POLL: why carry cash?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills

How often do you buy with CASH?

Almost never
158
40%
Almost always
106
27%
Seldom, but I do it consistently for specific purchases
88
22%
It's random/unpredictable; there's no pattern
46
12%
 
Total votes: 398

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schuyler74
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POLL: why carry cash?

Post by schuyler74 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:52 pm

Every day, I stand in line at my workplace's cafeteria. I find myself frustrated waiting for the ones in front of me to dig pennies out of their pocket or purse, trying to find the exact change. Or else they hand the cashier a $20 and I watch as the girl (relatively quickly) counts out and returns the correct change. It can easily take over 60 seconds per person when using cash. When it's my turn, I hand my card over, she swipes it and hands it back with the receipt. I'm in and out in about 15 seconds, as is everyone else paying via a card.

Why does anyone still use cash?

I rarely go to an ATM or the bank and, when I go, I withdraw a small amount enough to last many months. (Pennies, in any case, should be banned -- what a waste of time those things are.) A former poll asked how much cash Bogleheads carry. Is this an age thing? Do younger people usually use cards and older use plastic? I can't say that my observations have concluded this, but I just don't understand why anyone wants to stand in line longer than they need to and walk away with a ton of change in their pocket. And then waste time at an ATM or bank just to do it all over again.

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sscritic
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by sscritic » Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:59 pm

Donuts.

Do you really use a credit card for 65 cents? It probably costs the merchant more than that to process your charge.

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cfs
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by cfs » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:05 pm

I do.

Old school here, I do pay with cash, and no, I do not carry coins in my pockets.

Thanks for reading this note.
~ Member of the Active Retired Force since 2014 ~

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climber2020
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by climber2020 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:15 pm

Can't use credit cards between friends or on the black market.

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GerryL
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by GerryL » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:28 pm

I don't use a credit card for groceries. I buy in fairly small amounts ($5-$30, generally) and I don't want to punish the merchant with cc fees. Generally keep $20-$50 cash in wallet. Save cc for larger purchases.

You don't like to wait for the person in cafeteria line to pay cash? I used to get irritated by the folks who insisted on paying for a donut with a credit card and the rest of us had to wait for the register to accept the card and churn out a receipt. The payment system seems to have sped up a bit and the plastic people don't take any longer than the cash people.

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CyberBob
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by CyberBob » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:30 pm

About a year and a half ago, I forgot to stop by the ATM. I wound up using plastic for the rest of the day and didn't really miss the cash. A year and a half later I still haven't had a reason to use cash and haven't even touched any.

And, since I have a cash-back card, I'm essentially paying a fine in the amount of the cash-back every time I don't use the card and use cash instead.

As for money between friends, my bank offers free access to PopMoney, where I can send money via email or text to their phones.

Interesting article on Sweden moving towards a cashless economy. Apparently one of the guys from ABBA want to get rid of money because his son keeps getting mugged: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/sweden-movi ... s-economy/

Bob

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Clever_Username
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by Clever_Username » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:40 pm

I almost never use cash. Maybe once a month I'll go to a family-owned restaurant near me that asks customers to pay cash if the bill is under $10 or so. They'll take CCs for any amount, but ask otherwise. When I go with friends and the bill is easily over $10, I pay with CC.

Groceries, online orders, golf, pretty much any purchase over $10, I'll pay by credit card. I have the basic 1.1% back on everything from BofA, with 2.2 for groceries and 3.3 on gas. I had to explain to a friend recently why an Arco, which doesn't take CCs and was 5 cents a gallon less (nominally) than a 76 across the way was more expensive for me (pay for debit vs cash back).

I'll also use cash when splitting a bill. I'm hanging out with some friends tomorrow, we'll probably order in dinner, and will likely use cash to do so.
"What was true then is true now. Have a plan. Stick to it." -- XXXX, _Layer Cake_

DualIncomeNoDebt
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by DualIncomeNoDebt » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:46 pm

schuyler74 wrote:I find myself frustrated waiting for the ones in front of me to dig pennies out of their pocket or purse, trying to find the exact change. . . .

