Author Topic: In Defense of Cash  (Read 7398 times)

LalsConstant

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 439
In Defense of Cash
« on: December 16, 2013, 02:11:55 PM »
There was about a year there where as a recovering debtaholic I went all physical cash for everything via the envelope system.  Now I gradually transitioned to using a debit card then back to the credit card, but the point is I learned the merits of good old analog folding money.  I had a pretty long physical cash “phase” and I didn’t mind it one bit, I could live like that just fine again if I had to.

Physical money in your hand leads to instantly self-correcting behavior. The thing is, I was better off being all cash all the time than I was acting like the typical consumer schmuck because it was a way to reign myself in.  The behaviors I taught myself going all cash for a year help me even today.

I have a friend who was never in debt, but he switched to all cash a few years ago and hasn’t gone back.  He loves it.  “I spend less.” is the reason why.

I still use cash for a few services and on social occasions.  The credit card verification mechanisms aren’t 100% perfect even today, so it helps avoid embarrassment and awkwardness to have cash on hand to cover the bill on the rare occasion there’s a problem (I’d rather call the credit card company the next morning than right there in the restaurant!).  I keep meaning to get some to have around for a week’s worth of supplies in the event of a storm, blackout etc.

It has downsides of course, carrying physical cash means you can lose it for example.  And in my case, I actually saved more money again when I went to a debit card because the tracking is superior.

But it’s not the devil!  It’s just money!  (The love of money is the devil, for those keeping score.)

What touched this rant off is a comment I overheard today about someone, no idea who, who is apparently “a major creep” because, and I quote, “He literally pays cash for everything.”

Why is that a problem?   Why?  Someone explain it to me please.  What exactly is wrong with that?

Why is this guy “creepy”? Seriously what is inherently awful about using cash for your day to day expenses?  That person may be a recovering debtor trying to get his act together, or someone trying to be more frugal, or maybe they just might like cash.  That's as valid a reason as any!

It's not just this little comment I overheard either, it seems everyone's at war with cash.  Why?  What is so wrong with coins and notes?

It’s gotten so I’ve even heard of some small vendors who only accept cards, they literally do not have a cash till.  I mean I can understand that for like a self-service kiosk or something where space or security is at a premium (I understand you don’t want people knocking it over to try to get the cash out of it), but an actual store or stand with an actual person at the register not accepting cash?  Come on!

I’ve even heard of people getting stopped in traffic and searched and set to jail or detained for having cash on them!  I heard a story about a car dealer who called the police when someone presented cash payment for their new car.  That’s utterly insane!

Now I’m not saying have oodles and oodles of physical cash, that’s probably a bad idea, and I often don’t have any on me (which is negligent, I should always carry a small amount).  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with cards, checks, etc.  I’m not saying I don’t use a credit card 99% of the time, which I presently do.

I get it, that physical cash doesn’t earn interest, doesn’t get rewards, etc.  But these things are generally not going to amount to some huge amount for most people who are just using cash for groceries and the like.  Like I said I don’t use a lot of physical cash myself any more, but I don’t think it’s “weird” or “creepy”!

I am just asking when it became “weird” to pay your way in cold hard cash!?

oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3151
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2013, 02:18:00 PM »
People think if you can be tracked that you are not a creep. News reports sometimes mention folks who paid cash to escape notice. That might be why.

If paying cash works for you, do it.


C. K.

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 401
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2013, 05:36:12 PM »
In an old movie there's a guy who says he never carries cash because it's too bulky; it spoils the line of the suit; his tailor would never forgive him.

Coins can be cumbersome, so there's that.

As to the creepy factor, I don't know. The criminal element brags about having ten grand in a rubber band (or so I've heard), so maybe that has something to do with it.

Eric

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4061
  • Location: On my bike
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2013, 05:53:27 PM »
Creepy like a drug dealer?

I don't know exactly.  I prefer cash also.  Swiping the card doesn't feel like anything to me.  Handing over cash feels like spending money. 

lithy

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 178
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Mount Oliver, PA
  • Drink Indigenous
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2013, 06:27:25 PM »
I've always been better about spending on plastic than cash. 

Cash has a way to leak out of my wallet, a dollar or two here and there and then a 20 is gone, on the card, I feel like an ass for pulling out a card for a couple bucks, so I keep it in my pocket.

Plus, I make money every time I use my credit card, I make money, can't hate on that.

Still for people that cash works for, good on you.  Plus you can stay off the data-mining radar ;)

Kira

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 168
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Columbus, OH
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2013, 08:23:52 PM »
If I knew someone who paid for absolutely everything in cash, my first thoughts would either be that he is some kind of tinfoil-wearing paranoid who doesn't want The Man to track him, or that he is a drug dealer/prostitute/etc.

Paying for your everyday expenses like groceries or eating out (ie, outside of utilities, rent, etc) in cash doesn't seem creepy to me. When it would get creepy is if someone INSISTED on paying for everything in cash, even large expenses or those that it's difficult to pay in cash, and gave a vague "I like to know where my money is going" answer. Would definitely think something was up.

