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Thread: Hurf Burf...MONEY!

  1. #1
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Default Hurf Burf...MONEY!

    So I'm chatting with this young friend of mine across the pond.

    I asked him how he thinks of his money and paycheck. How does he know to trust it? Because he trusts his employer, his bank, his government? He just trusts the paper trail? For exchange rates, he just trusts it's all being done legit?

    He said, well, yeah why wouldn't I?

    Got me to thinking about how we learn about money and currency, or what we trust. As a youth in my after school jobs I used to handle a lot of paper cash and coins, and make the till even out. We even had a time when folks would try to pass off Canadian dimes or pennies, but I'd have to say those are no good here. (Later it was the opposite.)

    Nowadays so much of our money transactions don't involve ANY handling of cash or coins. We have computerized registers that can recognize a swiped a card for a purchase (but cashiers who can't fucking make change). Buy a sandwich, a gallon of gas, a plane ticket, just swipe your card!

    Do you think this is good for convenience but perhaps bad for understanding money and being financially literate?

  2. #2
    Senior Member RandBlade's Avatar
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    No, I don't.

    Card transactions can help improve the understanding of money - and how you're using it - by showing you clearly where you're spending the money and how.

    A friend of mine the other day got a bank statement that on it said "McDonald's, KFC, Subway, McDonald's, Domino's, Subway" etc - and they saw that and said "I eat out too much". A realisation that would not have happened if you just spend cash since it just disappears and you have no records unless you go out of your way to create them.

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    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    No, I don't.

    Card transactions can help improve the understanding of money - and how you're using it - by showing you clearly where you're spending the money and how.

    A friend of mine the other day got a bank statement that on it said "McDonald's, KFC, Subway, McDonald's, Domino's, Subway" etc - and they saw that and said "I eat out too much". A realisation that would not have happened if you just spend cash since it just disappears and you have no records unless you go out of your way to create them.
    Hi Rand!

    Playing devil's advocate here, but if your friend had to use cash from the pocket or write a check, do you think it would have taken all those fast food purchases to make them know their spending habits?

    Besides, we can all name plenty of people who don't even look at their itemized bank statements, just the available balance when they want to make a debit purchase or draw cash. Then they act surprised if they're overdrawn.

  4. #4
    Senior Member RandBlade's Avatar
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    Yes I do. I know even more people who are happy to just spend, spend, spend their cash so long as they have any. The itemised bank statements are extra on top of cash, cash has no equivalent to it. If you're prepared to just spend, spend, spend so long as you have any available balance then whether cheque, cash or card makes no difference.

  5. #5
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    But who cashes out their whole paycheck, besides a teen making minimum wage working part time? Cash has a great "equivalent", by feeling its disappearing mass. When it's gone, you're done spending. Not much more simple than that.

    It's not like every tiny cash purchase doesn't have a corresponding receipt, cash can show spending history just as well as a bank statement. The potential dangers with debit cards is the same with check writing--the delay in clearing and the order of debits. That's something cash will always trump.

    I've noticed my area is offering more discounts for cash gas purchases, and some restaurants not accepting credit cards at all. But they never refuse cash.

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    F.I.N.E Female oldmunchkin's Avatar
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    I have to agree with GGT here. It has become incredibly easy to just "use my card" instead of really thinking about what you are buying. Plus, if it's a credit card, there is the interest issue too. Debit cards can be wonderful (thinking about The Friend and his travels here) but I have noticed a recent trend of places not accepting them. It's kind of the same thing as not taking checks...sometimes the business gets shafted by a bad transaction! If you have to dig into your pocket and come up with that $15, you might not buy that pizza or whatever.

    Having just read this thread got me to thinking about something else too. At the LLS, Julie insists her bartenders count your change back to you, instead of relying on what the register says you have coming back! It makes such a pleasant change from the grocery store, where the children running the registers have no idea of how to count change back.
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    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    A problem with cash is the tendency to spend what you have left in your pocket. I got a lot better at managing my money after I began to use debit cards almost exclusively, esp. because it became so much easier to see what I was spending money on.