I can't say that my observations have concluded this, but I just don't understand why anyone wants to stand in line longer than they need to and walk away with a ton of change in their pocket. And then waste time at an ATM or bank just to do it all over again.
Wall Street bankers love people like you. Every time you swipe that card: interchange fee. And a pricey one. See, for example, http://www.mastercard.com/us/merchant/p ... iteria.pdf.

Those are some eye popping numbers. I dare say people on this forum would be outraged to be paying 1.9% or 1.35%, or any of those percentages, for managing their investments.

So congratulations on saving sixty seconds in the checkout line. Hundreds of millions of consumers think similarly, and thus parasitic bankers are enabled to extract tens of billions of dollars from the economy every year. Banker bonuses salute you.

Me? I stand with the cash purchasers.

Quickfoot
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by Quickfoot » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:47 pm

Almost never use cash, it actually costs me money to use cash because I usually lose the change and it's a huge hassle. Some people use cash because they feel it has more security or cash has more stable inherent value than cards but the reality is it doesn't. Our cash only has value because our government and other world governments say it does, the same thing is true for bits in my bank account accrued and spent with a debit or credit card.

There are some budgetary reasons some people use cash (they find it is easier to stay on budget) but those aside it is almost always a generational comfort thing or a lack of understanding of how credit / debit cards are functionally the same as cash.
Wall Street bankers love people like you. Every time you swipe that card: interchange fee. And a pricey one. See, for example, http://www.mastercard.com/us/merchant/p ... iteria.pdf.

Those are some eye popping numbers. I dare say people on this forum would be outraged to be paying 1.9% or 1.35%, or any of those percentages, for managing their investments.
Debit card discount rates are several times lower than credit card discount rates, most venders do not pay a 1.9% discount fee even on credit cards. Even as a small vender most I ever paid was about 1% which was well worth the added business being able to accept modern payments brings.

Merchants that accept cash are also paying a percentage at least as high as the credit / debit card fees because they have to either have additional staffing or forfeit sales due to the amount of time and overhead it takes to complete transactions. Not to mention accepting cards for payment dramatically decreases employee theft (one of the largest losses of profit for most companies).

People assume the 1% to 2% "lost" on debit / credit transactions would have been realized as income if it was a cash transaction, that's simply not true. The likelihood of getting the sale at all is dramatically lower and the people / overhead / processing / theft costs of handling cash are at least as high and in often cases significantly higher than card transactions.

FlyOverState
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by FlyOverState » Sat Apr 19, 2014 12:50 am

Most working days, I visit the deli closest to my work place, often twice. Once for coffee and once for lunch (unless I bring leftovers). I find myself frustrated by the ones in front of me using plastic. I know how much my purchase is and have the cash ready to hand to the cashier. The small change will be a tip. The cashier sees me down the line, swipes the card for the customer in front of her and reaches over the counter to take my cash. I'm out the door before the receipt has printed for the person in front of me. It can easily take 20-30 seconds per person using plastic. When it's my turn, I hand my cash over, and I'm out the door in less than 5 seconds.

And, as has said before, why punish the small business owner with the additional fees on such small purchases?
Thanks, | John | | FlyOverState

poker27
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by poker27 » Sat Apr 19, 2014 12:54 am

What do I use cash for? There are a surprising # of restaurants and bars in chicago that do not take cards, splitting up bills with friends, and gambling/casino. I still use a card 90% of the time

clubby
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by clubby » Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:07 am

FlyOverState wrote:Most working days, I visit the deli closest to my work place, often twice. Once for coffee and once for lunch (unless I bring leftovers). I find myself frustrated by the ones in front of me using plastic. I know how much my purchase is and have the cash ready to hand to the cashier. The small change will be a tip. The cashier sees me down the line, swipes the card for the customer in front of her and reaches over the counter to take my cash. I'm out the door before the receipt has printed for the person in front of me. It can easily take 20-30 seconds per person using plastic. When it's my turn, I hand my cash over, and I'm out the door in less than 5 seconds.