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8760
  • Registered member
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2013, 12:12:13 AM »
Yeah I'm guessing the creepiness comes from either being flamboyant about the cash (take out a huge wad and like count it out conspicuously) or acting in a way that implies shady side business (paying a $50 check in ones?)

Cash is fine, but I use cards for the cash back.  Otherwise I'm leaving money on the table and I don't really like the hassle of going to an atm often.  I can't prove it bit I really doubt I spend more with cards.  My big purchases are online anyways so it's not like I could pay for them in cash.

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3519
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2013, 10:15:59 AM »
I don't think it's weird or creepy to pay in cash, but I much prefer to use my credit card. 

I'm always slightly nervous about losing cash, which cannot be replaced.  That's not a rational fear, of course, because I've never lost my credit card and I don't know why I should think I might suddenly lose cash. 

I get rewards for using my credit card, whereas cash is just a cash sale.

Of course, I don't tend to spend more or less because of the method of payment (though I can see that other people might be different), and I can see that -- for a person who has trouble managing money -- it could be a good, physical way to monitor one's spending.

MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3643
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2013, 12:47:36 PM »
Also after reading the book "Predictably Irrational" by Dan Arriely, he mentions that being a step removed from cash makes it more likely for people to steal. He thinks that it is because it is easier for people to rationalize their action. So in other words, cash is much better.


dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8760
  • Registered member
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2013, 12:50:32 PM »
I don't think it's weird or creepy to pay in cash, but I much prefer to use my credit card. 

I'm always slightly nervous about losing cash, which cannot be replaced.  That's not a rational fear, of course, because I've never lost my credit card and I don't know why I should think I might suddenly lose cash. 

I get rewards for using my credit card, whereas cash is just a cash sale.

Of course, I don't tend to spend more or less because of the method of payment (though I can see that other people might be different), and I can see that -- for a person who has trouble managing money -- it could be a good, physical way to monitor one's spending.

I've lost $80 cash before, cause I'm dumb.  I still try to keep $100 in a relatively hidden location for emergencies.

CanuckExpat

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3000
  • Age: 36
  • Location: North Carolina
    • Freedom35
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2013, 11:14:46 AM »
What touched this rant off is a comment I overheard today about someone, no idea who, who is apparently “a major creep” because, and I quote, “He literally pays cash for everything.”

Did you try asking the person you overheard about why that makes the person a creep? You might get better insight into his thinking that way, instead of random people on the internet trying to speculate.

randymarsh

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1374
  • Location: Denver
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2013, 11:18:54 AM »
I don't think paying with cash is creepy, but paying for everything with cash seems a little odd and just plain inconvenient these days. Odd in a "don't you know you can just swipe your CC and pump gas without ever going inside?" way, not a "You don't want the police to know you purchased a shovel the day before they found a body in your backyard" way.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 12:28:12 PM by thefinancialstudent »

Nothlit

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 396
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2013, 11:48:32 AM »
I heard a story about a car dealer who called the police when someone presented cash payment for their new car.  That’s utterly insane!

To help track down sources of money laundering, drug money, terrorism money, etc., financial institutions are required to file a report with the federal government for cash transactions of $10,000 or more. This may have had something to do with the story you heard. Really, paying for a car in actual cash (like, an actual stack of $100 bills or whatever) is kind of ridiculous. When most people say they paid "cash" for a car, especially at a dealership, they usually mean they used a cashier's check, which does not require the same kind of reporting for large transactions.

I personally avoid paying for things with cash because I hate having a pocket full of change, having to collect the coins at home, and eventually having to do something with them (usually taking them back to the bank and running them through the coin counting machine).

Frankies Girl

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3009
  • Age: 81
  • Location: The laboratory
  • Typical Ghoul Next Door
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2013, 01:08:16 PM »
I've always been better about spending on plastic than cash. 

Cash has a way to leak out of my wallet, a dollar or two here and there and then a 20 is gone, on the card, I feel like an ass for pulling out a card for a couple bucks, so I keep it in my pocket.

Plus, I make money every time I use my credit card, I make money, can't hate on that.

Still for people that cash works for, good on you.  Plus you can stay off the data-mining radar ;)

^ this - all the way.

I don't care if someone else does better with an all cash system, I just know it doesn't work at all for me. And I honestly wouldn't think someone was creepy for using cash, but then I grew up in an age where cash and credit were equally used, so maybe it's a sign of the times?

LalsConstant

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 439
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2013, 01:27:55 PM »
I am not likely to meet the person who made the comment about it being creepy ever again incidentally.   We are left without context.

Also why is transacting in cash now automatic legal grounds for investigation?  That is like arguing any one paying with a credit card is highly likely to be an identity thief.

And sure paying for a house or a car in actual cash would be weird but it is not wrong.

Eric

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4061
  • Location: On my bike
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2013, 02:11:22 PM »
In light of the recent news that Target allowed 40 million (!!) CC numbers to be stolen, cash seems a lot less creepy.

