Have you ever been in a situation where you needed a few bucks in cash and didn’t have any?
During a recent trip to the west coast of Florida, Cil and I were enjoying the hospitality of a local wine bar-The Black Dog. It was kinda like Cheers, without Norm-but with Jay and his lovely wife. The bartender/owner/retired attorney was glib in a non-lawyerly way. His eponymous black dog wandered in and out-like he owned the place. The patron with the Rolls Royce was fun to talk to. They had just gone to a Rays game and were jazzed about their trip-and maybe their beer too.
The two antique barber chairs in the center of the room just gave the place a weird ambiance that made me feel right at home! (no, I wasn’t swayed at all by 250 varieties of beer and a great wine selection….)
Cash Only Here
As I got up to pay our tab and reached for my Amex card, Jay said, “Sorry, cash only here.”
I had only my one credit card, as we were traveling light.
Of course my heart lurched an extra beat thinking about all the beer stained glasses I was going to wash to pay for my two Coconut Porters and Cil’s Ultra’s….(no she’s not very experimental, though she has learned to like wheat ales, with a little orange slice….). Of course we were on our bicycles, so we couldn’t go to our rental and back without a lot of trouble.
Jay, the bartender, quickly reassured me saying, “Just bring it by tomorrow. It happens all the time. There are several ATM’s on the other side of the island or I ‘ll take a personal check.”
The next day when I dropped by to write him a check, I asked him about his cash only policy.
Credit Card Fees: Ugh!
He said he hated credit card companies and their high fees. He would rather get stiffed once or twice a year than have to fool with ‘em.
Spending a little time in the place during our vacation, playing darts with other customers, (mostly winning) and playing domino’s with Cil (always losing, she’s so damn lucky!) I saw the owner tell many customers to come by the next day to pay their tabs. So I know my story was not unusual.
Using Cash: Recommended Tips:
This story in Time Moneyland about 5 times it’s wise to use cash made me remember fondly The Black Dog Wine Bar and wistfully dream about another vacation. Martha White, the Times Online columnist mentions these five times cash is king.
- Getting out of debt/sticking to a budget-as anyone who has read Dave Ramsey knows, paying everything by cash certainly keeps you more aware of where your money goes.
- Shopping at Mom and Pop stores or Farmers Markets-many don’t even take credit cards as their margins are narrow and that 3-5% fee may be the difference between profit and loss.
- Flea markets, and yard sales-hey, don’t you want to negotiate? It’s hard to do that as well waving your Visa around, but a roll of twenties rocks!
- Buying a “likely to need to return” item. It’s just easier to get cash back from a return rather than having charges reversed.
- Tipping-just watch the eyes of your server when you leave cash vs credit card tip. (and no it’s not always because it’s going straight into his/her pocket, though it is likely.
I thought that was a great list, but I knew I could think of a few others-if I poured myself a brew and put on my thinkin’ cap….
- Buying a used car-who wants to save 5 bucks at a flea market when you can get 500-1000 bucks off your used car purchase by waving the Benjamins around-just do it discretely, you don’t want to be rolled for your cash roll.
- Buying Gas-this is a recommendation for those places now that give a cash discount-becoming more common. Because I use my 5% cash back Pentagon Visa, I will not be doing this, but if you don’t have that card, it may be worth a trip inside.
- Doctor and Dental bills-many of us Docs now give a cash discount. If you have a high deductible that you know you won’t hit on insurance, fork over cash and don’t bill your insurance-you may get 20-35% off.
- Pawn shops-these folks will haggle, but they are experts, so be careful. We got a great deal on a road bike in a nearby college town.
Paying by cash is worth the trouble so keep the green stuff in your wallet. I feel better when I have cash in my pocket-it makes me stand up a little straighter. Sometimes people you meet for the first time need bus fare, so it pays to be cash ready.
If you are ever near Cedar Key Florida, stop by the Black Dog. Tell Jay that Dean sent you, and pet the black dog. But don’t bother with your American Express, cash is king there!
How ’bout you? What cash paying opportunities have I left off? Are you a cash paying guy or gal?
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