Can You Cash In On Cards?

I bought a few things while I was out today. Didn’t spend a lot… but here’s a picture of what my items cost:

Many of you out there will tell at a glance that I spent $17.30.

Exactly.

I can also tell you that of the exactly $40 I started my day with I still have $22.70 in my purse.

Yesterday I did my grocery shopping. Used my debit card for that… not sure just what my total bill was.

Took my clients out for lunch while I was gallivanting: used my credit card for that… can’t remember the amount of the bill, although I do remember being embarrassed that I didn’t have any cash on me, so had to put the tip on the card too, which means our server has to be completely honest come tax time because there’s a record of my generosity (or lack of same).

How about you? Last time you bought a coffee out, or a new pair of shoes, did you pay cash or use a card? Can you tell me the amount of the expense and what the balance of your bank account was after the transaction?

There was an article in October’s Financial Post that quoted some statistics that I found truly surprising!

“Cards make up 68% of all non-cash transactions in Canada, compared to the global average of about 40%, according to a 2011 Royal Bank of Scotland report.”

“Since 2005, Canadians have made more than 240 million transactions with their MasterCard PayPass — the highest of any country in the world.”

“Seventy-one percent of Canadians are comfortable with never handling cash again (up from 27% in 2011), says a Leger Marketing survey for PayPal Canada. Almost three-in-ten women (28%) say they rarely or never withdraw cash (22% of men say the same), a 2012 RBC/Shoppers Drug Mart poll revealed.”

“Average consumer debt, excluding mortgage, is more than $27,000 and Statistics Canada says that about one-third of retirees have debt. Just the mere sight of a credit card or a credit card logo prompts people to spend more, studies have shown.”

The whole article is truly eye-opening and I hope you will take the time to read it: http://agnesknowles.ca/end-of-cash

Do you carry and use cash for purchases? Do you find it easier to buy things with a debit or credit card? Do you know what your bank charges you for this “convenience”?

Personally, I dislike putting purchases of less than $10 on any card. As I often don’t carry cash, this does slow down my spending on impulse buys like coffees or magazines. It does mean that if I run in to the store on the way home for a loaf of bread, I will often buy something else. I justify the extra item(s) saying I’d need them soon anyways. Would I? Hard to say.

Where do you stand on the whole cash/credit/spend-ease subject? I’d be curious to know, if you would consider leaving a comment below.

I do know that since embarking on this on-line journey to Reclaim my Retirement Dreams I have been more thoughtful of my purchases, and parsimonious in my spending.

How about you?