Same Price Cash or Credit

socs badge 2016-17That should read “same higher price, cash or credit” since most people seem to use some type of plastic these days and the merchant has to pay someone to process that transaction. What got me started on this topic? I sense you asking. Well, it was Linda. Linda G. Hill, the lovely woman who hands out bonus points instead of cash, has given us a few options today:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “cash.” Use it in your post as a noun or a verb… or a name! Enjoy!

When I first looked at the prompt on my phone, I only saw the noun or verb thing. The voices started contriving all manner of cash stories, but now that I pasted this in to this post, I noticed the name option. Oh my, “Cash” as a name, well it can only be one. Of course the one that it can be is actually two, and then there’s a third. I’m talking about Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash and Rosanne Cash. I love their music, and I’ll scare up a couple of my favorites to stick at the end of this post.

Yes, yes, I know, you have all those cash quips and stories. Fine, the floor, as it were, is yours.

Cash is one of the things that makes me feel old. I still use cash, and I remember being taught how to use cash. It didn’t matter whether the cash was going in my wallet, the cash register at the bowling alley my dad managed or the pay envelopes that the pin-boys got every Saturday. The paper money, was in order by denominations (larger bills on bottom) and it was “faced” so that all the presidents were looking at you and none were upside down.

After graduating from a weekly pay envelope to a paycheck, I would take that paycheck to my employer’s bank and cash it. Why not just deposit the check? Good question, but I didn’t have a checking account. At 16, I was old enough to work, but not old enough to have a checking account. In any case, the teller would count the money out to me: “20-30-35-36-37-37.25-37.50-.60-.61-.62” if I asked, they would put it in an envelope for me.

$37.62 might not sound like a paycheck, but it was a part-time job and minimum wage was $1.65 an hour. By comparison, gas was about $0.37 a gallon. A six-pack of beer was under $3, not that I could buy one, and you could buy a nice house for about $25,000. Not that the only things you needed in life were a house, some beer and gas in your car, but this isn’t a financial history post.

I started realizing that working with cash had become a lost art while I was in the drive-through at McDonalds back in the 90s. Our local Mickey D’s had added a feature called “Face-to-Face” where they stuck a kid in a small booth in the lane, next to the menu board. They did this because they were having problems understanding the orders. The kid would take your order and your cash. My order came to $7.45 and I gave him a $10 bill.

Do you have anything smaller?

Well, I don’t have an eight.”

No, I mean… I don’t have any ones.”

Oh, I see. Here, take three ones. Give me the 55 cents and a $5 bill.”

Does that work?

Yes. $13 – $7.45 is $5.55.”

Are you sure?

Would I lie to you?

Management replaced him with a better microphone.

I do think that using cash is costing me more than using a credit card, at least at Dunkin Donuts. As I mentioned, I pay the same price as the guy who uses a credit card. That’s probably 2-3%. Then, there’s the tip jar. I usually drop some or all of the change in the tip jar. The credit card people just take their coffee and go. Let’s say me and CC McCoffeeBuyer order the same thing. Let’s also assume Dunkin Donuts has a sweet deal with VISA and only pays 1.75%. Let’s further assume that I and CC both have to pay $3.65. Dunkin Donuts makes (roughly) $3.59 from CC, and $3.65 from me and I toss $0.35 in the tip jar. My breakfast? $0.41 more than the other guy. Maybe I should stop using cash.

My favorite song with John and June

A newer song from Rosanne Cash, but one that I like a lot.


  1. Ah, cash. That means no Amazon! I was a bank cashier (teller) in the ’60s. We had two rules – always keep the notes aligned (we got into trouble if notes were back to front or upside down – or both) – and we always gave new notes to female customers. Do you remember new notes? I haven’t seen one in years. Every Tuesday at exactly 2pm my assistant manager and I would walk to the post office with a parcel wrapped in cream paper, tied up with string and sealed with red sealing wax. This parcel contained all of our dirty, scruffy, torn or just old notes to be returned to head office. It never occurred to us that this firm schedule would put us in danger of being attacked. We never were but I look back in amazement. Lastly, as a rider to that, we were always told to give over the money without question or hesitation. According to the bank, we were worth more than the money (which was insured).

