What … NO CASH?

Do you know what really burns my butt?  It’s standing in line at a store or gas station attempting to pay for the goods I’ve purchased only to have someone in front of the line playing around with a machine to purchase their $0.79 coca-cola with a credit or debit card (or now days a phone).  When in a hurry, I generally will walk to the head of the line, throw a buck on the counter, and tell the person to take their coke and move on so the rest of us can check out.

Why are people not carrying cash?  I’ve tried to instill in my kids to always keep $20 to $25 on them at all times for “emergency” or “wants,” but it has done no good.  Of the four, I know of at least 3 that had rather pull out that plastic or phone to pay for a coke or some other snack.

That is not to say that plastic is all bad.  I use it too … at the pump at the gas station so that I don’t have to go stand in line and wait for some person to try to remember their pin number just to put it in three or four times wrong.  Plus, it seems the credit/debit card machines in the gas station and stores are always slower than the card readers on the gas pumps for some reason.

You see, another thing that get’s under my skin is the people at the gas pump that feel they have to leave their car there while they go in to pick up those snacks for the drive ahead.  Then, they use plastic once inside.  C’mon folks … that’s why most gas stations come equipped with parking places … move the darn car – and by all means if you are going to use plastic … at least use it at the pump as well, so the next person can get their gas and get on down the road.

I’ve done some research and according to a New York Posts Article only one in four Americans rarely carries cash at all anymore — and millennials are driving the trend, according to new research.  https://nypost.com/2018/03/22/americans-barely-carry-around-cash-anymore/.

This means to me that 75% of the people out there have no cash on them.  Mark Mattern, Managing Vice President, US Card, at Capital One says, “The results indicate a shift in mentality when it comes to everyday spending. We know from conversations with our customers that they are hoping for a continued frictionless experience with their payment options. At the heart of what we’re doing, it’s really about empowering people to feel confident about their relationship with their money. We constantly work with our customers in mind to create payment solutions that fit their busy lives.”

Busy Lives?  I can tell you from experience at Office Depot that it takes twice as long to pay for something via plastic than it does via cash … IF … the cash register is working properly and tells the cashier how much change to give back to the purchaser.  Yes, that’s right!  We are to the point now in our society that if the cash register does not calculate the change and the purchased items did not have bar codes to scan … we would really be operating at a snails pace.

I went to Sonic the other day to purchase two Strawberry Creme Slushes for my wife and I (if you have not had one, I highly recommend them).  The bill came to $4.65 (yea it was after 8:00 PM so we get them for half-price).  I gave the car-hop a $10 bill and she looked at me in dismay.  I said, “No, the tip is not $5.35.  Keep $1.35 and give my back $4.00.”  She really got confused then (and these folks want a $10.00 per hour minimum wage – but that is for another article).

I guess the stores really prefer you to use plastic since they hire people that can’t do simple math … but plastic does not save money.  It costs the stores 2% to 3% more per purchase (which is likely passed on to the consumer), and it makes it very easy for the consumer to over-spend when there is no need to.

In a report by CNBC of the people who do carry cash … 76% will keep $50 or less on them.  https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/01/heres-how-many-americans-say-they-dont-carry-cash.html.

According to this article:  One reason for the shift away from paper, financial advice website NerdWallet experts speculate, is the growing use of person-to-person payment apps, like Venmo, that allow users to digitally swap funds.

Another reason: e-commerce in general. “Rather than going to the grocery store and paying with cash, for example,” NerdWallet says, “people now order groceries online and pay electronically. These trends, combined with the now-widespread use of debit [and credit] cards, have made carrying cash a rarity for many.”

My son and I recently had a motorcycle trip we went on.  He, not a millennial but rather a member of the X-Generation wanted to do this “digitally swapping of funds” with me to pay his share.  As much as I love him I told him to go to an ATM and get me CASH! 

The article referenced above goes on to state … There are also good arguments for carrying cash. For starters, since it’s “more painful” to watch your money disappear, you could find that using cash leads you to spend less. Especially since, with surcharges and fees, like the extra dollar or so a movie theater charges you to buy tickets in advance with a card, you often have to pay extra when you use plastic. 

Unfortunately, I believe we are all paying extra because some choose to use plastic.  Credit card and Debit Cards are not free of charge to the merchant … and most smart merchants build that charge into their overall price.

Folks, Cash is good and convenient.  I know you hear on the news about how the US Dollar is being devalued (and it is when considering inflation) … but I still think it is the most valuable currency in the world.  As a matter of fact it is the only currency in the world that can be spent in any country.  Can you spend the Mexican Peso or the British Pound in America … No!  But, you can certainly spend the American Greenback – even though it is only a promissory note – in either of those countries and in more.

Some people, perhaps, even feel that if they carry cash they are targets for muggers.  However, I can assure you a typical mugger (who after all is not that smart) has no idea if you are carrying cash or credit cards unless you are foolish enough to “show it off.”

Please, if you are going to be spending less than $25 at a time … take some cash with you.  You won’t be mugged any easier … and you may actually spend less from time to time.

That’s my rant for today 09/20/2018,

Jerry Nix  


13 thoughts on “What … NO CASH?

  1. Keith

    Ticks me off as well, bu there isn’t much we can do about it. We’re being pushed towards a “cashless” society and have been for years, so it’s no surprise that people these days just don’t carry much if any cash with them. I prefer what I do and that’s to NEVER use credit or debit cards for my purchases. Besides I love the look on a salespersons face when they ask how I’m going to finance a big ticket item and I pull a wad of greenbacks out of my pocket. But there is a flip side to using a credit card for even minor purchases and that’s that so many young people today have a hard time making change. That’s why places like McD’s has cash registers that do ALL the work for the kid. All they have to do is punch in the order and the register does all the work for them, including telling them how much change they need to give you.