And, as has said before, why punish the small business owner with the additional fees on such small purchases?
Count yourself among the .01% of the population that a) knows how much their purchase is going to be and has the cash ready and b) completes their transaction in a quicker manner than anybody using a card. Because if you think that's the norm, let me assure you it's not by any stretch of the imagination.

ccieemeritus
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by ccieemeritus » Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:44 am

Sometimes I pay with cash.

Sometimes with Amex.

But we just learned that Michaels credit card systems have been penetrated for the past year. So my Amex card may be compromised. This is the second penetration at michaels in 3 years. Fortunately no fraudulent activity on my card yet
(Sadly this card was replaced a few months ago after the target incident).

I'll still use Amex at many places. But it's cash for michaels from now on.

Of course the real problem is that a credit card is one reusable password you use at a hundred "sites" because we haven't
migrated to chip-and-pin cards in the US. Of course it's going to get compromised at one of those sites every couple months! At least Amex has a nice "text me if there's a large purchase" system.

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obgyn65
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by obgyn65 » Sat Apr 19, 2014 4:06 am

I always have between $40 and $100 cash in my wallet for small purchases like coffee, newspapers, or short cab rides.
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livesoft
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by livesoft » Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:27 am

Splitting bills with credit cards is trivial. The waitstaff is used to it. I like that when we do it, all our friends have awesome cash-back or frequent flyer cards like we do.

And just yesterday, I used my credit card to buy something for 65 cents from a vending machine.

So far, my smallest charge amount has been 2 cents, but that was a special deal where I got a $10.00 credit to do so.

Furthermore, I don't want to burden the small business owner with cash: they have to count it, store it, take it to the bank, get it from the bank, train employees how to use it, prevent theft of it. It's a big risk and has lots of costs associated with it.
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Crimsontide
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by Crimsontide » Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:32 am

Use the Capital One Quicksilver for EVERYTHING except the barber, he only takes cash or checks...

hiddensee
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by hiddensee » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:02 am

I live in a backward Eurozone country in which cards are not always accepted.

ajcp
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by ajcp » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:04 am

livesoft wrote:Splitting bills with credit cards is trivial. The waitstaff is used to it.
The waitstaff will do it but they hate you. (Never been a waiter, but have friends who are)

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Lifut
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by Lifut » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:05 am

climber2020 wrote:Can't use credit cards between friends or on the black market.
This is why I carry cash.

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prudent
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by prudent » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:14 am

I use cash at locally-owned stores and restaurants as most of my purchases there are under $30. Just trying to save them a little money on the processing fees. I also tip in cash even if I pay with credit (I don't use a debit card).

For larger purchases at places where you can negotiate, cash can improve bargaining power. We bought some furniture and went there with cash for the amount I wanted to pay. We were haggling about the all-in price (3 pieces, delivery, removal of the old, and fabric treatment) and we were still $150 apart when the manager said he was at his rock-bottom price. I said I was paying cash, pulled it out, and said this was all I could pay. He came down to my number. That extra savings was more than the cashback I would have gotten on my credit card.

That same technique worked when buying tires. Ended up getting a complete deal including balancing and mounting and road hazard warranty for what I would have paid for just the tires + shipping had I bought the tires online, saved almost $100. Showed the cash and said this is all I can pay, if we can't do it for that then it won't work.

You also have to consider the tradeoff of giving up the credit card extended warranty if it applies.

sscritic
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by sscritic » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:17 am

My experience using a credit/debit card does not match the descriptions I see in this thread.

For most transactions, I swipe, no one swipes for me. I then wait for the other person to hit the correct button on the register. The POS device then asks me for my PIN. I have to type and then hit enter. I can hit enter on the key pad or use a stylus. This is a major decision on my part. The POS device then asks for my zip code. After entering my zip code, I have to hit enter again. Then the POS device asks me if I want cash back. I say no, which takes another stab with the stylus. It then asks me to confirm the total amount, requiring another stylus stab. After I confirm the total amount, it asks me for my signature. After signing, it asks me to confirm. I then stab at the device multiple times, but no matter what I try, the stylus and the OK "button" just don't seem to connect. After a while, I have to ask the cashier to hit OK on the register so I can get out.