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That’s amazing .Walking around town with a box of cash. I remember going to the bank back then, they seemed so formal. Quiet like a library. It’s funny that you gave new notes to women. Today, if I get a new notes from the ATM, I immediately separate them because they stick together.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay… I understand the reference to Johnny and Rosanne Cash… But are you suggesting there is some monetary form of “cash”? LOL, just kidding. In “Fed land” even pay stubs are a thing of the past. I had a heck of a time trying to explain the concept of my earnings and leave statement to my mortgage agent.
    Thanks for “Jackson” — I love the play between Johnny and June in those old videos. Happy weekend hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Teagan. We get electronic pay stubs, direct deposit, ACH expense reimbursements…the only cash is in that coffee jar. Jackson is one of my favorite songs. I prefer the studio version but watching them is fun. Have a great weekend. We have a high heat warning up here. I hope you can stay cool.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Excessive heat warnings here too, Dan. I’d gotten my “outside” stuff finished by 8:30 AM. I’m in the air conditioning for the rest of the day! No budging me from that. Heat is one thing — the humidity is another. I can’t believe my weather app (phone) just offered to tell me ski conditions. Yep… snow-base zero. Who could have guessed that? Happy weekend!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. So many ways to jump into this conversation. :-) I worked in a doctor’s office while going through high school. I did all sorts of typing for $1 an hour. I also used cash in those days but today I’m mostly a card person so we can track expenses and can find a receipt if needed. Tip jars are everywhere and that would need a separate post. Paying more for things also needs a separate post because I could go on and on about how because I use a pellet stove my propane provider charges me an outrageous amount because I use too little. I hope you stay cool this weekend, it has been like a blast furnace up here and not a lot of change in site. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Judy. You’re so right about having multiple ways to go here. The propane price thing seems to be popular in that industry, especially if you get the tank from the dealer. I find myself using cards more often, but I still like having cash. There’s a funny post about that, but I promised my daughter she could write it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Having the presidents all face the same way…oh, how that ticks me off if I am handed cash and they are not. The bank teller will go through her cash draw and make it a point to tell me, “oh, I don’t want to give you this ‘dirty’ bill, but then hand me my money all mixed up. Lady, get it right!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! My dad was serious about having all the bills faced and facing the same direction in the cash drawer. I still do it today, in my wallet and even before tossing a couple of dollars into that jar at work.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have a need to carry cash, whether it’s $5 or $25. I use a debit card for many things, but I feel stupid using it or a CC for a cup of coffee or nominal charges. It seems silly.

    I keep a “blind man’s wallet” as my dad called it. Same as you do, Dan, with the bills in order, face up. Makes it easier to always know what I have.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. One reason not to use a cc for small purchases is that it costs the merchants money. Bank/cc fees can really eat into the profits of a business, a small business in particular. I work part time at a tea shop and we almost always ask if someone has cash for a purchase under $10. So many, especially young people, don’t carry cash at all. I rarely use a cc for a purchase under $10. If it costs a merchant more, we eventually pay for it. I’m waiting for people/companies to start offering cash discounts. I’ll be all in.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure they are legal in many states. CT allowed gas stations to offer a discount for cash but I think the law expired. It was designed to prevent retailers charging a cc fee.


    2. If you offer credit it is not illegal to offer cash discounts BUT if the card companies find out you will be put on a list and not allowed to ever have the ability to use ANY charge cards in your business again. Seriously. The only thing we do in Oregon (ourselves) is we are allowed to charge for the transaction — so we can charge the PayPal (or credit) transaction fee, which is nice. And I do think that you are allowed to say that no card purchases under a certain amount, but someone else has to weigh in on that for me… Not our kind of business.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We have a new restaurant in town (pizza and wings) that adds a flat 50-cent fee to all credit and debit card transactions. I’m pretty sure that’s illegal here in CT. Our law does allow “convenience fees” but that’s defined as “Convenience fees are charges levied for the privilege of paying for a product or service using an alternative payment channel, or a payment method that is not standard for the merchant.” – I think it would be hard for a restaurant to say that credit cards are not a standard payment method.


