For all the conveniences of credit cards, debit cards and digital payments, there are still certain things that many Americans prefer to buy with good old-fashioned cash. Cash is still king for particular goods and certain roles in people’s spending.
Garage and Yard Sales
The casual nature of garage and yard sales, plus the ability to negotiate prices easily, makes exchanging paper bills the default for most buyers and sellers.
You might find a vintage lamp for $5, a stack of comic books for $1 each, or a piece of exercise equipment for $50.
“When you’re rummaging through someone’s front lawn looking for hidden treasures, carrying a stack of bills just makes sense,” said finance expert Jeff Rose, founder of Good Financial Cents. “Cash transactions here make it easy for both buyer and seller to negotiate and seal the deal without the hassle of digital payments.”
Part of the charm of buying fresh produce, flowers, baked goods and artisanal wares at a local farmers market is being able to pay for them directly with cash.
“There’s something wholesome about buying your apples and zucchini with a few crumpled bills,” Rose said. “Farmers often prefer cash to keep things simple and because it’s immediate — no waiting for a card transaction to go through or losing a percentage to card fees.”
You could pick up a bouquet of fresh flowers for $15, pay $20 for a homemade pie or grab a bag of coffee beans for $12. It’s somehow more wholesome and community oriented to hand over a few bills directly to the person who grew or crafted your items.
Tips for Service Workers
In certain service industries, cash tips are customary as a sign of gratitude for good work. It’s polite to leave a cash tip for hotel housekeepers, for example, as thanks for cleaning your room.
“Guests want to show gratitude for the service housekeepers provide,” said Shavon Roman, personal finance expert at Heal Plan Invest. “But the workers are often not present to receive tips directly. Leaving a cash tip of $5 to $20 per day of stay is an accepted way to say ‘thank you’ for their hard work.”
Similarly, doormen, valet drivers, hair stylists and manicurists may rely on cash tips as part of their regular earnings. Paying with cash allows you to show appreciation while also giving the worker immediate income.
On-site parking at concerts and games is often run by small operators equipped to take only cash. Collecting payment and keeping vehicles moving is handled most efficiently with cash transactions.
“Cash is the most accessible form of payment,” Roman said. “Whether attending a concert, sports game or celebration, many event parking venues are managed by on-site operators without electronic payment devices.”
Event parking can range from $10 for small gatherings to $50 or more for major venues and cities. Carrying cash means you can seamlessly pay the attendant upon arrival without hassling with card readers and wireless connections.
Donations at Places of Worship
Most religious centers have collection boxes or baskets where people can discreetly leave cash offerings ranging from a few dollars to much more substantial gifts. Cash donations allow for privacy and for each person to give an amount meaningful to them.
“Donating at a place of worship is both a spiritual and personal act,” Roman said. “Cash donations allow the person the option of anonymity.”