This process takes more the the fictional 15 seconds mentioned in the OP.

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BTDT
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by BTDT » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:21 am

I carry $100 in cash for the small stuff but always use a credit card for a 5% discount on gas, 5% at Lowe's, and another card for airline points. I can also track all of my transactions on line, and automatically break it down by daily, monthly or yearly expenses. While I find cash or cards take roughly the same time to process, people who use checks drive me nuts (it's a very short drive :D )
If past history was all that is needed to play the game of money, the richest people would be librarians.

BossOfShorty
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by BossOfShorty » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:27 am

I usually pay with a card but when a tip is required, tip with cash.
I think servers generally appreciate paper tips, at least I've had a few mention that.

gkaplan
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by gkaplan » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:28 am

Neck and neck.
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Whit
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by Whit » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:35 am

There are a few retailers in my area who charge extra to use a credit card. The retailer tacks on the usage fee separately. I get a small discount for using cash.

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pennstater2005
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by pennstater2005 » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:37 am

schuyler74 wrote:It can easily take over 60 seconds per person when using cash.
I don't know if I've ever had to wait for 60 seconds when someone in front of me was paying cash. Maybe if they paid in all pennies. Now, someone who is writing a check....that's another story.

I occasionally carry cash.
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crowd79
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by crowd79 » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:41 am

BossOfShorty wrote:I usually pay with a card but when a tip is required, tip with cash.
I think servers generally appreciate paper tips, at least I've had a few mention that.
I always add the tip to my credit card bill and charge it. If you tip in cash, then this encourages them to cheat and not report their earnings to the IRS. And people complain how the government never has any money......

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jeffyscott
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by jeffyscott » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:42 am

hiddensee wrote:I live in a backward Eurozone country in which cards are not always accepted.
We have only made two trips to Europe (Norway, Germany, Austria) and it seemed rare for cards to be accepted. In the US even B&Bs with a couple rooms take cards but there almost none did and even larger Pensions and such with maybe 20 or so rooms did not.

I don't mind people using cash, it is those who use checks that I find annoying. If they would at least pre-fill the thing, so they just had to write in the amount it would be okay but, instead, some wait until everything is rung up, then pull out the check book and pen.
press on, regardless - John C. Bogle

rkhusky
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by rkhusky » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:47 am

I pay with cash for small purchases with a human cashier. Always credit card at machines - pay at the pump, self-service grocery & Home Depot, etc. Always cash at fast food. Always credit card at sit-down restaurants.
Last edited by rkhusky on Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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cheese_breath
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by cheese_breath » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:47 am

Sometimes I'll pay cash for minor purchases like a newspaper or cup of coffee. Otherwise I use my CC for just about everything.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

Sconie
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by Sconie » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:50 am

Nothing feels quite as good as having a wad of cash in your pocket.
I know that you think you understand what you thought I said, but I don't think you realize that what I said is necessarily what I meant......

cherijoh
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by cherijoh » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:53 am

FlyOverState wrote:Most working days, I visit the deli closest to my work place, often twice. Once for coffee and once for lunch (unless I bring leftovers). I find myself frustrated by the ones in front of me using plastic. I know how much my purchase is and have the cash ready to hand to the cashier. The small change will be a tip. The cashier sees me down the line, swipes the card for the customer in front of her and reaches over the counter to take my cash. I'm out the door before the receipt has printed for the person in front of me. It can easily take 20-30 seconds per person using plastic. When it's my turn, I hand my cash over, and I'm out the door in less than 5 seconds.

And, as has said before, why punish the small business owner with the additional fees on such small purchases?
e

+1
OP - the problem isn't that they are using cash, it's that they are disorganized and didn't plan ahead. I know some of the Bogleheads are old enough to remember when people paid for groceries with a check :happy. It would drive me nuts that the customer would wait until the cashier rang up the total to even pull out their checkbook and then laboriously start writing their check. I would have mine filled out except for the amount while I was waiting in line.