MoneyCat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1754
  • Location: New Jersey
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2013, 08:09:13 PM »
I don't get cashback when I use cash, but I do get it when I use my credit card.  Plus, I get free replacement on every purchase I make if it breaks within the first month or so.  Plus I have fraud protection if someone steals from me.  Plus I get free flight insurance when I buy airplane tickets.  Plus I get free car insurance when I rent a car.  Etc., etc., etc.

As for the Target information heist, I don't really care about it, because I shop using credit cards.  If they stole my card info and run up charges, I will just call the card company, close the card, and order a replacement card.  Meanwhile, the card company deals with the fraud.  If I had used a debit card, the thieves would have had access to my checking account, so they would have stolen actual money.  Besides, I don't get a 5% discount at Target for using cash.

Luck better Skill

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 283
  • Location: Virginia
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2013, 08:38:04 AM »
  I had a friend vacation in California this year.  He said many restaurants are cash only.  He visited lots of small mom and pop places so the cost of using credit cards might be why the restaurants were cash only.  He is a CC guy so he had to get some cash for meals.

  Anyone in California know more on that?

Nudelkopf

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 899
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Australia
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2013, 08:50:15 PM »
I just spent a few days on a resort (not very mustachian ha) with a friend (not at all mustachian ever), and it drove me f*cking nuts that she paid with everything on her debit card. It took FOREVER. And then she didn't always have money in her account (her way of reigning in her spending) so we'd have to wait 5mins while she went on her phone to transfer the money over. I wish she'd just use cash. And it would be way easier than trying to split the bill by her paying on card, and me always having to give her the right change. Or her not paying me back because there was a minimum eftpos limit & if she only wanted to buy a chocolate bar, she would have to borrow my cash. For f*cks sake. (Can you tell we probably shouldn't have gone on a one week holiday together?)

aj_yooper

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1091
  • Age: 8
  • Location: Chicagoland
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2013, 07:44:24 AM »
OP, great job on using cash to cure spending!  Cash is king, really.  People just say stuff, almost like a random walk on words, but they follow the wind directions though so there is some direction to the talk. 

Cash is too bulky for me and I love the cc rewards.

Miamoo

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 234
  • Location: Somewhere near Chicago
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2013, 09:23:49 AM »
  I had a friend vacation in California this year.  He said many restaurants are cash only.  He visited lots of small mom and pop places so the cost of using credit cards might be why the restaurants were cash only.  He is a CC guy so he had to get some cash for meals.

  Anyone in California know more on that?

Illinois here - assuming things are the same all over - cash only at the Mom-n-Pop type small restaurants are due to a.) the high charges credit card companies impose on the merchant. b.) tax reasons

lithy

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 178
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Mount Oliver, PA
  • Drink Indigenous
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2013, 04:21:44 PM »
In my opinion, cash only businesses are leaving money on the table, or they are staying cash only for somewhat ulterior motives such as tax evasion.  Now this isn't wholesale dismissal of cash only businesses, I'm sure there are some old school one man watch repair shops that just don't want to deal with the small additional hassle.  But restaurants?  If I go to dinner with a $20, I'm not spending more than that, so good luck upselling me an appetizer or dessert.  Good luck to the server hoping that his/her great service will net them a bigger tip, I only have a twenty.

I don't care if you want to offer a discount for cash customers, but these days I don't think there is much excuse to not at least offer Visa/MC if not Discover/AmEx card swipes.  As evidenced by plenty of examples worth of the Antimustachian Wall of Shame, people tend to spend more on plastic.  Cash only places tend to not get any repeat business from me.

Albert

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1254
  • Location: Switzerland
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2013, 04:45:46 PM »
Are you never buying anything in the farmers market, consume any street food or things of similar nature? I think it will be a long time before I can buy a piece of a homemade cheese from a farmer in the mountains with something other than cash. :)

lithy

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 178
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Mount Oliver, PA
  • Drink Indigenous
Re: In Defense of Cash
« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2013, 05:12:10 PM »
Are you never buying anything in the farmers market, consume any street food or things of similar nature? I think it will be a long time before I can buy a piece of a homemade cheese from a farmer in the mountains with something other than cash. :)

Well we don't really have any cheese making farmers in the Appalachians.  Now moonshine...that's another story.  ;)

But seriously, I do occasionally buy from farmer's markets.  There is really no street food here aside from surrounding sporting events, and then its mostly hot dogs, so I couldn't tell you the last time I bought street food. 

I actually pulled it up, between my wife and I for the entire year of 2013, we had a grand total of 849 dollars of actually currency pass through our hands.  More than 200 of that was reimbursement from friends for splitting costs of dinners/groceries/alcohol.  It was deposited back into the checking account at the first opportunity.

These are such a small part of my total expenses, much less my total income, that I don't ever concern myself with having cash on hand.  If there is something coming up that I know I may need cash for, I go to get it, but like I said above, at least for me, having 'cash on hand' usually just means that my cash is magically gone about a week later.

Like I said, if cash works for others, that's great, it doesn't really work for me.  Most of my money is just a little online electronic game these days.