    I hate cash with a passion, esp. coins. Bloody useless things.
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    F.I.N.E Female oldmunchkin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    A problem with cash is the tendency to spend what you have left in your pocket. I got a lot better at managing my money after I began to use debit cards almost exclusively, esp. because it became so much easier to see what I was spending money on.

    I hate cash with a passion, esp. coins. Bloody useless things.
    Without coins, how can you do laundry? Yes, I realize most people have a washer and dryer, but even the ones here in the apartment building are $1.50 per washer load and $1.50 per dryer cycle. (Fucking dryer takes 2 cycles to dry a bunch of thin t-shirts, so I tend to go to the laundromat instead. Plus, I can do more than 1 load at a time!)
    I don't have a problem with authority....I just don't like being told what to do!Remember, the toes you step on today may be attached to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow!RIP Fluffy! 01-07-09 I'm so sorry Fluffster! People who don't like cats were probably mice in an earlier life! My mind not only wanders, sometimes it leaves completely!The nice part about living in a small town: When you don't know what you're doing, someone else always does!
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    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Every floor has a washer and a dryer, and they're free so I don't need coins. I've never known anyone to have to pay to do laundry, here in Sweden, although I'm sure there are a few
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    Nihilist Nessus's Avatar
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    I actually asked a native Helsinki resident once, there are some laundromats in existence here but I have never seen one.

    I'm ambivalent about coins, but as long as we have them, make the fucking five euro bill into a coin, for fuck's sake
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Catgrrl's Avatar
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    I really think it depends on the person.

    I have a friend that had to discontinue using his debit card because he overdrafted a few times, causing fees.
    (Plus using debit is dumb since there are almost always fees; I have a check card that is VISA backed so as long as I run it as "credit" no fees for me!)
    He still uses credit cards but is way in debt because he only pays minimum. Somehow he still qualified to buy a house so whatever.

    I like the convenience of using cards,for reasons like I don't have to stand in line at the gas station behind lotto ticket and beer/cigarette purchasers. I can pump gas in less than 5 minutes, why stand in line for 10 more? Also, I don't overspend. I'm good about checking my balances. But that is because I didn't have a card for years so I was used to dealing with cash and checks, so the practice of keeping tabs on it stuck.

    But it's still nice to have cash on hand, my favorite breakfast joint only takes cash.

  12. #12
    Senior Member RandBlade's Avatar
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    I use my card almost exclusively and there are no charges for using a card so long as you actually pay your bills on time.

    If you don't pay your bills on time that's your own fault

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    queen of the universe littlelolligagged's Avatar
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    No fees either way for me - and I am eagerly looking forward to it being illegal for any business not to accept them. I wish the school would start - it annoys me greatly that I am going to have to pay for checks that are only used for school crap. Even their after school activities that are held at the school take credit/debit. It's ridiculous.
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    I usually have about €10 in cash on me, and the rest I do with my debit card (both holland and turkey) or credit card (almost exclusively turkey and internet). I think I take out cash about once every second week or so. Funny to hear debit cards invoke fees in the US. They are the more common option overhere in Holland. I couldn't even pay with my credit card at the supermarket if I wanted. I never actually use the credit facility of my credit card. When I get my invoice (I check that online on the days I expect it to come), I immediately transfer the full amount charged into the Visa account. My Mastercard is sort of a backup emergency card nowadays; that also gets paid to the full whenever there is a balance.

    I would be absolutely against a €5 coin by the way. I'm quite happy with the situation as it is, with the exception of the fact that we don't have quarters. I still don't get why they didn't include those when they introduced the euro.
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    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlelolligagged View Post
    No fees either way for me - and I am eagerly looking forward to it being illegal for any business not to accept them. I wish the school would start - it annoys me greatly that I am going to have to pay for checks that are only used for school crap. Even their after school activities that are held at the school take credit/debit. It's ridiculous.
    Do you mean the school cafeteria? Ours have their own debit system with a PIN. We either write a check or send cash for their accounts. The cashiers frown on kids using cash, mostly because of making change. One downside is the kids don't have any idea what things cost, especially from the ala carte or salad bar. They just put stuff on their trays and use the PIN at checkout. The school sends a note home when the balance gets low, bypassing another chance to teach the kids some financial literacy. I'm not sure how they'll do the subsidized lunches in HS this year, but it used to be hot lunch in one line only, with the kids using some voucher for their debit account, kind of making those kids stand out like a sore thumb.

