Cash on the Barrelhead

March 21, 2009

“Cash on the Barrelhead.”   That was my Grandpa Cash’s philosophy.  Maybe it was because his last name was “Cash,” but if he couldn’t pay for it NOW, he didn’t buy it NOW.    I haven’t completely subscribed to this way of living,  but especially in these recent days of credit company mismanagement and bailouts,  I have become a “cash on the barrelhead” kind of girl. 

Problem is…today’s cash isn’t really paid in cash.  Like many of you, I use my ATM Visa card to buy just about everything from groceries, to gas, to yes, even that cheeseburger at McDonald’s (see previous post).  It’s so convenient just to whip out the card when you need it.  You don’t have to get help from the clerk at the gas station, you just swipe your card.  And I contend it also helps you save money because instead of carrying a wad of cash, you’re spending only EXACTLY the amount you need.  No extraneous change in your pocket tempting you to make an unnecessary purchase.  

I didn’t realize how dependent I had become on this way of ATM card spending until yesterday when THE BANK CANCELLED MY CARD!!!  I’m not going to mention which bank because I have generally been happy with my service there for the past 15 years.  Apparently, the company that issues their cards had some sort of security breach and routinely sent NEW cards to all their customers.  I never received one, but received a phone call telling me my new card needed to be activated because they were going to cancel my old card.   “What new card?” I wondered.  So, I called the bank and explained the situation.  They requested a new card for me but apparently there was no way to keep my old card from being canceled…even though I didn’t have a new one.  

I have now lived two days without my ATM card and I WANT IT BACK!!!   On the first day, I kept forgetting it wasn’t active and handing it to store clerks around town who would look at me with a mix of suspicion and sympathy and say “Your card’s been cancelled.”   “Oh, right…” I’d mumble, embarrassed at causing a scene.    I also didn’t realize so many businesses that take my ATM Visa won’t take a check.   So now I keep a few dollars in my wallet and my eye on the mailbox, waiting for my new ATM Visa to arrive.  It’s not that I have anything against paper money…after all “Cash” is part of my family heritage.  It’s just that I have come to prefer the plastic variety.   If Grandpa Cash was still alive, I think he’d be fine with that.



  1. I actually had my card compromised. When I called the bank (the same one you’re talking about here based upon a twitter response you sent me) they told me that my card had already been “flagged” to be closed based upon the security breach. They didn’t close it fast enough though, as I had $700+ of unauthorized charges on my card. I had to file a police report here in Elmore, had to take time off work to meet with a bank representative and fill out paper work and then, they never re-issued the card, so I had to bug them about that too. *sigh* At least I’m not liable for the charges.

    Looked like someone had fun though!! Most of the charges were at truck stops and bars in Virginia! “This round’s on me!!! (or someone!)”

  2. My dad was much like your Grandpa Cash. In fact, there are wonderful stories about how he’d save $10 bills until he had enough to buy a NEW car. I believe Dad relished going to the dealership to negotiate his purchase. The salespeople never believed him when he’d tell them, “I’d rather pay cash …” Dad put one such young man in his place when he quietly fanned his wad of tens across the table. Dad got his price, that’s for certain.

  3. I have been on a cash only basis for a year now although I consider my debit card as cash. It comes out immediately. I do not write checks at all. If I need one I get a certified check at the bank.

    Vacations and holidays have been much more enjoyable because there are no big credit card bills in the months following.

    Easy credit is never easy in the long run. I guess everybody gets that now.

  4. Hi Chrys. Oh I know the feeling. I forgot to activate my new card one time and was real embarrassed at the checkout line at Meijers. I also use my card for everything I purchase from fast food to gas to HSN purchases on TV. I never carry cash on me cause I would be stopping at every garage sale sign on my way to somewhere else. My mom told me that it is a prophecy that we would all be a paperless society as far as money is concerned, seems like it is coming true. My boyfriend always pays cash for everything making an out-of-the-way trip to an ATM just to get money out to make a purchase. He says that if he sticks to this method that he stays on track financially, only getting out what he needs at that time. I cannot pass up a garage sale, I only wish they took bank cards.

  5. This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

  6. Chrys I know what bank you are talking about. Hackers got access to informaation and the bank had to issue new cards. I have been with my bank for 7 yrs and I went to get gas and although I got my new card 30 days prior to the experiation date I forgot to activate it and even put it in my purse. I drove my car that was on empty to the gas station and had my old card. It was embarrassing when my card was declined. I had to drive back home still on empty and grab my current card and activate it and go back to the same gas station and fill my car up. This was not a gas station that I normally frequent but I had to defend myself by going back to let them know I was not a fraud. I am one who also does not like to write checks. I swipe my card at McDonalds for a $2 purchase. I also do not like to carry cash. I do have to add that I often go to Detroit to go shopping. At one venue I wanted to use my bank card to by a $7 shirt. The man selling the shirt told me that it is not good to not have a few dollars on you, in case you get robbed you will be killed for not having a few dollars. Of course I was in Detroit, but with our economy and the lack of police in our city I am going to keep a few dollars on me for those so desperate packing heat to rob me.

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