What do you do if there is a problem with the card swiper? I always keep some cash on hand for small purchases.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:55 am

Muggers in NYC don't accept American Express. :mrgreen:

The coffee cart on the corner, including the Vanguard truck selling coffee for 26 cents per cup doesn't accept plastic - cold hard cash required!

I enjoy having people wait, huff and puff behind me as I hand over my nickels, pennies, dimes and quarters. :D Oh! and confusing the cashier as they try to add without the use of a calculator. :P
Last edited by Grt2bOutdoors on Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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sscritic
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by sscritic » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:56 am

And no one has yet mentioned cocaine? And what about just old fashioned germs and dirt?

When I go into my grocery store, they have disinfecting wipes for your hands and the handles of the grocery carts, but who disinfects the dollar bills?

At least one of my wives had an aversion to dirty money, and that did not only apply to money being laundered.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:59 am

sscritic wrote:And no one has yet mentioned cocaine? And what about just old fashioned germs and dirt?

When I go into my grocery store, they have disinfecting wipes for your hands and the handles of the grocery carts, but who disinfects the dollar bills?

At least one of my wives had an aversion to dirty money, and that did not only apply to money being laundered.
Funny you should mention this - today's WSJ on page A3, don't put your fingers near your mouth, nose or eyes is all I can say.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

22twain
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by 22twain » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:00 am

Generally speaking, I use cash for anything less than about $15-20, and a credit card above that. I use my debit card only at bank ATMs (the issuing bank when I'm near home).
My investing princiPLEs do not include absolutely preserving princiPAL.

22twain
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by 22twain » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:02 am

cherijoh wrote:I know some of the Bogleheads are old enough to remember when people paid for groceries with a check :happy.
In this backwater town in the boonies, some people still do!
My investing princiPLEs do not include absolutely preserving princiPAL.

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jeffyscott
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by jeffyscott » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:06 am

crowd79 wrote:If you tip in cash, then this encourages them to cheat and not report their earnings to the IRS. And people complain how the government never has any money......
This goes for those small businesses that some are so worried about burdening with credit card fees, paying in cash allows them greater opportunity to cheat on their taxes.
press on, regardless - John C. Bogle

sscritic
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by sscritic » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:08 am

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
sscritic wrote:And no one has yet mentioned cocaine? And what about just old fashioned germs and dirt?

When I go into my grocery store, they have disinfecting wipes for your hands and the handles of the grocery carts, but who disinfects the dollar bills?

At least one of my wives had an aversion to dirty money, and that did not only apply to money being laundered.
Funny you should mention this - today's WSJ on page A3, don't put your fingers near your mouth, nose or eyes is all I can say.
A link from google:
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB1 ... 85696.html
In 2012, microbiologists at Queen Mary University of London found that about 6% of English bank notes tested had levels of e.coli bacteria comparable to a toilet seat.
Google tip: dirty money wsj

gvsucavie03
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by gvsucavie03 » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:10 am

I think time savings is the silliest excuse of all to pay with a credit card... 15 seconds, really? Is your livelihood/standard of living based on a measly 15 seconds? Wow... And to the person who posted that they lose their change... seriously? Do you have holes in your pockets? The cashier at the local merchant has to reconcile at the end of every shift, so theft is easy to identify. incompetence is also not excusable if they cannot count back change accurately.

We e-bill pay or auto-drafted bills, check for the rent, cash for everything else, debit card only on occasion. All of the spare change goes to the kids' piggy bank/coin collector and that gets them a pretty cool gift for their birthday without having to budget for it. Before our 2nd child was born, our daughter had between $80-100 in spare change that we cashed in once a year for her birthday expenses. I'd rather deal with spare change than putting all of those receipts into my excel file.

sscritic
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by sscritic » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:13 am

gvsucavie03 wrote: All of the spare change goes to the kids' piggy bank/coin collector and that gets them a pretty cool gift for their birthday without having to budget for it.
But just think of the delight the children of those who never use cash have when they open their piggy banks and find 25 credit cards stuffed inside!

gvsucavie03
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by gvsucavie03 » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:15 am

sscritic wrote: But just think of the delight the children of those who never use cash have when they open their piggy banks and find 25 credit cards stuffed inside!
LOL

But they'll be disappointed that they can't get their cocaine with it...