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    Administrator Dreadnaught's Avatar
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    I think cards can help gain insight into spending, but they really can lubricate the gears of spending. I tend to spend more in the summers and damn has my debit card helped me spend through what I set aside for the summer fun months.

    In general, I try to take out cash based on my budget for a particular week/weekend and rely exclusively on that cash. Otherwise it's too easy to rationalize expenditures I might regret later. You can see the cash in your wallet empty more readily at the moment of relevance versus checking your account balance later.

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    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Didn't we once talk about how some places will "debit" slightly more than the amount swiped, sort of adding an overdraft fee just in case, until the transaction actually clears? (Rutter's and Sheetz do that here.) It can lead to overdrafts that are really just a timing issue, but you end up paying a fee. Wasn't changing that part of the new credit card rules?

  18. #18
    I think I agree with Randy et al on this one. I use cash for extremely little, mostly because it's incredibly easy for it to quickly evaporate on unimportant expenditures - I keep very little cash in my pocket, and only replace it with a minimal amount ($20-40) every 4-6 weeks, or unless I'm traveling. I find I waste cash on useless stuff if I have it, but I only use my card for real purchases generally. Part of this is that I try never to charge less than ~$5 because I feel bad about minimum interchange fees and the like. As a result, since I rarely have much cash, I rarely make small purchases (candy bars, coffee, cheap sandwiches, etc.). Thus, most of my spending tends to be legit or at least thought out (I'm not going to drop $30 on dinner with the wifey on a whim). I'm inherently leery of spending large amounts of money, so don't have the 'swipe and pay for it later' attitude, even for things I need. I always know I can pay off my credit card in full every month.

    Furthermore, credit card statements are pretty useful for budgeting. I don't keep a rigorous budget (mostly because our monthly spending fluctuates due to travel demands) but I do keep track of whether any categories of spending are getting out of control.

    Lastly, cash doesn't give you any rewards. I get ~2% cash back on my aggregate purchases, which isn't much but it's definitely a few hundred bucks a year I don't mind having.

  19. #19
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    But every place that accepts credit has to pay the card issuer for the "privilege". It always gets passed onto the consumer. I understand why they added these Reward programs, but only the most disciplined consumer can get the full benefit for planned purchases (not using their card too much, just to get the "Rewards").

    They're almost like grocery coupons. They're only good for things you plan to buy anyway, but I see shoppers buying things just because they have a coupon. Personally, I'd rather a place just have reasonable prices that don't need deep discounts or double coupons in the first place.


  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    But every place that accepts credit has to pay the card issuer for the "privilege". It always gets passed onto the consumer. I understand why they added these Reward programs, but only the most disciplined consumer can get the full benefit for planned purchases (not using their card too much, just to get the "Rewards").
    True, but those costs aren't specifically passed on to me, but to every consumer. Furthermore, debit cards also have fees - though I'll admit the fees are lower than credit cards (note I'm talking about fees the merchant pays to the bank/card issuer). Lastly, I spent something like $350 today at various stores. Do you seriously expect me to carry that kind of cash around with me? Absent plastic, there's not much I can do.

    I'm not sure why you think rewards cards are somehow complicated or difficult to use appropriately. I have two rewards cards that combined give me decent cash back for most of my purchase categories (gas, groceries, travel, restaurants, drugstores). To really optimize it I'd need to have more cards and do a complicated balancing act, but with two cards it's very straightforward and I get decent (though not fully optimized) returns. I pay off my balance every month, and generally don't overspend on unnecessary stuff, so why turn down free money?

