We went to the Minnesota State Fair about a week ago and enjoyed all of the greasy food, unique exhibits, and saw Stevie Nicks in concert. Our State Fair, which lasts for 12 days, is the second biggest fair in the United States with attendance of almost 2 million people. One thing the fair excels at is getting those 2 million people to spend money. Not just any money – cold, cash.
I am not usually much of a cash person. I often have less than $20 in my wallet. My wife is about the same. For the State Fair – we stopped at the cash machine and took out $100. It was almost all gone before the end of the day!
I saw this interesting article recently about how much cash people keep in their wallets. One quarter of Americans (like me) keep less than $10 with them on average. A full 50% carry between $10-$50 in cash. And, the remaining 25% keep more than $50.
I had a former boss that was in this last group. One time when we were out to lunch, he pulled out what looked like a roll of $100 bills. He said he liked to have a lot of US cash with him because he had worked internationally and was in Poland when the currency their collapsed at the end of the Communist era. For him, hard currency was definitely King.
When I can withdraw money for “free” from a debit card at a store, I usually try to. I believe one of the biggest wastes of money in the world is having to pay fees to an ATM (and my home bank) because I ran out of money in a place that only takes cash (like the Fair). I have to think that whoever is putting those ATM machines out there is making a killing – although I’m sure the machine is expensive and they have to pay rent on the location.
We’re not exactly in a cashless world, despite what the headlines tell you. Given the choice, I’d rather swipe my credit card or tap Apple Pay from my phone. That makes my spending much easier to track (and analyze). With cash it seems like money just floats away and you have no idea of what it has been spent on. When we are traveling overseas I use cash more often and am always shocked at how quickly we go through it.
What strategies do you use in managing cash? If you keep a lot with you, why? Or, have you gone financially digital as much as you can?
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