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Is This Really A Younger Generation Thing?

I'm not in the cohort discussed in this article, but I'll often go weeks without carrying any cash. I find the only time that I need it is on business trips when dining out with others, and have to split a bill. Even then, though, we often either have the waitperson split the bill on separate cards, or I'll be the one to take the cash and put it on my mine (after which I have cash for the next time).

Maybe the difference between me and the people being discussed here is that I use credit, rather than debit cards. I can see how it would be tough to track your balance if you charged everything to your checking account.

Posted by Rand Simberg at June 18, 2007 11:17 AM
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I know someone who only uses cash. Makes it very easy to know your balance and prevents identity theft although buying gas takes longer.

Posted by rjschwarz at June 18, 2007 01:49 PM

If my bank didn't charge for the 11th - nth monthly debit transaction, and some of my local smaller merchants didn't get charged fees for debit card transactions, I would probably use my debit card a lot more than I do. But because of those added fees (for both buyer and seller), I always make sure I have cash on hand when visiting certain merchants. And I know where all of the no-fee ATMs in town are, so it makes little sense to make a transaction that is going to cost myself and a merchant extra money.

Of course, once I started at a part-time job that sent me home with cash tips every night, my trips to the ATM shrank to nil, too.

I also can't use my debit/credit card in the vending machines at work (nor do I really want to be able to).

I do know a lot of people that are plastic-only, and some that are cash-only. Different folks, different strokes, and all that jazz.

Posted by John Breen III at June 18, 2007 02:31 PM

I carry little cash and use credit cards to pay for almost everything. I collect the receipts and, once a week or so, go on line and transfer money into the accounts. I never carry over a balance. Makes my already simple financial life that much simpler.

Like you, I'll grab some cash when I leave town, but I often come back with most of it still in my wallet.

Posted by billg at June 18, 2007 02:35 PM

I don't understand your comment about credit vs debit cards. Both show up itemized on my bank's web site (instantly for debit card, after a few days for credit card), and in the occasional mailed statements (I choose to get them when pages fill up, not every month).

Re cash: I always try to have around NZ$100 (US$75 at the moment) in my wallet, or $500 if traveling overseas. I almost never go to ATMs, but just occasionally get $100 or $200 change from the cash register when I make a debit card purchase at the supermarket or gas station.

If something is over about $5 or $10 then I'll use the credit card if I can, otherwise debit card (some places don't take credit, or have $15 minimum transactions). If it's less than $5 I almost always use cash. Card takes longer than cash and I don't need my statement cluttered up with coffees or cheap takeaway food.

I was astounded when visiting the USA in 1998 and a friend wrote out a check for two burgers in his local Dairy Queen!

Posted by Bruce Hoult at June 18, 2007 06:44 PM

Why give extra money to banks in the form of transfer fees or interest payments when you blow it and exceed your balance?

I got cured of cards at an early age when I found out I was paying hundreds of dollars a year in interest payments and had a debt that would take over a year to pay off even if I never charged on it again.

Using money acts as one more firewall between you and bankrupcy. I expect a lot of young people will be finding out about that the hard way.

Posted by K at June 18, 2007 07:55 PM

Rand forgot to mention that one of his cards is connected to credit line, and the humorous consequences of it.

I am always in the same boat. I use my credit cards for everything (including McDonalds). I can't stand debit cards. Historically they were less fraud proof, and policies regarding victims sucked a lot. Having whole your checking account cleared is not a good thing no matter how you turn it. But I do carry cash for toll bridges and donuts.

Posted by Pete Zaitcev at June 18, 2007 10:37 PM

Interesting, K. I never have debt on my credit cards for more than a fortnight.

Most young people only use cash for small purchases, for cabs and at the pub. It's a lot easier to not have to worry about losing your purse or having it stolen. If they could reduce the payment process to an RFID tag and a thumb swipe so that you don't have to remove your card, that would be even better.

Posted by Adrasteia at June 19, 2007 06:29 AM

I use cash for just about everything, I even have a paper envelope labled "FOOD" that holds food money and those damn grocery store "club" cards.

The only thing I use cards for is large purchases like car repairs, tires, or internet sales. I can't imagine writing down all those dayly transactions in my check register.

Note: that is what balancing ones checkbook means, one writes down the transactions, then checks the bank statement to verrify that the bank's numbers and arithmetic are the same.

Posted by Mark at June 19, 2007 09:43 AM

I use debit for almost everything, but I would feel naked without at least *carrying* some cash. What if a store doesn't take plastic? What if their computer fails or the power goes out? Since I'm carrying my wallet anyway, I might as well carry some cash.

Posted by Ashley at June 19, 2007 12:02 PM

I stopped carrying cash in about 1990, and used credit and debit cards for just about everything.
Until the satellite went down for a couple of weeks in, what, early 1999? It was during a vacation and I couldn't get cash not no how not no where.
Since that time I carry credit cards for emergency only, don't have a debit card, and carry enough cash to get me through the week. Any week.

Posted by Aleta at June 19, 2007 02:24 PM

Note: that is what balancing ones checkbook means, one writes down the transactions, then checks the bank statement to verrify that the bank's numbers and arithmetic are the same.

In my country, by law they are required to provide a signed reciept on disputed charges.

Posted by Adrasteia at June 22, 2007 03:47 AM

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