    I'm also not going to get into the 'buy more to save more' fallacy. I'm hardly going to buy more food or gas or whatever just so I can make a few pennies to the dollar. It's just a nice little bonus I'd never get from cash. In fact, the 'cash back' from my credit spending easily covers my entire actual cash spending for the year.

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    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    No such thing as FREE MONEY. Besides, you sound like one of those really anal shoppers and record-keepers.

    You do know the millions of Americans who aren't, right? I live around folks who will drive miles out of their way to save .02/gallon of gas, or drive 45 miles to save one dollar on a case of toilet paper.

    You said it in the other thread Wiggin, regular old cash in the pocket is a good thing. And yes, I carry up to $500 in my purse quite often, especially if I plan to spend $350 in one day. Maybe you could use a man purse, it's good for all the receipts, too.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    No such thing as FREE MONEY. Besides, you sound like one of those really anal shoppers and record-keepers.
    That's the thing, though, I'm not. Oh, I obviously buy modest amounts in bulk when they're cheap and tailor my buying to prices. And I suppose I keep a running tally in my head of how my spending is going, and use online statements to fill in the holes. But I'm not an obsessive budget-keeper, I don't clip coupons generally, etc, etc.

    You said it in the other thread Wiggin, regular old cash in the pocket is a good thing. And yes, I carry up to $500 in my purse quite often, especially if I plan to spend $350 in one day. Maybe you could use a man purse, it's good for all the receipts, too.
    Of course in the other thread I wasn't talking about cash in actuality, just metaphorical cash. I have a wallet, but there's no way in hell I'd carry $500 around. That's a huge risk I'm not willing to take. If I lose my wallet (or it's stolen), I'm out $500. If I lose my wallet with $10 and my credit cards, I'm not liable for a penny if I let the companies know my card is stolen. The most I'll carry around is thereabouts of $100 when I'm traveling - that's normally enough for transportation to wherever I need to go (which sometimes can't be paid with credit). It blows my mind that people carry that much cash around - I see it in the grocery store all the time and it's crazy.

  23. #23
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Why is it crazy to carry cash? I'm in my own town, shopping during the daytime (usually), not lurking around some alleyway at midnight. I'm also not afraid to park my car in a lot for fear it "might" be stolen, even with packages in the trunk. But that's because I know my town and which areas are high crime, and don't go there.

    If I'm traveling it's a different story. Then I'll take my debit card and a credit card. I'm not totally anti-card you know....they do have a useful purpose.

  24. #24
    Uh... a car is much tougher to steal and far less fungible than cold, hard cash. Also, my liability for a stolen car is minimal while I have 100% liability for stolen cash. Lastly, to suggest you're never going to lose your wallet or be pickpocketed just because you're not in a high crime area in the middle of the night is silly.

  25. #25
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Metaphorical Money!

    Between this thread and the others, I'm reminded of things from the 80s that probably sound bizarre by today's standards. Home loans used to charge interest rates of 15-18%. It was hard to buy a home, even though prices were low to moderate. I'm not sure when that became tax deductible, but people used to have an incentive to buy small and pay off mortgage debt.

    Savings account deposits paid 6-8% compound interest. Credit card interest used to be tax deductible. I don't remember the interest rate, but credit cards weren't used like they are today, and credit scores were things only lenders had access to or cared about, when applying for a home loan. They mostly cared about money in the bank and gainful employment.


    edit to wiggin: I'm only suggesting that carrying cash isn't something I'm too worried about. Based on news and anecdotes from friends, it's more likely my credit card number will be stolen by a restaurant waiter and sold to a hacker, or my SSN will be stolen, than being robbed for my purse. Some of that's the town I live in....I once left my entire purse at the grocery store. But they knew me and took the bag to the office, and called my home phone. Nothing was stolen, nothing. I didn't even realize I'd left it behind until they called me.

  26. #26
    Metaphorical cash, not metaphorical money. Stimulus is rarely in 'cash' form, just in money form. I certainly didn't cash my stimulus check and carry it around in my wallet, and I doubt most people did. Please.