    Not to start a rant of my own, but I blame “common core”, Outcome based education and Education 2000 for much of the dumbing down of Americans. And all that I blame on the Dept of Education, something that the founding fathers didn’t think was necessary then and I don’t think is necessary now.

    1. Keith, thanks so much for reading and thank you for your reply. I agree … our students today are not being taught to think critically. This changes as they go into higher education … but I think it needs to be brought back to elementary levels. They no longer teach writing (hand writing) skills in schools since all students are using computers … and I think that is a HUGE mistake. I understand that they also do not allow them to remember multiplication tables in an attempt to try to get them to think through the answers on math … but not sure if I agree with that either. As for the department of Education … well there are a lot of government departments that really are not needed. Please keep reading and responding!

    2. David Nix

      Like you, I can blame Common Core for a bunch of items. I’m dead middle on my thoughts on here. I’ll share my thoughts further down, but wanted to agree with you on “Common Core” possibly causing future issues…

  2. Jim mckennon

    Missed my #1peave. Fools with no cash or card taking 15 mins to write a check. I always have 100 bill plus whatever other cash. I try not to piss off the best compliance guy I ever had

    1. Jim, thanks so much for your reply. I may have been the best compliance guy you ever had … but unfortunately the company compliance department did not feel as you did. But, hey, what do they really know???

    2. David Nix

      LOL Jim… Please don’t get me on the check writing in public places… I rather see disgusting people making out in Public (PDA, Public Display of Affection) than sitting there watching someone struggle through hand writing a check.

  3. Jean Orcutt

    Yay Jerry! We do think alike! I agree totally. Hats off and best wishes to you as you journey into and thru retirement! Remember, retirement is NOT for wimps! Sounds like you have it all figured out! Bike on! As for me, it’s all about cruisin’!

  4. kimberly

    …i like my cash back rewards on my credit cards, but i still carry about $50 or less cash “just in case”… like another person mentioned, i am less likely to spend when i have to use cash…
    really diggin your blog uncle jerry…congrats on retirement…be safe out there…love you~ 🙂
    …where do you find 79 cent sodas anyway?

    1. Great point Kim … Cash back is nice, but it does cost the credit card fee that is past on to you and everyone else by the merchants. However, getting yours back is not a bad idea. Please though, keep it to big ticket items. As for the 79 cent soda … It was one of those fountain drink specials that many gas stations run on hot days in the deep South. Thanks for keeping up with my blog, I had no idea you were and I really appreciate it.

  5. …i like getting my cash back rewards on my credit cards, but i still carry less than $50 cash “just in case”…like someone else mentioned, i am less likely to spend if i have to use cash…
    really diggin your blog uncle jerry…congrats on retirement…be safe out there…love you…:)
    ~where do you find 79 cent sodas anyway?

  6. David Nix

    Ok. My turn I guess. I “AM” one of those guys that will whip my card out for a Soda that costs only $1.25. (Yes, I know, let me have it all…) I’m even one of those guys that use my watch and my phones in hopes that I can leave my wallet at home and never need to fill my pockets up more than they need to be. I may post my full thoughts on this on my own blog later, but here are some bullet points that I have…

    1. Mr. Jim mentioned Checks in an earlier reply. Funny how that is still a thing…

    2. As mentioned, I rather not carry a wallet at all and just carry my devices. Both NFC Pay and Plastic is still better in my opinion. I work hard for my money as do any other employed person out there. For those who are OK with getting robbed, I still don’t know how you get that “cash” back. I travel to New Orleans a LOT, way more than I wish I would. IF someone robs me? Fine, take my credit cards. I’ll cancel them the minute you are out of my site with my phone. Take my phone too? Fine, you can’t get in it unless you know my PIN or happen to take my finger print with you. Nonetheless, I’m still going to cancel my cards as soon as I get to a landline and my phone will be completely erased the minute I can get online and clear it to full default using https://www.google.com/android/find.

    3. Dad mentioned that companies must pay an extra percentage for you to use your card. Very true. And I don’t mind using my card over cash since I can swipe my card, or use my device payment, faster than digging out cash and change. Yes, just as bad as watching someone write a check, I can’t stand someone sitting there trying to count out the exact cash and ‘change’ on a counter dropping coins everywhere. However, it’s more convenient for ME to use my card, although that company is paying for the fee. Yes, you could say we are ultimately paying that fee ourselves as the stores inflate their merchandise prices to cover that fee. So, ask yourself this…

    Why are you paying the exact same price with cash as me who is using a card? I can get in and out faster “most of the time, sure” than someone using cash. Why can’t you, who is using cash, pay less for the merchandise? I know certain gas stations (Pilot I believe) give you a lower price for cash, why not everyone else? If this happens, then I’ll probably actually think about using cash… 🙂

  7. David, glad you responded. I knew you would. I taught you well on some things … Like to speak your mind. As for you being robbed or mugged … Since you carry concealed it likely will never happen and if it does I feel for the robber. But there is a lot of people who don’t carry concealed or open and still don’t carry cash. If mugged by a meth head looking for his next fix they just may piss the guy off enough with no cash that he carries it further than mugging and I feel sorry for them. And, I still say I can pay cash for merchandise a whole lot faster than some jerk (and you’ve seen them) standing in front of a machine when he can’t even remember the PIN for the debit card he swipes. If your going to use plastic at least make it credit so you can at least accumulate reward points to vacation on someday rather than debit (which to my knowledge charges fees but has no rewards) as long as you pay the credit card before the billing cycle ends.

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