  7. Okay, there was a terrible danger of me spending 30+ minutes ranting about this, but I’ve reminded myself that this is YOUR blog, Dan, not mine, and that would be rude. So… using every single ounce of willpower in my body, all I will say is this:

    CASH. Forever. They will have to pry cash out of my cold, dead hands. Someone will have to force me to switch to paying with anything BUT cash. I have one credit card with a limit that I keep as low as they’ll allow. It is for emergencies and online purchases only — for when cash is just not an option. But I never put anything on my card unless I literally have the cash in hand first. I’m a big fan of using envelopes to store specific amounts of money for purchases which have yet to be paid for. Oh, and I don’t do direct deposit or automatic payments. Yet another thing that someone will need to beat me into submission to accept. I pay the majority of my bills at the bank, and just last week, I wrote two cheques. So I don’t think you’re old for using cash, Dan, you’re just sensible and smart. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re just trying to cement the bond between you and my wife. She’s still mailing bills with stamps. I prefer cash for smaller purchases. We have no choice but to use direct deposit or pay and expense reimbursements. We haven’t been able to get a real check for 10-12 years. I try to avoid automatic payments because they are sometimes hard to stop. Thanks for making me feel less old, Wendy.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Yay, Dan! Many of your cash/money references resonated with me, too. Yes, I made a pay check but with Mom as a guardian on my savings account I saved money from age 11 with babysitter money. Later loving the fact that I could earn dishes and crystal with $ higher amounts of deposits.
    I allowed myself in high school, $10 weekly snack money for football games (marching band member, free to get in) and movie or bowling :) We called it “spending cash.”
    I loved the dynamics and long, challenging walk the Carter’s took together. I admired the genuine love they displayed as well as June’s standing by the love of her life. The couple died fairly close in time, I also remember.
    I have about 15 or so 45’s (records) and the Johnny Cash “What Is Truth?” and “A Boy Named Sue” are among them.
    Even though not Johnny Cash, my Dad loved Roger Miller’s “King of the Road,” with words~ “trailer for sale or rent”. . . it has a reference to CASH ~ “rooms to let: fifty cents. . . ” I have this 45 record, too. :)
    I think the movie, “Walk the Line,” with Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon would have really made my Dad happy. It was filmed four years after he passed away. My brothers, Mom, kids and sister in law all went when it came out.
    My parents took my kids to a place in Ohio with a guitar shaped swimming pool (Ponderosa campground) and the remaining Cash family sang at an outdoor concert. I would have to look carefully through my kids’ memory books for the performance program to find the date. Mom and Dad belonged to the Good Sam club and travelled together and once a month helped improve my single mother life, by taking all of us along to “camp” in a small Transvan. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This post has two hooks for me. One, I worked in a bank in the 1980’s, didn’t handle cash as a commercial lender, but worked out of a branch office for a while. Our branch was always packed with people depositing checks and/or getting cash, and I mean packed – lobby-blocking lines, and a nice noise level like a party going on. I liked that job. Number two, in the early 1960’s, I was in a carpool with one of June Carter’s (before she was Cash) daughters, and when it was her turn to drive, she didn’t, but a chauffer took us to school in a Cadillac. My parents were impressed, I didn’t know the difference. I’m not sure how this carpool thing got going, as our family was just ordinary suburbanites, but it did. I do remember that at this time they lived on a small farm with horses. That did impress me.

    Well, thanks for that trip down memory lane! I enjoyed thinking about the changed role of cash. In all ways!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment Claudia. I love the connection to the Carter family. That’s a pretty historic family in the world of country music. Most of the banks I ever visited were quiet affairs. I don’t think I was ever in one that seemed like there was a party going on. That must have been fun.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Don. I think I liked it better when there was a tangible connection to your labor. As a pin boy, I kept track of my “lines” each week and by Saturday morning, I was already planning how I would spend the portion I didn’t have to save.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I find that nowadays I my wallet (what I call a purse because a purse is a handbag) contains only plastic cards (one debit and one credit for each of the US and UK) and very small denominations of paper cash and coins. That’s because I operate almost exclusively by card now but need dribbles of cash for all those things kids need to take money to school for. It’s actually becoming rare for me to have anything above a $10 these days. When I do have cash, however, I arrange it as you describe (more fun in the UK where the notes are also colour coded) so it makes me feel awful when I open my husband’s wallet and he has denominations all over the place.

    One of the reasons I don’t use cash as much in the US as I did in the UK is that I honestly struggle to work with the coins here. I’m used to different sizes and denominations of coins so my coin adding skills are non-transferable. I can obviously do it but I’m self-conscious about how slow I am and how I double check that it’s a 5 cent rather than a 10 (the sizes being swapped in the UK). I also don’t tend to spend dribbles of money here and there as I’m obsessively thrifty so there’s no impulse buying of a doughnut or popping into a coffee shop for me.