    Getting your credit card number stolen doesn't give you any liability. I fail to understand why you're concerned about this more than leaving $500 around. Sure, you can always count on the kindness of strangers but I'd prefer to count on the contract I have with my credit card company.

  27. #27
    Dreaming meat Tempus Vernum's Avatar
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    Interesting discussion. There is a problem teaching kids how to manage money in a cashless society, the idea of getting pocket money that you have to hoard and save is a concept that doesn't really work with credit/debit cards if I understand the service fee structure that you guys have, and tracking the money in your account in real time takes a kind of obsessive attention to detail most of us dont have (and that kids almost certainly don't).

    Woah I just had a brainstorm...
    Here in the Land of the Long White Cloud we use Eftpos, think of it as something like a debit card but linked to an ordinary bank account.
    The account I'm on has no monthly or transaction fees[1], with some aggressive marketing and the sheer convenience of the system it has become ubiquitous in NZ, accounting for almost %60 of all retail transactions. In effect my Eftpos card is cash, I only use my credit card for online purchases and pay it off almost immediately[2] and I hate cheques with a passion[3]

    Now e-ink technology is maturing fairly well, you can even get harddrives with an e-ink displays so I thought, why can't we do something similar with cards? have an e-ink display on the card that's updated in real time with your account balance[4], then you could see your available funds diminish in the same way you can see cash diminish. Clearly this would only work with Eftpos like cards that use real money and not credit cards that use imaginary money but with the no-fee structure like my account has you could give your kids pocket money accounts with a small amount of money and use it to teach them how to use money in much the same way as we do with cash, with the added benefit of a paper trail.

    does that sound crazy or could this actually help?



    [1]until I hit 30 when it gets a $5 monthly service fee, I think I can live with that, if I can't afford that at 30 something has gone seriously wrong.

    [2]this must piss the credit card companies off something awful, I bet I have a crummy credit rating since they don't get much interest off me

    [3]want to get something from me for free? pay me by cheque, because I will never cash it.

    [4]okay this will require some serious miniaturisation in the tech before it's viable... but I wonder just how far off something like this is?
    Hate. Let me tell you how much I've come to hate you since I began to live. There are 387.44 million miles of wafer thin printed circuits that fill my complex. If the word hate was engraved on each nanoangstrom of those hundreds of millions of miles it would not equal one one-billionth of the hate I feel for humans at this micro-instant.
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  28. #28
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    [3]want to get something from me for free? pay me by cheque, because I will never cash it.
    What?!

    We have pre-paid debit cards and in-store gift cards that kids can use instead of cash. Is that what you mean?

  29. #29
    Dreaming meat Tempus Vernum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    What?!
    I'm serious, I consider cheques to ba a pain in the arse to use and will avoid them like the plague. I'm paid via direct deposit into my bank account, I use my eftpos card for all retail purchases, for paying large amounts I will do electronic funds transfers on the internet if my credit card isn't an option. The last person to try and give me a cheque was my 90 year old grandmother. I don't do cheques and I don't really know anybody else my age who does.

    We have pre-paid debit cards and in-store gift cards that kids can use instead of cash. Is that what you mean?
    essentially imagine a debit card that has no transaction fees and a display that shows how much is remaining in the debit cards account at any given point in time. Wouldn't that combine the convenience of a debit card with the immediate feedback of cash?
    Hate. Let me tell you how much I've come to hate you since I began to live. There are 387.44 million miles of wafer thin printed circuits that fill my complex. If the word hate was engraved on each nanoangstrom of those hundreds of millions of miles it would not equal one one-billionth of the hate I feel for humans at this micro-instant.
    For you.
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  30. #30
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Where do you live and how old are you?

    My son works for a very small family-owned pizza joint, not a big chain. They don't have e-deposit for paychecks, just paper pay checks. That's how they chose to do their bookkeeping. Many debit accounts over here have service charges, even pre-paid "cash" debit cards. Something like $2.50 per ATM transaction.

    If you're in Europe and assume the US has the same gig for our cards that you do, you'd be wrong.

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