Now that I’m dispensing financial advice to your detriment, gentle reader, I want to let you know in on a little secret I learned back in the old days, before the macarenavirus, when my son and I could freely travel to the YMCA for a triathlon class in advance of a triathlon sure to be canceled now.
After class, we went to the vending machines to get a Gatorade. The price listed on the machine said $1.50, and it had a credit card reader, so I used the credit card to buy a couple of drinks.
When I checked the credit card statement, I had a pair of charges for $1.60. When I checked the machines again, I saw the fine print: The price reflects a ten cent discount for using cash.
Well! I never! Well, no, I rather too often!
So I have decided that I’m going to save that ten cents each drink and pay with cash from now on.
One thing to note about me is that I don’t tend to carry coins out of my house. We have a little mite box for the Lutheran Women Missionary League, a little receptacle for change that you can bring, once a month, to church and dump into a larger box. So whatever change I accumulate in my pockets goes in there when I unpack for the evening.
Now I do try to generally be frugal with my pocket money as I will, if given the opportunity, stuff it into some collection plate or another. So I get a twenty out of the ATM once or twice a week, and then I promptly stop by the doughnut store. As a matter of fact, I tend to get that twenty just to buy doughnuts. My order comes to $4.76, and the proprietor gives me a quarter and three fives in change. If I have a dollar, I’ll tuck it in the tip cup. If not, sometimes I tuck in a five (a tip jar is a sort of personal collection plate, ainna?).
So when I get to the YMCA, I have a wallet full of five dollar bills. Two of the machines dispensing Gatorades do not take five dollar bills (apparently, the only “cash” allowed is coins or one dollar bills). One of them does, though, and we get a Gatorade and change paid out in three Sacajawea dollars and two quarters. Two quarters and a Sacajawea buy the other, and I have two dollars left.
Two dollars in coins.
You already know what happens next: I get home and put the change into the Mite Box.
So I’ve essentially spent two dollars to save twenty cents.
Fiscal responsibility really isn’t my strong suit. I have an English and Philosophy degree, friends. Not accounting. I would have said “economics,” but we know that’s not a study of money so much as manipulating people into doing what the economists want.