    Those random thoughts aside though, your post has me reflecting now on the fact that my children are not growing up with the same experience of handling and managing cash that I did. I then wonder if that puts them at a disadvantage or if such skills are becoming negligible if not irrelevant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment. I can empathize a little with you. When I traveled to England a few years ago, I was just about done in with the coins. Here in the states, I don’t use the coins I get for change very often. If i have any at work, I put them in the coffee/water/soda jar for future use. I was having coffee and a snack with David (first comment in the list today) and I was complaining about the coins. I handed them to him, and I had enough to pay for our little break. Who knew? The dollar coin has failed here. I can’t imagine a $2 one.

      I’m not sure your kids are at a disadvantage, unless the power goes out / Internet goes down.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, counting change becomes a bit of a muscle memory thing and apparently I’m an old dog who can’t learn new tricks. It’s amazing how much all that spare change can add up to. We used to save our coppers all year and we always had enough each year to fund a fun excursion for the whole family. In the UK the mint and treasury have considered doing away with copper coins because so many people just save them and then bring them to the bank in huge sacks. That’s what led to the death of the half penny piece (ha’penny) in my childhood.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I wonder if Linda knew how many Johnny Cash videos would be shared today? She’s a bit of an audiophile, it wouldn’t surprise me. :) I love The Man in Black, but I’m picky about it.

    I believe my own post explains why I don’t often carry cash.

    We had this sammich shop in Georgia, called Baldino’s. I enjoyed the pickles. Anyway, it was cash only, and they had an ATM in the restaurant!

    That kale for the foodies, Dan — No. The kale has to be doing things — hangin out with sausage or parmesan, dried and salted, somethin ;) You made me laugh with that!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I still carry a bit of cash to pay for things that cost less than $20. I try to pay with cash at restaurants too. I also don’t like having to reconcile too many bank charges at the end of the week, or month. I like a short statement. :)

    I keep my bills big to small face up in my bill-fold too. I’ve found with my aging eyes having a system in place helps me know what bill I’ve pulled out. Especially in the dark or low lit venue!

    I love Johnny Cash! I always have liked watching Johnny and June sing together. They were so cute.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you can relate, it makes me feel comfortable. I have “Jackson” on a number of mix-CDs/ I remember them appearing on the Johnny Cash Show. My daughter took me to see Rosanne Cash for Father’s Day. I have also always liked her.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Among other things I thought of while reading your post , I remember those gas prices . And they’d check your oil , tires , and coolant , and wash your windows . The guy at my local station once asked me to ” Save up a whole dollar ” before I came in again . I usually could only afford a couple of gallons , having a part time job that paid about as much as yours back then .

    Liked by 1 person

  14. We use cash at the farmer’s markets and for purchases under 10 too…. and have a cash stash for presents for each other because otherwise we know where we shopped…. I like having cash. Because credit is important to keep track of small business purchases cash always feel like free money! BTW, those points cards — they cost a merchant a small fortune, which is why we switched to PayPal for our business. A $2000 payment would cost the normal transaction fee then at the end of ht month another *SURPRISE* deduction for the points card came through — and we are talking $120-180.00. That is why I switched to PayPal. It consistently costs a bit more — not a lot — and we can pass that cost onto the customer — and no surprises.

    LOVE me some Johnny and Roseanne Cash. My Baby Thinks He’s a Train….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I use cash for gifts, to, because my wife pays the bills. Sorry about the points cards. I almost exclusively use one AMEX and one Visa that allow me to collect points. I never knew the merchant paid for that. I always assumed it was the sponsoring company.


  15. Thanks for the kale, the Cash, and the Blues Brothers. Why are they hanging out in Connecticut? Not their kind of place at all!

    I prefer to use cash, but I got a credit card when I wanted to sign up for a service and couldn’t because I didn’t have a credit rating! I got a low threshold and pay it all off at the end of the month. Pfui.

