Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Cash-Carrying Member of the Consumer Party

Remember this ad for the Visa check card?

It ran on national television before I started this blog, or I imagine I would have written about it here to criticize its purpose (to encourage people to use plastic instead of cash) and the stupidity of its main argument (that it's faster for cashiers to swipe a card than to make change). I don't know about you, but the cashiers I see tend to be faster with cash than they are with cards.

Well, Mary Hunt, the Everyday Cheapskate, recently wrote a column, saying just about what I would have said. She points out the way our brains process the spending of cash vs. the use of credit (the first causes us a sense of loss and the second doesn't) and the manipulative nature of the ad.

She concludes:

There is no doubt that cash is inconvenient. It makes spending a bit more difficult. And that is a wonderful safety measure. It makes you plan ahead. You can't spend more cash than you have in your possession. You have to think -- something that Visa and MasterCard don't want us to do.

I say we band together to become the consumer credit industry's worst nightmare: cash-carrying consumers.
Yes! Now I just have to follow my own (and Hunt's) advice.


Ms Sparrow said...

I agree, but there is always that lingering (childhood?) fear of losing the cash. That seems like a more profound loss than losing your credit card. I guess money in credit card form is more abstract than the very tangible twenty in my hand. It may go back to my childhood when the dime for the Sunday School collection was tied in the corner of a handkerchief so it wouldn't get lost.

Unemployed Dragon said...

I'm doing this; increasing my use of cash. This week, I took a specific amount of money out of the bank for the week,given my expenses,and the bills I wanted to pay and paid several bills in cash (the cell phone, the utility bill.

Doing my best to deny the banks any more money. Eventually I'll find a good credit union to switch too.