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cheese_breath
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by cheese_breath » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:16 am

gvsucavie03 wrote:I think time savings is the silliest excuse of all to pay with a credit card... 15 seconds, really? Is your livelihood/standard of living based on a measly 15 seconds? ....
+1 It takes me at least 15 seconds per CC receipt to reconcile them to my monthly statement.
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by gvsucavie03 » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:19 am

cheese_breath wrote: +1 It takes me at least 15 seconds per CC receipt to reconcile them to my monthly statement.
Or you lose one and don't find out until the monthly statement comes and there are outstanding expenses unaccounted for :x

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ClevrChico
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by ClevrChico » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:20 am

Garage sales. But, there's enough smart phone card apps to make it unnecessary today.

Parking meters (coins). There is a card solution for these too, but the cards can only be bought in obscure locations in the city right now.

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cheese_breath
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by cheese_breath » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:23 am

sscritic wrote:And no one has yet mentioned cocaine? And what about just old fashioned germs and dirt? ....
Not to turn this into a medical discussion, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by gvsucavie03 » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:26 am

ClevrChico wrote:Garage sales. But, there's enough smart phone card apps to make it unnecessary today.

Parking meters (coins). There is a card solution for these too, but the cards can only be bought in obscure locations in the city right now.
I don't see our society going completely cashless in the near future. There is still to much bartering and need for cash/coin transactions.

I agree with the smart phone card apps as a great tool... we are going to use this for my music program's silent auction next month because we do have a number of folks that don't bother carrying a checkbook. We might also take our camp fees and other expenses with this, too.

richard
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by richard » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:27 am

Processing cash is not free for merchants. There are issues of training, security, employee error, etc.

Many people do not appear to realize they will have to pay for things. They'll wait until a cashier is done ringing up their purchase, then search for cash or plastic.

How quickly payment gets processed depends. Those who count out change take the longest in my experience. Between paying with bills (or have exact change ready) and credit cards varies with the merchant, the system, the amount and the individuals involved.

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VictoriaF
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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:32 am

Behavioral economics experiments show that people behave more honestly and make more prudent decisions when they use cash. An example of the former is that when students were getting cash for completing puzzles they were cheating much less than when they were receiving a token exchangeable for cash a few minutes later.

An example of the latter is that when people were paying with credit or debit cards in grocery stores they were more likely to pick up some junk food hanging near the cash register than when they were paying with cash. Somehow, it's easier to exercise the willpower when real money is involved.

Thus, while credit cards provide many salient benefits, there are less obvious advantages for those paying with old-fashioned bills.

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Re: POLL: why carry cash?

Post by richard » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:34 am

sscritic wrote:My experience using a credit/debit card does not match the descriptions I see in this thread.

For most transactions, I swipe, no one swipes for me. I then wait for the other person to hit the correct button on the register. The POS device then asks me for my PIN. I have to type and then hit enter. I can hit enter on the key pad or use a stylus. This is a major decision on my part. The POS device then asks for my zip code. After entering my zip code, I have to hit enter again. Then the POS device asks me if I want cash back. I say no, which takes another stab with the stylus. It then asks me to confirm the total amount, requiring another stylus stab. After I confirm the total amount, it asks me for my signature. After signing, it asks me to confirm. I then stab at the device multiple times, but no matter what I try, the stylus and the OK "button" just don't seem to connect. After a while, I have to ask the cashier to hit OK on the register so I can get out.

This process takes more the the fictional 15 seconds mentioned in the OP.
You clearly shop in different places than I do.

For swipe yourself terminals, many merchants only require a swipe and confirmation of the amount for small amounts (e.g., under $20 or $50). No receipt to sign, no PIN or zip code. For larger amounts, they'll want a signature on the terminal, but they'll accept any mark as a signature. I usually sign with a short horizontal line.

I've only seen PINs for debit cards, never credit cards (at least in the US).

I've only seen zip code requests on stand alone kiosks, such as gas stations.

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