    I’m sure it was because she was so busy she just wasn’t thinking, but I treasure the Christmas I handed a clerk money to pay for my purchase and she asked for ID.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s pretty funny. ID for cash. I think the Blues Brothers were just there for the coffee. It was way to early for beer. I’m sure they were at Midway for the same reason I was – flight delay. That’ll teach them to fly southwest.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I pay with cash and card.
    My first job was at Eckerd Drug Store and being a newbie to the country, the manager took extra time and care to show me how to handle the cash. She taught me how to “count back” the change so that both the customer and I knew that the transaction was correct.
    Nice post and photos! Have a great week, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Chances are you’re hooked on Dunkin’ Donut coffee, and I, personally, think it’s great that you still use coin and green-backs. However, if you weren’t addicted to Dunkin’ Donuts, I would suggest you try you favorite convenience store [a stop and rob] and buy your breakfast there. They don’t do the tip thing and, because there isn’t the fancy name, the price for the goods is a little cheaper. Besides, the convenience stores love cash.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am hooked on DD, but my favorite breakfast places are a few simple diners where the food is excellent, the service is great and interesting and they tend to only accept cash. They’re the kind of places where, once you eat breakfast, you don’t need lunch. I can’t make them a regular habit without buying new clothes ;)

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Using cash makes you feel old? As far as I’m concerned, Dan, it should make you feel SMART. Cash is ALWAYS preferable.

    Any form of payment other than cash is a necessary evil – one that the world is foisting on us. The human race has a long history of prizing convenience above everything else, and what does that get us? Worse off in the long run (and sometimes even the short run). Our fetish for convenience has brought us instant coffee. It gave us preservatives in our food. It saddled us with disposable everything, crowding our landfills. Convenience has its place, but it is NOT the cardinal virtue – not when you consider what we lose when we embrace it so wholeheartedly. There is no substitute for real coffee, non-poisoned food, and the heft and quality of a product you don’t throw away every time.

    Convenience has also brought us a ton of debt. When we relied more on cash, people were much better savers, and much more responsible stewards of their money. They practiced deferred gratification, which is akin to other vanishing social values. Now what do we have? Debt, personal and private, up to our eyeballs. Even the most cash-averse individual spends differently when he’s paying cash – namely, he spends LESS. And why? Because it feels real. You SEE your money going away. Hence the downside of using cards everywhere – it doesn’t feel like you’re spending as much, so you do more of it.

    Do I appreciate direct deposit and online bill-paying when there’s a snowstorm outside? You bet I do. But when you think about it, we’re paying quite a price, both literally and figuratively, for our addiction to convenience. We spend more, merchants charge more … and our savings accounts sit there empty. And all so we can buy more things, 99 percent of which bring us no real satisfaction.

    Yeah, we might as well sing along with Johnny Cash. Perhaps there’s a version of “Folsom Prison Blues” for debtor’s prison?

    I don’t care if you and I are the only ones who feel this way, but … cash to the end!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Paul. If you look a little higher up in the comments, you’ll find your Gal Friday is in complete agreement with you with regard to case. I do agree that when you spend cash, you think more thoroughly about your purchases. Convenience is very expensive. I think the best example of this is water. I did a quick check and found that Americans spent $11.8 Billion dollars on bottled water in 2012. I’m guessing it’s much higher in 2016. For what? Municipal water in most of the US (Detroit excepted) is very high quality and downright cheap. A company is opening a bottled water plant in the neighboring town to ours. They are going to bottle and sell the same water most of the people in Greater Hartford get from their taps.

      At least when I want a subject to rant about, I know which way to go.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. It’s one of those little annoyances that badger a marriage without becoming a deal breakers: arranging bills. My husband is a stickler on order and president’s eyeballs; I could give a rip. We’ve subsided to sighs of mild irritation and now produce them more out of habit than true irritation. Fun post, Dan, and I like the Roseanne Cash song very much and have Johnny and June albums from way back when Joel’s obsession about bills truly irritated me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha – I’m not even sure how my wife handles her cash. I don’t recall ever having to “fix it” when she’s played the role of ATM for me. Roseanne did quite well with that new album. I just love her voice.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I like cash. Cash makes me very happy :)
    But I also love my credit and debit cards … each has a time and place.

    I’m not so picky about the order of bills in my wallet. Our money is different colours so I (almost) always know which bill to grab. It’s very convenient … someday the US should try it. That would rattle a few cages ;)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish we had prettier money but I’m sure my father would have still found a way to organize it. One way. The right way.

      I have found a place for both in my life, but cash still is important to me.


      Liked by 1 person

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