilities, food, clothes and know how much to budget for the next month,” she said.

In addition, Gerber said that having PIN protection on her debit account feels more secure than other forms of payment.

Junior psychology major Carrie Ramos uses a combination of cash and debit for her everyday purchases.

Ramos explained that, on an average day, uses her debit card for quick and easy transactions.  She also carries a collection of bills in case of a random mugging or attack.

“Walking on a downtown campus after a night class can be dangerous,” Ramos said. “A mugger may not feel so merciful if you have nothing to hand over other than a debit or credit card that can be immediately cancelled afterward.”

“I’m okay if I lose $25 to $30, especially if it means I get to keep my life,” she said.

Boise Police Lieutenant Rob Gallas is stationed at the Campus Security and Police Services substation.  He was hesitant to make a recommendation for a specific form of spending and held that such a decision is up to the comfort of each individual student. He instead stressed that students be aware of their surroundings.

“Be aware, walk with others, walk in lighted areas,” Gallas said.

When setting up student banking accounts, multiple banking establishments encourage students to set up a low-limit student credit line, specifically for the sake of building up a healthy line of credit for larger loan-based purchases in the future.

Gerber said that she is still coming to understand the full value of having a solid credit score.

“I know it helps buy cars, and some jobs really look into it,” she said.

Gerber continued to say that it is of utmost importance to her to pay off her credit balance in full at the end of each month so that further charges can’t pile up. Gerber rarely has a residual balance.

“Spend what you have and not what you’d like to have.  There is a difference,” Gerber emphasized.